From AG Mark Herring’s office:
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING OPPOSES RULE CHANGES THAT WOULD HARM FAIR HOUSING
~ A coalition of 22 attorneys general submitted comments opposing HUD’s proposed changes to the Disparate Impact Rule that would make it harder for states to ensure equal housing opportunities ~
RICHMOND (October 18, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in opposing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed changes to its Disparate Impact Rule. While the current rule protects against discriminatory housing and lending practices that have the effect of harming individuals based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status, the proposed changes would create uncertainty and make it harder for states to ensure equal housing opportunities for all Americans.
“Virginians should never have to worry about facing discrimination when looking for safe, affordable housing,” said Attorney General Herring. “HUD’s proposed rule changes not only go against previous Supreme Court rulings but they also go against what we stand for as Americans. I will continue to do everything I can to protect all Virginians against housing discrimination in our communities.”
Attorney General Herring and his colleagues submitted comments arguing that the proposed rule changes have substantial defects. The changes ignore the Supreme Court’s binding interpretation of the Fair Housing Act and drastically exceed HUD’s authority by altering judicial procedures. The changes also provide more immunity to lending and insurance companies at the expense of consumers, making it more likely that claims with merit will be unnecessarily dismissed.
The attorneys general have wide-ranging experience in using disparate impact liability to enforce fair housing laws, combat housing discrimination, and ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to obtain housing. States have regularly challenged housing policies that have a discriminatory effect, including zoning ordinances, mortgage lending discrimination, and English-only policies. Many times, these policies disproportionately hurt minority residents and vulnerable populations, such as domestic violence victims.
Previously, Attorney General Herring and a group of 17 attorneys general sent a letter urging HUD to retain the current Disparate Impact Rule to protect individuals from housing discrimination. Additionally, Attorney General Herring filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the nation’s fair housing enforcement programs against a challenge out of Texas that sought to end the use of “disparate impact analysis” to fight housing segregation and discrimination.
Attorney General Herring is joined in submitting today’s comments by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.