Blacks who were qualified to rent in high-opportunity New Orleans neighborhoods were denied or received less-than-favorable treatment compared to whites with similar profiles, according to a report by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.
The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center sent testers in to neighborhoods and found that 44 percent of the time the Black testers were treated less favorably than the white testers. The neighborhoods they tested in were at least 70 percent white, according to The Times Picayune, while the citywide average for New Orleans is 34 percent. The neighborhoods had better schools and an average household income of $69,000 compared to the city average of $36,600.
The report cited four tests where Black testers made inquiries that went without a response, while the same housing provider contacted the white testers who inquired about the property.
In 10 tests, the housing provider pursued the white testers, but refused to show the apartment, answer follow-ups, or failed to provide a required rental application for the African-American testers.
Housing discrimination violates the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status, and/or national origin.
A test in Lakeview revealed that a realtor didn’t go to show a Black tester the advertised property; someone else was to let them in. No one was there and the realtor didn’t answer the tester’s follow up call. On the same day, the realtor showed the apartment to a white tester.
A similar case occurred near Audubon Park, but the owner also followed up to entice the white tester by offering a break on the utilities payment. The African-American tester was never contacted again.
In Algiers Point, the leasing agent cancelled an appointment with an African-American tester claiming that a deposit had already been received for an apartment. The agent met with a white tester afterwards and asked if the tester was interested.
In multiple tests, rental applications were only given to white testers.
In nine tests, whites were given preferential treatment, either by offering better terms and conditions, imposing stricter standards or actively pursuing the white testers and offering them incentives.
African-American testers were asked questions like whether their salary could cover three times the rent or if they owned a gun. None of the white testers were asked similar questions.
According to The Picayune, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center recommends that the city have strict penalties on leasing agents and homeowners who practice housing discrimination.