HUD to Enforce LGBT Discrimination as Violation of Fair Housing Act

Soon after the Biden administration took office, it took dramatic new regulatory action to end LGBT discrimination in not just housing but all aspects of public life. Although the change has been implemented via regulation rather than legislation, discriminating against renters and residents on the basis of their LGBT status is now recognized as a Fair Housing Act violation. As a result of these actions, landlords across the country must intensify their efforts to combat discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

One level deeper: Landlords must comply not only with the federal Fair Housing Act but also with the anti-discrimination laws of their state (and municipality) to the extent those requirements are more stringent. And that happens to be the situation in the majority of the states that ban LGBT-based housing discrimination.

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws expressly banning housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Six states follow the current federal approach—that is, they treat sexual orientation and gender identity complaints the same as other recognized fair housing complaints even though the state law doesn’t expressly ban it: Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

One state, Wisconsin, bans housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity.

Go deeper: The Coach’s April lesson is dedicated to avoiding LGBT discrimination. First, we explain the current laws banning LGBT discrimination, including the new Biden measures. Then we set out eight rules to help you avoid inadvertent LGBT discrimination. The April lesson, “Avoiding Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity,” is available to subscribers here.