ACLU lauds new housing rule

“Discrimination today often takes subtle forms, and the HUD rule ensures that people will be able to battle discrimination,” Dennis D. Parker, the director of ACLU’s racial justice program, said in a statement.

HUD said the new rule, which has been heavily opposed by the financial industry, is intended to provide “clarity” for individuals, the government and businesses about what qualifies as discrimination. 

The rule allows parties to claim that they have been discriminated against by lenders without having to prove it was intentional. In order for the claim to found valid, however, statistical analysis must show that certain groups of people faced more negative outcomes than others.

The ACLU has followed the issue closely. Last fall, the group released a report that said the high demand for loans encouraged predatory lending. It has also recently been involved in lawsuits against gender discrimination in housing practices and taken on large banks for their involvement in high-risk, subprime loans.

HUD, which has the authority to carry out the regulations within the Fair Housing Act, interprets it to “prohibit practices with an unjustified discriminatory effect, regardless of whether there was an intent to discriminate,” according to a pending Federal Register document. “The eleven federal courts of appeals that have ruled on this issue agree with this interpretation.”