Lenders and other real estate professionals must work to ensure that their practices allow all buyers or renters access to the same housing opportunities.
All organizations that make decisions about whether and how buyers or renters are given access to housing opportunities must understand the implications of their actions as they relate to the Fair Housing Act. These organizations include lenders, real estate brokers and agents, management companies, and leasing agents. Whether intentional or not, certain practices, including blockbusting, steering, and redlining, are violations of the Fair Housing Act.
Over the past two years, extensive testing of real estate companies located throughout the United States has been conducted. Testing reveals a surprisingly high level of steering and other illegal behavior that may still be taking place. Additionally, several lawsuits have recently been filed with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division against lending institutions alleging that minorities are often charged higher interest rates than others with the same credit history.
In addition to the federally protected classes of color, race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status, some cities in Louisiana also have additional protected classes. Leasing agents must be aware of these additional protections in the areas they serve.
To find out whether your city or parish has additional protected classes, contact your local governmental offices directly.
The fair housing provisions of the Uniform Relocation Act requires that whenever possible, referrals for minority persons should be made to housing that is not in an area of minority concentration and the replacement home must be comparable, decent, safe and sanitary. These requirements apply to Community Planning Development, Housing, and Public Housing programs.