Quicken Loans opposes proposed HUD change to fair housing enforcement

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A proposal that alters a framework used to enforce the Fair Housing Act would "make it difficult to address some of the more challenging systemic issues of discrimination," Quicken Loans Vice Chairman Bill Emerson wrote in a July 10 letter to Brian Montgomery, the deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the letter, Emerson asks HUD to reconsider its proposal.

"In recognition of our nation’s rising awareness surrounding issues of racial justice, equity and inclusion; we believe that more deliberation is required," Emerson said in the letter.

The proposal would change the disparate impact framework used to established discrimination claims. Critics say the alterations would make claims more difficult to prove. It would require consumers to follow a five-step framework to demonstrate discrimination. They would have to show that a policy or practice is "arbitrary, artificial and unnecessary" to move forward with a claim.

While the existing framework could be improved upon, it should not be revised until stakeholders reach a consensus on the changes, according to Emerson.

Any change should be made only after HUD "has an opportunity to work together with lenders, consumer advocates, and civil rights experts to find a common ground proposal on disparate impact that is fair, clear, and remains a strong and effective tool," he said.

In addition to proposing changes that would increase the burden of proof for disparate impact in discrimination claims, HUD plans to overhaul a rule that requires public entities receiving federal funds to demonstrate fair housing practices.

President Trump said in a recent tweet that he would consider abolishing the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule altogether.

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