HUD Withdraws Trump-Era Fair Housing Appeal, Acts to Prevent Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

The Department of Justice recently withdrew the Trump-era HUD appeal in Massachusetts Fair Housing Center v. HUD – a case that challenges the 2020 disparate impact rule, which limited plaintiffs’ ability to bring disparate impact claims. The announcement follows President Biden’s memorandum on redressing historical discriminatory housing practices, which directed HUD to examine the recently amended disparate impact standard.

HUD also announced a new enforcement action and a directive to prevent housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) published a memorandum that explains the agency interprets the Fair Housing Act as barring such discrimination.

“Housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity demands urgent enforcement action,” said FHEO Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanine M. Worden. “That is why HUD, under the Biden Administration, will fully enforce the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Every person should be able to secure a roof over their head free from discrimination, and the action we are taking today will move us closer to that goal.