Real Estate Law

HUD Proposes Rule to Ensure Equal Access to Housing Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

Excerpted from Infobytes, a weekly electronic newsletter on developments in financial services law from BuckleySandler LLP. For the full issue of Infobytes, click here: http://www.buckleysandler.com/infobytes/issues/infobytes_february_4_2011/

On January 24, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a new rule aimed at ensuring equal access to housing in HUD programs, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This rule comes in response to evidence collected by HUD suggesting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families are being arbitrarily excluded from some housing opportunities in the private sector. If implemented, the rule will (i) prohibit owners and operators of HUD-assisted housing or housing whose financing is insured by HUD from inquiring about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, the dwelling, (ii) prohibit lenders from considering actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity when making a determination of the adequacy of a single-family mortgagor's income in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) programs, and (iii) clarify that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs. HUD is seeking public comment on this rule through March 25, 2011. For a copy of the proposed rule, please see http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=LGBTPR.PDF.

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