After months of pressure from industry groups and Congress, including NMHC/NAA, HUD is taking a second look at a controversial regulation from the previous Administration. Last week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced that the Department will “reinterpret” the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule finalized under the previous Administration in 2015. This announcement followed a letter on July 14th from 20 Congressmen and Senators asking Secretary Carson to rescind the Rule entirely, and to instead, “pursue real, sensible reforms to reduce poverty and improve the opportunities available to lower-income citizens at the local level.” The letter highlights threatened suspension of federal grants and expanded opportunities for lawsuits as reasons to oppose the Rule, and instead insists on allowing local governments to retain the right to make zoning decisions.
Bills in the House and Senate were also introduced in January that would defund implementation of the Rule, with the House legislation drawing 24 co-sponsors.
NMHC/NAA have highlighted the AFFH Rule in a series of letters to the Administration recently, requesting a review of the rule and a refocusing of Department efforts in “identifying significant contributing factors” related to rental housing shortages, and working cooperatively with local jurisdictions and HUD grantees to address factors that “limit or deny fair housing choice or access to opportunity” and “encouraging development of new affordable housing in areas of opportunity” as is outlined in statute.