What You Need to Know About Louisiana’s Fair Housing Act

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The Louisiana Fair Housing Act ensures no one can be denied access to fair housing or mortgage financing based on their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or familial status.
This federal law represented a positive step forward when it was passed in 1968, protecting prospective renters and homeowners across America. While the Fair Housing Act applies to residents of every State, the process for filing a complaint may differ based on your location. 
Here with everything you need to know about fair housing in Louisiana is Jerry, a super app that can help you find cheap homeowners, renters, or car insurance—and arm you with knowledge on your housing rights!
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Does Louisiana have a Fair Housing Act?

It sure does! The Lousiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act, found in Chapter 43 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, makes several forms of discrimination illegal when it comes to race, color, nationality, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. Examples of unlawful discrimination under the act include:
  • Refusing to provide information on loans  
  • Refusing to make a mortgage loan
  • Refusing to rent a home or falsely claiming housing is not available
  • Imposing different loan terms, interest rates, or fees than those imposed on other customers
  • Steering applicants toward a specific neighborhood
  • Refusing to make reasonable modifications to accommodate a disability 
That said, dwellings that require residents, at least one resident per unit, to be fifty-five years of age or older can refuse tenancy based on age—which is one of the few acceptions to these rules. It is otherwise illegal to deny housing to parents or legal guardians with children 18 years or younger, or pregnant women.
Note that credit scores, rental history, criminal records, or presenting a direct threat to people or property are considered valid reasons to deny housing. Landlords can also deny housing based on the maximum number of occupants allowed in a home. However, these legal reasons must be applied equally to all applicants.
These regulations apply to anyone acting as a landlord, renting out a property, or selling real estate, as well as bankers, brokers, housing developers, or any other role responsible for aiding in access to housing. 

Accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act

Protecting fair access to housing is one thing, but what if the housing itself inherently discriminates based on an individual’s disability?  As per Section 51:2606 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, anyone with a disability can request reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications are made that would improve access or policies, such as:
  • An accessible building entrance, which itself is on an accessible route
  • Doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and doors that can be used by a person using a wheelchair
  • An accessible route into the unit and access throughout the unit 
  • Accessible common areas
  • Accessible light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other necessary features
  • Accessible and usable kitchens and bathrooms
  • Walls suitable and safe for grab bar installation
Any requests must be shown to be directly linked to needs based on the resident’s disability.
If your landlord refuses to make reasonable modifications to your home or reasonable accommodations to policy practices to accommodate your disability, you can file a complaint under the Fair Housing Act.

How to file a fair housing complaint in Louisiana

Say your prospective landlord was friendly on the phone, but when you arrived to view the unit shortly after, he said it was no longer available. You can’t help but wonder if it’s because he has now noticed your skin color, a religious head covering, or pregnant belly.
You can report the landlord or sales agent for housing discrimination if you have a reasonable reason to believe you have been discriminated against. A fair housing inquiry may even result in you being awarded damages.
To file a complaint with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights:
  • Call them at (225) 342-6969
  • Visit in person at 1001 N. 23rd Street in Baton Rouge
  • Fill out the appropriate form on the LCHR website
  • Mail details of your complaint to Human Rights, P.O. Box 94094, Baton Rouge, LA 70804
To file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development:
  • Fill out and submit the online form via the HUD website
  • Complete the PDF complaint form and email it to ComplaintsOffice06@hud.gov
  • Print and complete the complaint form and mail a hard copy to Fort Worth Regional Office of FHEO, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 307 W. 7th Street, Suite 1000, Fort Worth, Texas 76102
  • Call the office at 225-389-3039 and they will mail you a hard copy of the form to fill out
No matter how you file your complaint, you will need to provide the following information, so have  this on hand or be sure to include it: 
  • Your name and address
  • The name and address of the person you are complaining about
  • The address of the apartment or home you were attempting to rent or purchase
  • The date of the discriminatory incident
  • A description of the discrimination you feel you faced

Additional Resources

Whether you need guidance in filing your complaint or interpreting your rights, there are several organizations you can reach out to for help or information.

How to save money on home and renters insurance in Louisiana

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FAQ

To report a landlord for violating fair housing practices, contact theLouisiana Commission on Human Rights at (225) 342-6969, by visiting them at 1001 N. 23rd Street in Baton Rouge, filling out a form on the LCHR website, or by mailing your complaint to Human Rights, P.O. Box 94094, Baton Rouge, LA 70804.

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