The Biden administration is poised to reinstate two federal rules, terminated under the previous administration, that it says are key to enforcing fair housing laws barring discrimination.
Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge moved this week to reinstate a 2013 rule known as “disparate impact,” as well as the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation requiring communities to identify and remove barriers to racial integration or risk losing federal funds. Notices were posted Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget.
The two rules are key to enforcing fair housing laws barring discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability, according to the Washington Post. The 2013 disparate impact rule is a proposed rule, whereas the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requirement is in the interim final stage, according to the OMB.
The text of the rules will be made public within 90 days after being reviewed and published in the Federal Register, according to the Post.
LeadingAge in December called on the Biden administration to reinstate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. Linda Couch, LeadingAge vice president of housing policy, at the time said that the association supported the policy directives in President Biden’s Jan. 26 memorandum on “Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.”
“We applaud HUD’s action to reinstate the AFFHA and other fair housing protections,” Couch said. “Our membership of affordable senior housing providers help older adults find a safe and dignified place to age, and we rely on our partners in government to pave the way.”
Former HUD Secretary Ben Carson terminated the 2015 rule last year, replacing it with the Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice rule. The Obama-era rule had been adopted with the goal of guiding compliance efforts related to the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The rule was suspended by the Trump administration in 2018 after HUD said it “provided ineffective, highly prescriptive and effectively discouraged the production of affordable housing.”
Critics said the Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice rule set a lower bar, relying on local governments to self-certify that they were furthering fair housing.
The National Fair Housing Alliance praised the latest moves, saying the organization was “devastated when the Trump administration gutted this vital framework in 2020.” NFHA President and CEO Lisa Rice said Tuesday in a statement that the Trump administration’s “harmful reversal” of the 2013 disparate impact rule made it “almost impossible for victims of discrimination to effectively fight against systemic racism and discriminatory policies by housing providers, financial institutes and insurance companies.
Rice said that reinstating the rule is vital to “addressing systemic discrimination in housing.”