New Orleans Racial Discrimination Test Highlights Urgent Need for Landlords to Work w/ 3rd Party Tenant Screening Companies, States TenantScreeningUSA.com

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Recently the New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center conducted an investigation into the tenant screening practices and use of criminal history reports as part of tenant screening at properties around New Orleans. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “The results of the New Orleans test illustrates significant racial discrimination as part of perspective tenant vetting process and greatly highlights an extremely urgent need for all landlords and property managers to review tenant screening policies.”

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The report out of New Orleans greatly highlights the need for landlords and property managers in that city and across the country work with third-party tenant screening companies in order to establish non-discriminatory tenant screening policies

In New Orleans housing agencies sent “prospective renters” out to various properties to apply for tenancy in rental properties as a test looking at how applicants were treated. Half of the perspective applicants were African American, the other half Caucasian.

The results were alarming.

From NOLO.com (Sep. 28, 15):

Criminal background checks are used as a tool by New Orleans landlords to discriminate against black renters, according to a new report from the New Orleans Greater Fair Housing Action Center. The agency said it conducted a "mystery shopper" investigation this summer, sending out white and black testers with identical income levels, career paths, families and criminal backgrounds to apply for apartments. (1)

The results suggest that Caucasians overwhelmingly received preferential treatment.

From WRNO.com (Sep. 28, 15):

It is alleged that rental agents often provided inconsistent information about background policies, and that white prospective tenants were much more likely to be quoted more lenient policies.

The Center claims that in some cases, fees for criminal background checks were waived for white tenants and in other cases, background checks were waived altogether (2)

The use of criminal history reports have come under increasing scrutiny. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have created “Guidances” as to the fair and lawful use of criminal history reports. While these efforts have been primarily focused on pre-employment use of criminal records, HUD appears to be taking a greater interest.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: “Racial discrimination has no place in any aspect of American life. Landlords and property managers must create an environment of equality when it comes to renting out their properties. Just as the EEOC continues to monitor the fair and lawful use of criminal records HUD will certainly increase their efforts.”

The report coming out of New Orleans suggests there may well be an endemic issue with racial discrimination in housing across the country.

Racial discrimination was addressed in 1968 with the Fair Housing Act.

From NOLO.com (Sep. 28, 15):

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. The Supreme Court added to that law earlier this year when it ruled that the act prohibits not only intentional discrimination but practices and policies that result in discrimination against those protected classes. (3)

Almeida states: “The report out of New Orleans greatly highlights the need for landlords and property managers in that city and across the country work with third-party tenant screening companies in order to establish non-discriminatory tenant screening policies as well as being kept up-to-date with all laws governing the use of criminal history reports as part of a tenant background check.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with highly trained investigators well versed in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, and all public record reports, as part of a tenant check.

Notes:

(1)    nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/09/racial_bias_in_new_orleans_apa.html
(2)    wrno.com/articles/local-news-135361/landlords-allegedly-skip-background-checks-on-13982578/
(3)    nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/09/racial_bias_in_new_orleans_apa.html

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