The National Association of Realtors® on Monday asked the Department of Housing & Urban Development to withdraw its proposed rule to amend the HUD interpretation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard. In the letter(link is external), NAR cites broad national consensus to advance efforts to eradicate racial discrimination while arguing HUD’s revisions place too heavy a burden on the ability of parties to bring legitimate initial disparate impact claims.
“While there is debate… as to whether additional clarity is needed with respect to disparate impact claims, there is broad consensus across the country that now is not the time to issue a regulation that could hinder further progress toward addressing ongoing systemic racism,” NAR President Vince Malta writes. “We believe this is the time to explore how we may work together to eliminate unnecessary barriers to housing opportunity and advance policies that allow more Americans to fully participate in the American Dream… and respectfully ask that HUD withdraw its proposed rule to amend its interpretation of the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard.”
NAR submitted initial comments to HUD after the Department unveiled its proposed rule last October. While commending HUD’s stated goal to make its enforcement policy consistent with the Supreme Court decision in Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., NAR also expressed concerns that some of HUD’s revisions place too heavy a burden on the ability to bring an initial disparate impact claim.
“NAR is working closely with state and local Realtor® associations on specific referenda, policy recommendations and residential projects that support our commitment to fair housing and housing opportunity,” Malta wrote. “Ultimately, NAR supports disparate impact as a legal theory to address the unfair housing practices that inhibit fair housing and unfairly target members of protected classes, while still protecting the ability of Realtors® and other stakeholders to run their businesses in a free and functional real estate market.”
The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.