Harassment is a serious problem for too many tenants. We need more protections to allow us to feel safe in our homes.
HUD’s proposed rule on harassment and liability for protected classes under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a strong step in the right direction. The proposed rule is thoughtful, thorough, and moving in its forthright affirmation of people’s homes as a sanctuary for privacy, personal freedom, security and safety. It clearly declares that all protected classes under the FHA should be protected from broad, inclusive definitions of harassment which may be perpetrated against people because of their membership in one or more protected class.
In particular, we applaud HUD for clarifying in the proposed rule that third party providers (such as owner and their management agents) are directly liable for failing to “take prompt action to correct and end” harassment or any other unlawful discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
Protected classes include women, people of color, people with disabilities, national origin, and people with families. One notable exception is age, which is an unfortunate gap in the federal law and not something HUD can alter.
Overall, NAHT supports the proposed rule, and endorses the recommendations filed by the National Housing Law Project, which suggests that the rule could be strengthened by highlighting, in the Preamble, additional examples of potentially harassing, unwelcome conduct that could give rise to FHA liability.
You can read our comments here, including our suggests for strengthening the preamble.