Municipal Fair Housing Act Litigation and Reparations


This Comment argues that a recent vein of litigation involving the FHA should be considered a promising type of reparations litigation, one uniquely positioned to achieve reparative ends that other types of this litigation have failed to accomplish. The FHA litigation involves more than a dozen local governments that have filed complaints against mortgage lenders. These municipal plaintiffs allege that lending institutions engaged in racially discriminatory lending practices prohibited by the FHA, which resulted in an unprecedented number of foreclosures in majority Black and Latinx neighborhoods. These foreclosures dramatically reduced home values in these communities, causing the plaintiffs to suffer significant losses in property tax revenues. While not all litigation alleging racial discrimination holds the potential to offer reparations, the FHA litigation is unique because it recognizes sweeping injuries to entire communities, thereby paving the way for a remedial response to group-based harm and systemic racial injustice.

About the Author

J.D., UCLA School of Law, 2022.