The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) proposed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which clarifies and expands fair housing obligations for HUD program participants, including state and local public housing authorities, among others. In response, NMHC/NAA, joined by the National Leased Housing Association, submitted comments to HUD requesting the agency take a more comprehensive look at the potential unintended consequences of the proposed changes.
While the rule would not directly impose new compliance obligations on apartment owners, developers and managers, the proposal’s broad mission to desegregate communities by combating exclusionary zoning and other practices deemed discriminatory could indirectly affect the industry by creating delays in construction and permitting decisions. Such disruption could aggravate the housing market’s already short supply of apartments.
The proposed rule underscores the Fair Housing Act’s mandate that programs and activities relating to housing and urban development be administered in a manner to ensure that recipients of funds do more than simply not discriminate; the act obligates them to take proactive steps to address segregation and related barriers for those protected by the act. To this end, HUD plans to provide participants with geographically specific racial and socioeconomic data to assist them in their analysis and planning process.
In the comment letter, NMHC/NAA also urged HUD to ensure that these additional statistical measurements could not be used for the enforcement of private parties.