At the start of this week, the Trump Administration published its proposed budget for the federal government for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2019. While this is just a proposal – and will certainly be amended by Congress before the end of September – I wanted to highlight a couple of points of interest to those in the professional apartment management industry.
First, while it is true that the Administration proposed cutting funding for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) by 16.4 percent – that does not mean that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) is now off the books and management can stop fair housing training. It looks like most of the cuts would come from public housing and related block grant programs. Indeed, a little research led me to a HUD press release in which the department notes, albeit near the bottom of the text, “[a]s it did last year, the Administration is seeking $62.3 million to support HUD’s fair housing mission.” That money goes to fund various HUD fair housing partners and HUD-sponsored initiatives to combat housing discrimination. I doubt that will change very much.
Second, even if HUD reduced or stopped funding fair housing, individual state, city, and county anti-housing discrimination laws remain and are enforced in the normal course. Indeed, HUD partners with various local commissions or agencies who actually investigate many of the fair housing claims I defend against. And remember that many state, city, and county laws contain additional protected classes of individuals covered under their respective fair housing statutes.
The takeaway? The Administration’s budget number is just a proposal. Think of it as a trial balloon which Congress may, or may not, pop. Fair housing remains codified in U.S. Code and professional apartment management should continue best practices in complying with applicable law and training our leasing office team members to get it right. Or you will still need to speak with a lawyer like me.
Just A Thought.