The Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) recently released a policy memorandum to implement a January 20, 2021 Executive Order regarding Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. The Executive Order directs federal agencies that evaluate actions taken under federal statutes prohibiting sex discrimination to specifically include sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination as a form of sex discrimination.
Consequently, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (“FHEO”) will include claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity when investigating complaints against housing providers. The new policy formalizes HUD’s prior treatment of these classes of claims.
As housing providers, common interest communities fall under the purview of the Fair Housing requirements. Communities must assure that they are aware of these changes and be ready to address any complaints internally before they rise to a formal complaint. Community leaders should review their documents to ensure they have an anti-discrimination policy in place and may want to consider Fair Housing Act compliance training for Board and staff members.
By Erik W. Fox