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 unfairly denied housing. The Equal Housing Opportunity Section is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act. This section is active in the investigation, conciliation, and judicial enforcement of fair housing claims. Staff personnel cooperates with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the enforcement of statutes prohibiting discrimination in the sale and rental of housing based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status. The section also provides information to Louisiana citizens, landlords, property managers, and others on their rights regarding the rental and/or purchase of dwellings under the Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act and the federal Fair Housing Act. Additional information can also be found on HUD's website at www.hud.gov.
Are You a Victim of
If you have been denied your housing rights, you may have experienced housing discrimination.
How do you recognize housing discrimination?
Under the both Louisiana Equal Housing Opportunity Act and the Federal Fair Housing Act, it is against the law to do any of the following based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (families with children under the age of 18, or who are expecting a child), or disability:
· Refuse to rent to or sell housing to you
· Advertise or post a notice about the sale or rental of a dwelling where that ad or notice indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination
· Provide different terms, conditions or privileges for certain people
· Tell you housing is unavailable when, in fact, it is available
· Show you apartments or homes in certain neighborhoods only
· Refuse to provide you with information regarding mortgage loans, deny you a mortgage loan, or impose different terms or conditions on a mortgage loan
· Deny you property insurance
· Refuse to make certain modifications or accommodations for persons with mental or physical disabilities
· Harass, coerce, intimidate, or interfere with anyone exercising, or assisting someone else with exercising, their housing rights
If you have experienced any of the above, the Louisiana Department of Justice may be able to help you!
The Fair 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, you as the complainant will be notified of such.
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, may file a civil action in an appropriate federal district court or state court within two years after the occurrence or termination of the alleged discriminatory housing practice. For purposes of filing a civil action in federal court, the computation of this two-year period does not include the time during which an administrative proceeding was pending.
To file a housing discrimination complaint, either fill out our Online Complaint Form or download the printable complaint form found below.