In line with the Supreme Court’s decision regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, President Biden signed an executive order earlier this year mandating that all federal agencies review the ruling and make needed adjustments. So what can property management companies expect? Should we wait on updated guidelines from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) or should we make changes now to avoid any appearance of housing discrimination against LGBTQ+ prospects? A New Protected Category? AND THE SUPREME COURT RULING FOR THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY FAIR HOUSING
A Quick Legal Recap President Biden signed an Executive Order on January 25, 2021, requiring protections of LGBTQ+ people in housing, health care, and education. The Executive Order cites the recent Supreme Court decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, that held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in the Equal Employment Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Executive Order requires the applicable federal agencies, including HUD, to promulgate actions consistent with Bostock and the various civil rights laws. This Executive Order will result in new HUD regulations explaining the protections of LGBTQ+ persons under the Fair Housing Act.
There is always confusion with any change. With this new ruling questions have been raised as to whether or not this ruling meant a new protected category. To clarify, we do not have a new protected category, rather we now have an expanded protected category of sex. Under this expansion, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation or the gender they are presenting. The Time to Act Is Now The next question raised is whether or not housing providers should start making changes now or wait for guidance from HUD. We believe there will be a notable increase in testing and enforcement of the new fair housing protections of LGBTQ+ people. Whenever changes in regulations occur, housing providers can expect an increase in testing by housing advocacy agencies. To avoid unnecessary liability, all housing providers should be educated about these changes and ensure that all employees are properly trained and prepared for testers now.
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