June 10 -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) publishes this interim final rule to restore certain definitions and certifications that have been through notice-and-comment scrutiny and that are grounded in legal precedent to its regulations implementing the Fair Housing Act's requirement to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) and reinstate a process by which HUD will provide technical assistance and other support to funding recipients who are engaged in fair housing planning to support their certifications. HUD invites public comments on the interim final rule by July 12, 2021.
HUD determined that it is necessary for this narrowly focused rule to go into effect on July 31, 2021, because HUD funding recipients must certify compliance with their duty to AFFH on an annual basis and HUD itself has a continuous statutory obligation to ensure that the Fair Housing Act's AFFH obligations are followed.
HUD finds that the definitions in the current regulation, which was promulgated in 2020 without notice-and-comment procedures, are at odds with the statutory AFFH duty as described in decades of judicial precedent and agency practice. This risks confusing funding recipients, who are certifying compliance with a regulatory definition that does not in fact satisfy their statutory AFFH obligation.
While HUD therefore has determined that this rule will go into effect on July 31, it nonetheless solicits comments on this action so that it may consider public views before the effective date. HUD promulgates this interim final rule to ensure that program participants have regulatory certainty, while delaying the effective date long enough to provide time for HUD to review comments and, if necessary, act on them prior to the effective date.
FR notice of interim final rule and invitation to comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/10/2021-12114/restoring-affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing-definitions-and-certifications