The National Fair Housing Alliance says it has found evidence that an apartment complex in North Little Rock discriminated against deaf rental applicants. The organization filed a complaint Thursday with the Department of Housing and Urban Development based on findings from a months-long investigation.
Shanna Smith, president of the Fair Housing Alliance, says her organization found “conclusive evidence” that 30 rental companies around the country discriminated against deaf applicants, including the Lakewood Hills apartment:
“In this particular investigation we had a deaf tester using a IP relay operator contact the apartment complex to inquire about a one or two bedroom apartment, depending on what their cover story was. And then we had a hearing tester using the exact same cover story as the deaf tester call the same manager.”
Smith says deaf testers who inquired about renting were offered higher monthly rates than hearing testers who provided similar personal information. The Department of Housing and Urban Development must now conduct its own investigation.
“HUD will look at what the company provides and they'll look at our test reports and then they'll say, well, there's no discrimination. Or they can say it looks a little fishy here; do the parties want to enter into a discussion through a conciliation,” Smith says
A representative with the Lakewood Hills apartments declined to comment on the complaint.