For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today led a coalition of 23 attorneys general urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to reinstate a rule on disparate impact liability that would protect people from discrimination in housing. Along with Attorney General Stein, Attorney General Karl Racine (DC), Attorney General Letitia James (NY), and Attorney General Bob Ferguson (WA) are co-leading these comments to HUD.
“North Carolinians deserve protections from housing discrimination. We need stable, successful communities where every person has a home,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I led the fight against the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken protections against housing discrimination, and I’m proud to lead my fellow attorneys general in supporting the federal government’s efforts to restore them.”
The disparate impact rule, established originally in 2013 under the Fair Housing Act, protects consumers against housing and lending practices that end up harming people based on their race, color, religion, national original, sex, disability, and familial status. HUD is proposing to re-establish the 2013 rule and revoke an unlawful 2020 replacement that had serious legal defects, failed to provide specific protections for people who were being discriminated against, and made it more difficult for many valid legal claims to proceed. Attorney General Stein led a coalition of 22 states opposing the 2020 rule and its weakening of critical protections.
Attorneys general rely on the disparate impact rule to combat discrimination, challenge housing policies that have a discriminatory effect, and ensure more equal housing opportunities. In their comments, the attorneys general contend that the reinstated rule better aligns with the Fair Housing Act and judicial precedent. The attorneys general also suggest that HUD should consider further strengthening the rule in the future and consider the additional discriminatory effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardships on people across the country.
Attorney General Stein is joined in sending today’s comments by the Attorneys General of the District of Columbia, New York, Washington, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.
A copy of the comment letter is available here.