Fair Housing Is A Top Priority for Biden Administration

President Joe Biden has directed the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to re-examine the 2020 Trump-era rule which limited the role of the federal government in encouraging local government to affirmatively further the goals of the Fair Housing Act to prevent housing discrimination. Also, under review is the 2020 HUD rule regarding implementation of the “disparate impact” standard of the Fair Housing Act.

HUD has proposed to rescind the 2020 disparate impact rule and restore a 2013 HUD rule regarding the burden of proof for housing discrimination claims based on the discriminatory effects of a facially neutral housing policy or practice.

HUD also intends to restore the standards of a 2015 rule for recipients of HUD funding grants to certify they are affirmatively furthering fair housing. According to HUD, the Trump administration improperly modified the 2015 rule so it was no longer consistent with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

In anticipation that HUD will be more active in enforcing the fair housing laws in coming years, boards and managers of condominiums, homeowner associations and housing cooperatives should be mindful of the fair housing implications of the community rules, practices and policies. This includes actions such as enforcement of rules and covenants, collecting assessments, review of architectural change requests, review of requests for reasonable accommodations and modifications based on disability, use of common areas, and providing community services.

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