New Trump Policy To Weaken Civil Rights Discrimination Law For Housing
President Donald Trump is working on weakening the civil rights-era Fair Housing Act, which protects homeowners and renters from discrimination.
Housing advocates claim the new policy will make it much more difficult to bring lawsuits claiming discrimination, while conservatives believe the new move would stop insubstantial lawsuits.
A draft of the Department of Housing and Urban Development rules would target “disparate impact.” Disparate impact are practices in housing that affect a group of protected people more than others even though the rules should apply to everyone equally. This means that to prove discrimination in a lawsuit, plaintiffs don’t have to prove that a company is refusing to make loans to minorities, only that a company has a policy that has a discriminatory aftermath.
The proposal is set to be announced in August.
A recent lawsuit claims Bank of America was treating foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods drastically poorly. Lawns weren’t mowed, windows were missing, and their entrances weren’t secured.
Lisa Rice, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, says she looked at foreclosed properties in more than 70 communities across the country. According to her, all had comparable levels of owner-occupied homes. In response to this lawsuit, she said, “In the white communities that we looked at, the story was completely different. “The grass was mowed, the doors were secure, the windows were not broken, we didn’t see trash and debris.”
Bank of America denies the claims of the lawsuit, stating, “Our commitment to sustainable homeownership for low- to moderate-income and multicultural clients and communities has always been a hallmark of Bank of America.”
In this case, if the new policy is adopted, plaintiffs would now have to prove that the company’s policies were intended to be discriminatory, whereas before, plaintiffs only had to prove that the policy itself was discriminatory.