On February 11, 2021, The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will begin enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to enforcement of discrimination based on previously identified protected classes including familial status, race, ethnicity, sex, handicap, color, religion, and national origin.
The memo notes that State and local jurisdictions which enforce the Federal Fair Housing Act also will be required to administer those laws to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, regional offices and jurisdictions have been advised to review allegations of discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation that had been received since January 20, 2020, and notify persons who alleged such discrimination that their claims may be timely for filing.
In addition, the recent sunset of “House Bill 2” effectively means that local governments may now choose to adopt non-discrimination ordinances. Licensees should be aware of any local ordinances in their market areas that address housing discrimination.
The HUD memo is available at: https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/hud_no_21_021