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September 5, 2013: August Housing Law Bulletin Describes Proposed HUD AFFH Rule, Recent Foreclosure Relief Legislation
The August issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features an overview of HUD's proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a survey of recent state foreclosure relief legislation, a description of a novel anti-smoking lawsuit, and a Questions Corner discussing evictions arising from domestic violence-related unit damage.
August 2013 Bulletin Summaries
HUD Proposes Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
On July 19, 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued its long-awaited Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing proposed rule (AFFH proposed rule). Acknowledging that past efforts to affirmatively further fair housing have not been as effective as they could be, HUD now seeks to overhaul the manner in which jurisdictions analyze local fair housing issues. The proposed rule includes a series of innovations—including the structured Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) process—that housing advocates nationwide should examine. This article briefly summarizes the most important provisions of the proposed rule.
Protecting Homeowners in Foreclosure: A Survey of Recent State Legislation
In response to the ongoing foreclosure crisis, states have adopted varied legislative approaches aimed at keeping homeowners in their homes and at preventing entire neighborhoods from succumbing to foreclosure devastation. Much of the pre-2011 legislation focused on improving pre-foreclosure notice to borrowers, encouraging borrower-servicer mediation, and tightening servicer regulations. Since 2011, several states have expanded these protections to help counter the unequal balance of power between mortgage servicers and borrowers. This article offers a general survey of recent state laws that address servicer abuse and negligence. It is meant to provide a concise resource for state legislators and housing advocates looking for legislative models and examples.
Anti-Smoking Lawsuit in State Court Spurs Changes
In a novel housing lawsuit, Kadi v. Friendship Manor, an elderly and disabled tenant sued a senior housing development in state court for its alleged failure to enforce its own non-smoking rules in individual apartments and within common areas. The development has a designated smoking area adjoining the vicinity of the premises; all smoking outside of this area is prohibited. The suit resulted in a settlement whereby Friendship Manor agreed to strict compliance with no-smoking policies, enforcement of a “three-strike” rule with respect to smoking violations, and education and training for staff and residents as to the health and safety consequences of smoking at residential properties. This article provides an overview of the case, details the plaintiff’s strategic considerations, and summarizes the remedies obtained.
This Questions Corner is concerned with whether a domestic violence survivor can be evicted or terminated from a federal housing subsidy program as a result of the damage that an abuser caused to her unit.
Recent Housing Cases
This issue of the Bulletin contains a brief summary of recent significant state and federal court decisions relating to affordable housing, fair housing, and other tenants’ rights issues.
Recent Regulations and Notices
This issue of the Bulletin includes a brief summary of significant proposed and final regulations recently published in the Federal Register by federal housing agencies as well as summaries of other published notices and handbook changes recently made by HUD, RHS and other agencies administering affordable housing programs.