New Fair Housing Rule Expands Protections for LGBT Renters and Homebuyers
January 31, 2012 by Robin Maril, Senior Legislative Counsel
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that new Equal Access regulations will be published this week and will take effect next month. Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the new rule Saturday at the Creating Change conference, which is hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
This fair housing rule expands protections for LGBT people seeking housing that is financed or insured by HUD. The rule also prohibits owners and operators of HUD-funded housing or housing that HUD insures from inquiring about an applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity, or denying housing based on an applicant’s LGBT status. The new rule also makes clear that the term “family” includes LGBT individuals and couples as eligible for HUD’s public housing and voucher programs – programs that collectively serve 5.5 million people.
The rule also prohibits lenders from considering a home-buyer’s sexual orientation or gender identity when determining eligibility for an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) backed mortgage. FHA guaranteed loans now account for over a third of all new home loans. This rule will ensure that FHA lenders only consider relevant factors when determining if the home-buyer qualifies for a loan. Secretary Donovan added Monday that “Particularly with FHA playing an elevated role in the housing market today, this represents a critical step in ensuring that LGBT Americans have fair access to the dream of responsible, sustainable homeownership.”
HRC was actively engaged with HUD throughout the development of this rule and remains committed to ensuring that it is successfully implemented and that LGBT renters and homebuyers are aware of these new protections.
If you believe that you have been the victim of housing discrimination based on your sexual orientation or gender identity, visit the HUD website or contact your local HUD office to file a complaint.
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