New Orleans Community Accused of Discriminating Against Deaf Prospects

July 24, 2014
| Share | Print

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) recently sued the owner of a New Orleans community for alleged discrimination against deaf individuals seeking to rent apartments based on the results of a fair housing investigation last year.

During its year-long investigation, GNOFHAC said it used “mystery shopping” to uncover suspected discrimination at the community. In May, a deaf mystery shopper allegedly called the community using a relay system to inquire about renting a one-bedroom unit. GNOFHAC claimed that an agent told the mystery shopper that she “didn’t have time” and hung up; when the mystery shopper called back, the agent allegedly hung up on her again. On the third call, the agent allegedly told the mystery shopper that there were “no units available.”

It was a different story later when a hearing mystery shopper called later that day to inquire about renting a one-bedroom, according to GNOFHAC. Allegedly, the agent told the tester that a one-bedroom apartment was available for $1,675 per month.

During a follow-up investigation, GNOFHAC claimed that an agent told a deaf mystery shopper over the phone that she “can’t devote a long time to [the deaf individual] on the phone” and that the deaf individual “need[s] to have someone who can hear to speak” and hung up the phone.

The complaint accused the community of violating fair housing law by misrepresenting the availability of housing and making discriminatory statements to deaf individuals who expressed interest in renting homes from the company. The case is currently pending in federal court in Louisiana.

Source: Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center