Michigan readers may be concerned to learn that the Trump administration is eliminating a rule that helps communities enforce the Fair Housing Act of 1968, or FHA. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published the decision in the federal register on May 23. The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, or AFFH, rule required cities and towns to prove they had plans to reduce segregation before they could receive federal funds. Created by the Obama administration, the rule was intended to provide cities with a comprehensive tool to measure their compliance with the FHA, which has been poorly enforced since its passage. However, before scrapping it, HUD had already taken steps to delay the rule’s implementation for several years, which prompted the State of New York and a group of housing activists to sue the administration.
According to one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit, AFFH has had a “transformative” effect on communities that have used it. The lawsuit contends that HUD broke the law when it gave no notice and held no comment period prior to yanking the rule. It further contends that HUD has a legal obligation to address housing segregation problems. While HUD’s decision to eliminate the rule will force the plaintiffs to amend some details in the complaint, the lawsuit will continue forward.
The Fair Housing Act forbids landlords, financial institutions and communities from denying people housing due to their race. It also bans housing discrimination based on color, religion, sex and national origin. Meanwhile, the ADA protects the housing rights of people with disabilities. Individuals who are denied the opportunity to rent, purchase or finance a home due to racial discrimination may benefit from contacting an attorney familiar with Fair Housing and the ADA.