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An Important Step for Equal Opportunity

February 11, 2013 | Categories: News | Tags: Disparate Impact, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a final rule to standardize implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s discriminatory effects standard (HUD Press Release).

Included in this rule is a confirmation that the Fair Housing Act may be violated by a housing practice that has a discriminatory effect even if the practice was not motivated by a discriminatory intent. This is often referred to as the disparate impact principle, which has been enforced as such for 40 years.

From the Opportunity Agenda and the National Fair Housing Alliance:

Q: What is disparate impact?

A: Disparate impact is the idea that some housing practices have the unintended effect of excluding people based on race, family status, or other aspects of who we are. When a policy has a discriminatory effect and it is unjustified or unnecessary, the disparate impact approach says it must be set aside in favor of a policy that is both fair and effective. But if the policy has a solid reason behind it, and no other policy could achieve the same goal with a less discriminatory effect, then the challenged policy stands.

For example:

View the final rule here.

We at the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan (FHC) applaud HUD for formalizing its long-held recognition of discriminatory effects liability under the Fair Housing Act. This new final rule is an important step forward in our nation’s pursuit of equal opportunity for all.

For more information on fair housing law and policies, or to file a fair housing complaint, please call the FHC toll-free at 1-877-979-FAIR or fill out our online contact form.

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