New Fair Housing PROTECTED CLASSES Proposed

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On September 22, 2011, Senator John Kerry introduced new legislation that aims to outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) Americans in the housing and credit markets, which is something that is absent (and needed) from the current version of the federal Fair Housing Act. The proposed Act is called the “Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act,” and it would amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or source of income.  It would also amend the Equal Opportunity Credit Act to prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered discrimination in credit decisions.  Thus, the HOME Act would, in effect, create new protected classes under federal law to protect sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income.

Senator Kerry issued a press release that summarizes the main points of the HOME Act, which include:

  • Amend the Fair Housing Act to prohibit housing discrimination and intimidation on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, or source of income.
  • Amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in access to credit.
  • Outlaw housing discrimination both before and after a housing unit is acquired.
  • Strengthen anti-discrimination protections for handicapped individuals and LGBT parents with custody of a child.
  • Provide the Attorney General with appropriate pre-litigation investigative power to enforce the law.

On September 22, 2011, the bill was referred to the referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and on October 21, 2011, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit for further evaluation and comment.

I’m no expert on politics, but I suspect that this bill faces a poor chance of passing and becoming law at this time given the current makeup of Congress.  I hope that I’m wrong because discrimination in any form is wrong and should be illegal.

SOURCE:  Senate Bill S.1605 and House Bill H.R.3030; Senator John Kerry's press release (portion used with permission)

For those of you who might be interested, the following is the text of the proposed legislation.

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SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act of 2011” or the “HOME Act of 2011.”

SEC. 2. AMENDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN DISCRIMINATION.

(a)        In General-

(1)        Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3604) is amended—

(A)       by inserting “actual or perceived” before “race, color” each place that term appears; and

(B)       by inserting “sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, source of income,” after “sex,” each place that term appears.

(2)        Section 805 of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3605) is amended--

(A)       by inserting “actual or perceived” before “race, color” each place that term appears; and

(B)       by inserting “sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, source of income,” after “sex,” each place that term appears.

(3)        Section 806 of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3606) is amended--

(A)       by inserting “actual or perceived” before “race, color”; and

(B)       by inserting “sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, source of income,” after “sex,”

(b)        Prevention of Intimidation- Section 901 of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3631) is amended--

(1)        by inserting “actual or perceived” before “race, color” each place that term appears; and

(2)        by inserting “sexual orientation (as defined in section 802), gender identity (as so defined), marital status (as so defined), source of income (as so defined)” after “sex,” each place that term appears.

(c)        Definitions- Section 802 of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3602) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(p)      ‘Gender identity’ means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.

‘(q)      ‘Marital status’ has the same meaning given that term for purposes of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

‘(r)       ‘Sexual orientation’ means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.

‘(s)       ‘Source of income’ means the receipt of Federal, State, or local public assistance including medical assistance, or the receipt by a tenant or applicant of Federal, State, or local housing subsidies, including rental assistance under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f) or other rental assistance or rental supplements.”

SEC. 3. AMENDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT TO EXTEND THE DEFINITION OF DISCRIMINATORY HOUSING PRACTICE.

Section 802(f) of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3602(f)) is amended to read as follows:  “(f) “Discriminatory housing practice” means an act that is unlawful under section 804, 805, 806, or 818 of this title, whether occurring pre- or post-acquisition, and also includes a failure to comply with section 808(e)(5) of this title or a regulation issued to carry out section 808(e)(5).

SEC. 4. AMENDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT DEFINITION OF “FAMILIAL STATUS.”

Section 802(k) of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3602(k)) is amended to read as follows:

“(k)      “Familial status” means one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) residing with--

“(1)     a parent, foster parent, or another person having legal or lawful physical custody of such individual or individuals; or

“(2)      anyone standing in loco parentis of such individual or individuals.

The protections afforded against discrimination on the basis of familial status apply to any person who is pregnant or in the process of securing legal custody of an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.”

SEC. 5. AMENDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT AND THE EQUAL CREDIT OPPORTUNITY ACT TO PROVIDE THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WITH PRE-LITIGATION SUBPOENA POWER.

(a)        Equal Credit Opportunity Act- Section 706(h) of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691e(h)) is amended--

(1)        by striking “When a” and inserting the following:  “(1) IN GENERAL- When a”; and

(2)        by adding at the end the following:  “(2) Pre-litigation Subpoena Power- If the Attorney General has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody, or control of any documentary material or information relevant to an investigation under this title, the Attorney General may, before commencing a civil action under paragraph (1), issue in writing and cause to be served upon the person, a civil investigative demand. The authority to issue and enforce civil investigative demands under this paragraph shall be identical to the authority of the Attorney General under section 3733 of title 31, United States Code, except that the provisions of that section relating to qui tam relators shall not apply.”

(b)        Fair Housing Act- Section 814(c) of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3614(c)) is amended--

(1)        by striking “The Attorney General” and inserting the following:  “(1) IN GENERAL- The Attorney General”; and

(2)        by adding at the end the following:  “(2) CIVIL INVESTIGATIVE DEMANDS- If the Attorney General has reason to believe that any person may be in possession, custody, or control of any documentary material or information relevant to an investigation under this title, the Attorney General may, before commencing a civil proceeding under this subsection, issue in writing and cause to be served upon the person, a civil investigative demand. The authority to issue and enforce civil investigative demands under this paragraph shall be identical to the authority of the Attorney General under section 3733 of title 31, United States Code, except that the provisions of that section relating to qui tam relators shall not apply.”

SEC. 6. FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION IN CREDIT.

(a)        Prohibition Against Discrimination on Account of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity- Section 701(a)(1) of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691(a)(1)) is amended--

(1)        by inserting “actual or perceived” before “race, color”; and

(2)        by striking “sex or” and inserting “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,”

(b)       Definitions- Section 702 of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691a) is amended—

(1)        by redesignating subsections (f) and (g) as subsections (g) and (i), respectively;

(2)        by inserting after subsection (e) the following:  “(f) The term “gender identity” means the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual’s designated sex at birth.”; and

(3)        by inserting after subsection (g), as so redesignated, the following:  “(h) The term “sexual orientation” means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality.”

SEC. 7. AMENDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT SO THAT DISCRIMINATION IN REAL ESTATE-RELATED TRANSACTIONS INCLUDES THE FAILURE TO MAKE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

Section 805(a) of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3605(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:  “For the purposes of this section, discrimination against a person because of handicap includes the failure, in connection with a real estate-related transaction, to make reasonable accommodations for such person.”

SEC. 8. AMENDING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT TO CHANGE CERTAIN LIMITATIONS ON FILING COMPLAINTS AND COMMENCING CIVIL ACTIONS.

(a)        Section 810- Section 810(a)(1)(A)(i) of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3610(a)(1)(A)(i)) is amended by inserting after the first sentence the following: “The failure to design and construct a dwelling as required by section 804(f)(3)(C) shall be deemed to continue until such time as the dwelling conforms to the requirements of that section.”

(b)        Section 813- Section 813(a)(1)(A) of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3613(a)(1)(A)) is amended by adding at the end the following: “The failure to design and construct a dwelling as required by section 804(f)(3)(C) shall be deemed to continue until such time as the dwelling conforms to the requirements of that section.”


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Thank you for sharing your blog; we need Real estate Professionals to share their comments and information regarding their markets and experiences. Thanks again from beautiful Colorado

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