Disparate impact liability occurs when a business practice or policy has a disproportionately adverse effect on a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, regardless of whether the discrimination was intentional.
The apartment industry is committed to equal housing opportunity for all without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, familial status or disability. However, more clarity is needed on the applicability of disparate impact liability, as it could be used to undermine apartment providers' otherwise valid policies to ensure safe and decent housing for residents.
As an Owner or Operator, How Does this Affect My Business?
At issue for apartment owners and managers is that seemingly neutral and common business policies, such as occupancy limitations, criminal background screening and Section 8 voucher policies, among others, could trigger discrimination claims despite no intention of singling out a particular group for adverse treatment.