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Attorney General Josh Stein Leads Coalition to Urge HUD to Retain Rules on Fair Housing

Release date: 8/21/2018

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today led a coalition of 17 Attorneys General speaking out in support of HUD’s Disparate Impact Rule that protects people against housing discrimination. In June, HUD began the process to consider rewriting the Disparate Impact Rule. The Attorneys General, who have widespread experience enforcing fair housing laws and addressing discrimination in housing and lending, advise that HUD keep the current rule. They ask HUD to continue to protect consumers from loan discrimination.

“It is critically important that we protect people from discrimination in housing,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I organized this coalition of 17 Attorneys General to stand up for people so that they are not marginalized because of who they are. I hope HUD will listen and leave this much-needed rule in place.”

The Disparate Impact Rule protects people against lending practices that do not mention race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status, but produce a discriminatory effect. Previous disparate impact cases corrected mortgage company practices that led African-American and Hispanic borrowers to pay, on average, hundreds of dollars more for their loans than similarly-situated white borrowers. Today, because of the growing role of data analytics and online data in the housing sale and rental markets, disparate impact enforcement is more important than ever.

In 2015, the Supreme Court set out a framework for legal analysis that is fully consistent with HUD’s Disparate Impact Rule. Now, however, HUD has announced that it may rewrite the rule, despite the Supreme Court’s decision. In their comments, the Attorneys General say, “no changes are appropriate to the 2013 final rule.”  The Attorneys General add that any changes could face a “meritorious legal challenge.”

The comments are also signed by the Attorneys General of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484