How Will New Discriminatory Effects Regs Affect Your Community?

July 25, 2013
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In a Special Issue, Fair Housing Coach reviews HUD’s new discriminatory effects regulations—and what they may mean for your community. HUD issued the rules earlier this year to formalize the national standard for determining whether a housing practice violates the Fair Housing Act (FHA) based on disparate impact—that is, practices that may have a discriminatory effect on protected classes, regardless of intent to discriminate. 

HUD says the new rules don't create new law, noting that it has long interpreted federal fair housing law to prohibit seemingly neutral housing practices with an unjustified discriminatory effect based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

HUD’s new rules come at a time when there’s an ongoing debate about whether federal fair housing law, like its counterpart involving employment discrimination, outlaws practices that have a discriminatory effect on protected classes—even in the absence of discriminatory intent. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal in a New Jersey case on whether the FHA covers disparate impact claims. The case is due to be heard in the fall, unless it’s resolved before then.

Until then, communities should be prepared to comply with HUD’s final rules on the disparate effects. The Special Issue, available here, highlights what you need to know about the new discriminatory effects regulations—and offers four rules to help explain how they may affect your community.