The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission (AFHC) has determined there is reasonable cause to believe Latino applicants are being discriminated against at a Little Rock apartment complex in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
The finding stems from a complaint filed in 2013 by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) against Bailey Properties. The alliance’s Director of Enforcement and Investigations Morgan Williams said it examined Little Rock because the city doesn’t have its own fair housing enforcement entities.
“There are some jurisdictions across the country which have no local fair housing investigation enforcement entities. Little Rock is one of those jurisdictions. We engaged in some targeted investigation in the Little Rock area because it doesn’t have any private fair housing centers,” said Williams.
He said NFHA used several “mystery shoppers” or test applicants out of the course of a few months in 2013 and found results that led to the complaint filed with the AFHC.
“We identified a difference in treatment among white perspective renters and Latina perspective renters at a particular housing complex in Little Rock called the Waterford,” said Williams.
The Waterford is a West Little Rock apartment complex off of Green Mountain Drive.
The AFHC summarized NFHA’s claims in report this month:
All three (3) white testers, received an application in the form of an attachment. However, the Latino testers did not receive an application at all or it was received after a twelve (12) day delay.
The AFHC after further research found NFHA’s investigation legally compelling.
Based on the evidence set forth above, sufficient evidence exists to show that the Respondents subjected prospective Latino tenants to discriminatory refusal to rent; discriminatory refusal to negotiate for rental; and discriminatory terms/conditions/privileges relating to rental. Accordingly, there is reasonable cause to believe that the Respondents discriminated against prospective Hispanic/Latino applicants based on national origin; therefore, the Fair Housing Act has been violated. The complaint is hereby charged.
Bailey Properties, which operates almost 19,000 apartments in the southeastern U.S., referred request for comment to law firm Mitchell Williams.