HUD recently published a final rule designed to ensure that HUD programs are open to eligible applicants regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The rule, which applies to owners and operators of HUD-assisted or HUD/FHA-insured housing, is effective March 5, 2012.
The new rule would prohibit owners from asking about an applicant or occupant's sexual orientation and gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility or otherwise making housing available. However, this provision would allow voluntary and anonymous reporting of sexual orientation or gender identity pursuant to state, local or federal data collection requirements.
This rule followed a January 24, 2011, proposed rule, which noted evidence suggesting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and families were being arbitrarily excluded from housing opportunities in the private sector. Some of the evidence traced to 2009, when HUD commissioned an inaugural study to determine the degree of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in rental and for-sale housing.