HUD Repeals AFFH Regulation, NJ Requirement Remains in Place Last month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) repealed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. The AFFH rule was first enacted in 2015 and required municipalities to come up with plans to address housing discrimination as a condition of receiving federal housing funds. HUD replaced the AFFH rule with the Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice rule. The National Association of Realtors® raised concerns and opposed the repeal of the AFFH rule. Even with the repeal of the AFFH rule, New Jersey has its own affordable housing requirements in place as a result of the Mount Laurel court ruling which requires municipalities to provide for affordable housing through local planning, zoning and land use policies.
Under the new rule, local officials have significantly more jurisdiction in determining what qualifies as fair housing and how to promote its accessibility.
To qualify as fair housing under the new rule, a development must be "affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws," according to HUD. Efforts to further fair housing are redefined under the rule to include "any action rationally related to promoting any of the above attributes of fair housing." Opponents of efforts to expand access to housing beyond the well-off and white have long claimed that such projects would harm property values and increase crime. Studies have found that investments in low-income housing typically while reducing segregation, but may cause homeowners to when such projects are built in affluent areas. Fair housing advocates and Democratic lawmakers have fiercely criticized Trump’s decision to repeal the AFFH rule and tie low-income housing to crime, particularly as the corona virus pandemic takes a disproportionate toll on communities of color.Black and Hispanic Americans make up a disproportionate number of corona virus cases and deaths and are more likely than other demographic groups to work in a field where remote work is impossible. Black and Hispanic Americans also face higher levels of unemployment and hold significantly less wealth than other demographic groups. That wealth gap is due in part to decades of housing discrimination that locked minority families out of government programs that drastically expanded home ownership for white Americans after World War II.
As Realtors we're held to a higher standard no matter what we must always adhere to our strict code of ethics and all federal housing laws against any kind of housing discrimination.