In 1991, the Louisiana legislature passed the Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act (Act) (La. R.S. 51:2601, et seq
.) which has been deemed substantially equivalent with the Federal Fair Housing Act (42 USC 3601 et seq
.). This law was passed in response to the growing concern that the citizens of Louisiana were being denied housing unfairly.
Warning Signs of Housing Discrimination
Housing discrimination can occur in a variety of ways. Listed below are some of the warning signs of discrimination based on race, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap:
- Refusing to rent to or sell a house
- Advertising or posting notice about the sale or rental of a dwelling where that ad or notice indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination
- Differing terms, conditions or privileges for certain people
- Denying falsely that housing is available for inspection, sale or rent
- Intimidating, interfering with or coercing a person to prevent them from buying or leasing a dwelling.
For more information on the Equal Housing Opportunity Act, see our publication, Equal Housing, It's Your Right.
The Housing Complaint Process
Our office handles the following types of fair housing discrimination complaints: real estate, mortgage and lending, and rental dwellings of any type (apartments, rental homes and trailer parks). If our office cannot handle the complaint, it will be forwarded to the appropriate agency. If this occurs, the complainant will be notified. Once we receive a complaint, the following will occur:
- The complainant will receive a letter from our office stating that we have received the complaint and that an investigation of the allegations will be conducted.
- We will also notify the business (respondent) in writing that a complaint has been filed with our office. All parties listed on the complaint form will be contacted for an interview.
- At this time, the complainant will be asked to submit all information which supports his/her claim of discrimination.
- The respondent will also be given an opportunity to produce all documentation which supports his/her claim that there was no discrimination involved.
- All parties will be provided an opportunity to conciliate or resolve the matter during the course of the investigation. Once the investigation has been concluded, the Louisiana Attorney General's Office will determine if the preponderance of the evidence gathered supports a finding of discrimination.
If the evidence does support a finding of discrimination, a lawsuit will be filed in state court by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office on behalf of the complainant. If the preponderance of the evidence gathered does not support a finding of discrimination, the Louisiana Attorney General's Office will close the complaint. The complainant, however, has two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit with a private attorney in state court. A different time period for filing a lawsuit in federal court may apply.
If you have any questions regarding fair housing laws or the housing complaint process OR if you wish to request a complaint form, please call 1-800-273-5718 (Louisiana Only).