On September 13th, 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it is publishing a final rule formalizing legal standards under the Fair Housing Act for sexual and other forms of harassment in housing. In addition, HUD is issuing Fair Housing Act guidance on local 'nuisance ordinances' that may lead to housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence and other persons in need of emergency services.
HUD is issuing its Nuisance Guidance as the country marks the 22nd anniversary of the Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA). Through the VAWA 2013 reauthorization, protections have been expanded to nearly all HUD programs. Previously, only residents of public housing and Section 8 tenant-based and project-based programs were covered.
Additionally, HUD issued “Limited English Proficiency” (LEP) guidance that addresses how the Fair Housing Act would apply to claims of housing discrimination brought by people because they do not speak, read, or write English proficiently. More than 25 million people in the United States do not communicate proficiently in English. Read the new limited English proficiency guidance here.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits both intentional housing discrimination and housing practices that have an unjustified discriminatory effect. People with limited English proficiency are not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. However, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on seven protected bases, including national origin, which is closely linked to the ability to communicate proficiently in English.
Housing providers are therefore prohibited from using limited English proficiency selectively or as an excuse for intentional housing discrimination. The law also prohibits landlords from using limited English proficiency in a way that causes an unjustified discriminatory effect.
We share this news to both raise awareness about housing discrimination occurring in the Denver Metro area as well as to inform the public about the effectiveness of our efforts to eliminate it. We will keep working towards our ultimate goal of equal housing choice for everyone in our community.
Thank you for your time.
The Denver Metro Fair Housing Center Team
3280 Downing St. Suite B
Denver, CO 80205
If you or someone you know has been a victim of housing discrimination or has a question regarding the fair housing act, contact DMFHC at (720) 279-4291.
The work that provided the basis for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations contained in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.