HUD takes first step to reconsider disparate impact regulation

by Francis Monfort14 May 2018

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that it plans to seek the public’s comment on its 2013 Disparate Impact Regulation in relation to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project Inc.

The HUD’s regulation provides a framework for establishing legal liability for facially neutral practices that have discriminatory effects on classes of persons protected under the Fair Housing Act.

The Supreme Court upheld the use of a 'disparate impact' theory to establish liability under the Fair Housing Act in cases where seemingly neutral practices have a discriminatory effect on protected classes of persons. Although the HUD’s Disparate Impact Regulation was referred to in the Inclusive Communities ruling, the Supreme Court did not directly rule upon it.

"HUD remains committed to making sure housing-related policies and practices treat people fairly," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. "We will always challenge any practice that discriminates against people the law protects."

National Fair Housing Alliance President Lisa Rice criticized the HUD’s latest move, according to a Bloomberg report.

“Protecting the disparate impact standard strengthens our communities and our nation. We all deserve the opportunity to raise healthy, productive families in the community of our choice,” Rice said.


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