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Attorney General Nessel Supports Protections Against Housing Discrimination

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general across the country to urge the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to reinstate a rule on disparate impact liability that would protect people from discrimination in housing. 

The disparate impact rule, originally established in 2013 under the Fair Housing Act, protects consumers against housing and lending practices that end up harming people based on their race, color, religion, national original, sex, disability, and familial status. HUD is proposing to re-establish the 2013 rule and revoke an unlawful 2020 replacement that had serious legal defects, failed to provide specific protections for people who were being discriminated against, and made it more difficult for many valid legal claims to proceed.  

Attorneys general rely on the disparate impact rule to combat discrimination, challenge housing policies that have a discriminatory effect, and ensure more equal housing opportunities. In their comments, the attorneys general contend that the reinstated rule better aligns with the Fair Housing Act and judicial precedent. The attorneys general also suggest that HUD should consider further strengthening the rule in the future and consider the additional discriminatory effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardships on people across the country.   

"I join my colleagues in asking HUD to reinstate the disparate impact rule, especially as our country continues to navigate its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic," Nessel said. "Countless people have faced housing hardships as a result of this pandemic. It is imperative this rule be reinstated to ensure that hardship is not compounded by discriminatory policies." 

Joining Attorney General Nessel in sending these comments to HUD are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. 

A copy of the comment letter is available on the Department's website