Monday, January 31, 2011

FYI: HUD Proposes to Add Sexual Orientation as Anti-Discrimination Factor

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to add a person's sexual orientation or gender identity as an anti-discrimination factor for lenders participating in the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) loan guarantee programs and other HUD programs.
The proposed rule is available at:
HUD is seeking public comment on a number of proposed areas including:
1.    Prohibiting lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a basis to determine a borrower's eligibility for FHA-insured mortgage financing.  FHA's current regulations provide that a mortgage lender's determination of the adequacy of a borrower's income "shall be made in a uniform manner without regard to" specified prohibited grounds.  The proposed rule would add actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity to the prohibited grounds to ensure FHA-approved lenders do not deny or otherwise alter the terms of mortgages on the basis of irrelevant criteria.
2.    Clarifying that all otherwise eligible families, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have the opportunity to participate in HUD programs.  In the majority of HUD's rental and homeownership programs the term "family" already has a broad scope, and includes a single person and families with or without children.  HUD's proposed rule clarifies that families, otherwise eligible for HUD programs, may not be excluded because one or more members of the family may be an LGBT individual, have an LGBT relationship, or be perceived to be such an individual or in such relationship.
3.    Prohibiting 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, whether renter- or owner-occupied.  HUD is proposing to institute this policy in its rental assistance and homeownership programs, which include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs, community development programs, and public and assisted housing programs.

In addition, HUD is conducting the first-ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing. 

Ralph T. Wutscher

Kahrl Wutscher LLP

The Loop Center Building

105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2100
Chicago, Illinois  60602
Direct:  (312) 551-9320 

Fax:  (866) 581-9302
Mobile:  (312) 493-0874



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