HUD Suspends Fair Housing Rule

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it had suspended the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) final rule, an Obama-era effort aimed at addressing racial discrimination in housing. HUD also extended the deadline for local governments to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) from 2018 until after October 31, 2020, and in many cases until 2025. HUD also discontinued reviewing AFHs, claiming that program participants needed additional time and technical assistance to adjust to the new AFFH process.[1]

The AFFH final rule, released in July 2015, embodied a long-awaited effort to give teeth to the federal Civil Rights-era Fair Housing Act, which requires local governments to take active steps to end racial segregation.[2] AFFH requires local governments to use the Assessment of Fair Housing Tool for Local Governments, which was approved by the Office of Management and Budget, to assist them in meeting their statutory obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.[3] According to the HUD notice, local governments will not be required to submit an AFH using the tool, but must comply with existing obligations to affirmatively further fair housing. Local governments with an AFH already accepted by HUD must continue to execute their stated goals. Local governments with completed AFHs not accepted by HUD are encouraged to use those drafts to conduct the required Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice.[4]

Although the HUD notice does not revise AFFH or change the AFH requirement, fair housing advocates fear that the rule’s suspension signals that the Trump Administration is moving toward halting AFFH implementation, negatively affecting local jurisdictions’ proactive steps to tackle racial segregation in communities nationwide.[5]

Reza Mortaheb, Research Analyst, employs his experience as an architect and urban planner to cover federal housing policy and research on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). To learn more about these issues, contact him at

[1] Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 4 / Friday, January 5, 2018. P.684

[2] The United States Department of Justice, “Fair Housing Act,” Date of Access: January 23, 2018.

[3] The US Department of Housing and Urban Development, “HUD Rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” Date of Access: January 23, 2018.

[4] Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 4 / Friday, January 5, 2018. P.684

[5] CityLab, “The Trump Administration Just Derailed a Key Obama Rule on Housing Segregation,” By Kriston Caps, January, 4, 2018. Date of Access: January 23, 2018.