The Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released updated guidance today on the application of the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) to state and local land use and zoning laws. The guidance is designed to help state and local governments better understand how to comply with the FHA when making zoning and land use decisions, as well as to help members of the public understand their rights under the FHA.
The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, and familial status (residing with children under 18). The statute bars state and local governments from enacting or enforcing land use and zoning laws, policies, practices and decisions that discriminate against persons because of a protected characteristic, such as race, national origin, or disability.
The guidance is an update of previous guidance issued in the Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice on Group Homes, Local Land Use and the Fair Housing Act on August 18, 1999. The guidance is available online at: https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-policy-statements-and-guidance-0