more of major life activities (walking,
seeing, hearing, learning and working)
or having a record of such an impairment,
or being regarded as having such an im-pairment.”;Familial;status;is;defined;as;any-one who has a child under 18, who has temporary custody of a child under 18, is seeking
custody of a child under 18 or is pregnant.
Currently, there are seven federally protected classes. However, almost every state, and
many local governments, have enacted their own
Fair Housing laws. While states cannot remove a
federally protected class, they can, and often do,
create additional classes.
FOR EXAMPLE, MADISON, WIS.
HAS 21 PROTECTED CLASSES:
> FAMILIAL STATUS
> STUDENT STATUS
> POLITICAL BELIEFS
> CITIZENSHIP STATUS
> RELIGION OR ATHEISM
> STATUS AS A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC
ABUSE, SEXUAL ASSAULT OR STALKING
> MARITAL STATUS
> GENDER IDENTITY
> SOURCE OF INCOME
> SEXUAL ORIENTATION
> PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
> DOMESTIC PARTNER STATUS
> NATIONAL ORIGIN OR ANCESTRY
> RECEIPT OF RENTAL ASSISTANCE
> LESS THAN HONORABLE DISCHARGE
> THE FACT THAT THE PERSON DECLINES TO DISCLOSE THEIR SOCIAL
One of the most recent changes to Fair Housing law, and one that has had a major
impact on IREM Members, was not prompted by legislation, but by regulation. In
2013, the;U. S.;Department;of;Housing;and;Urban;Development;(HUD);published;a
final;rule;holding;landlords;liable;for;policies;that;had;a;disparate;impact;on;mem-bers of a protected class. A policy that has disparate treatment has been illegal since
the passage of the FHA; a policy with disparate impact, however, does not have to
be explicitly discriminatory to be in violation of the law. For example, having a
blanket rule against renting to any convicted felon would not be disparate treat-ment,;as;it;would;affect;any;felons;equally;regardless;of;their;race.;However,;it
would have a disparate impact on racial minorities who are disproportionately convicted of felonies.
In JANUARY OF 2015, the disparate impact rule was brought before
the;U.S.;Supreme;Court;with;Texas Department of Housing and Community
Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project. The Inclusive Communities Project
discriminated against a racial minority group by issuing more tax credits for building low income housing in the predominantly poorer black
decision, the court upheld the use of disparate impact as a basis for
discrimination under the FHA, stating that the language of the FHA
focuses on the results of actions and not on their intent.
On APRIL 4TH, 2016, HUD published new guidance that
marked;a;significant;change;in;HUD’s;expectations;for;compli-ance with the FHA’s disparate impact rule. Although a guidance
does not have the legal authority of a court decision or a statute,
it carries considerable weight with judges.
Over the Years