HUD Issues Final Rule Related to “Hostile Environment Harassment” Under the Fair Housing Act

On September 14, 2016, HUD issued the final rule entitled Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices Under the Fair Housing Act .

This final rule amends HUD’s fair housing regulations to:

  • Formalize definitions of ‘‘quid pro quo harassment’’ and ‘‘hostile environment harassment’’ under the Fair Housing Act;
  • Formalize standards for evaluating claims of quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment under the Fair Housing Act;
  • Add illustrations of prohibited quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment to HUD’s existing Fair Housing Act regulations; and,
  • Identify traditional principles of direct and vicarious liability applicable to all discriminatory housing practices under the Fair Housing Act, including quid pro quo and hostile environment harassment.

 

A further summary and the full text of the final rule are available after the jump.

According to the Community Associations Institute:

Under the rule, community associations may be liable under the Fair Housing Act for the discriminatory actions of residents who harass or create a hostile environment for other residents.

And, in response to concerns raised by CAI, the final rule:

  • plainly provides in guidance that not all resident disputes rise to the level of housing discrimination;
  • clarifies that community associations do not have a general duty to halt housing discrimination, but must take prompt action to halt housing discrimination when the association is required to by law or governing documents;
  • clarifies that community associations are not required to take actions outside the scope of authority under law or governing documents to halt housing discrimination; and,
  • adds a “reasonable person” standard to determine if or when a community association should have been aware of and acted to halt housing discrimination by third parties if required to do so by law or governing documents.

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