Fair Housing and Disparate Impact Update 2019

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This program analyzes several important recent developments in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule making and issuance of guidance based on disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Simply stated, disparate impact occurs when a housing provider’s policies or actions, although neutral and non-discriminatory on their face, serve to disproportionately negatively impact a protected class of individuals, as defined under the Fair Housing Act. 

These “Protected Classes” include race, color, religion, gender, national origin, familial status (presence of children under 18), and handicap (mental or physical disability).


.      A growing number of lawmakers and advocates express concerns with the ability of ex-offenders to successfully transition back to society outside of the correctional system.

.      They promote legislative and regulatory proposals prohibiting the use of arrest and criminal records in screening procedures for employees and prospective residents of apartment homes.

.      Proposals restricting a property owner or manager’s ability to conduct such criminal background checks inhibit their ability to ensure a safe, secure environment for residents and employees.

.      Additionally,these restrictions leave owners and managers vulnerable to potential legal liability.

.      Proposals to limit the use of criminal background checks in the housing context appear in a variety of forms at the federal, state and local levels of government.

.      Under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), it is unlawful to deny housing to persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. These groups of individuals are designated as “protected classes.”

.      State and local policymakers are considering proposals to add individuals with arrest and conviction records to this list

We will provide examples of disparate impact and how they relate to property managers and owners/ Also discussed is the Final Rule on Disparate Impact.

HUD also has new rules on:

.      Quid pro and hostile environment Harassment

.      Limited English Proficiency Protections

.      Enforcement of crime Free Ordinances and nuisance Ordinances

.      Smoke Free Housing

.      Gender Identity


.     Property Managers

.     Property owners      

.     Leasing Consultants

.     Housing Authority Staff

.     Tax credit compliance staff

.      Maintenance staff

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