HUD Adopts Updated Safe Harbor Standards for FHA Compliance

HUD Adopts Updated Safe Harbor Standards for FHA Compliance

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has adopted new safe harbors for the design and construction industry regarding the Fair Housing Act. This is the first update to the safe harbors in 15 years.  It is effective 3/8/21.

Once a safe harbor is chosen is much be a

The issue then becomes that new building codes are updated every three years and then adopted at different times in different states, creating a lag between new codes and FHA requirements. A push has been made for HUD to update its codes and safe harbors in a timeframe that’s more in-step with buildings standards.


On Dec. 8 HUD adopted two new safe harbors as additions to the already-existing 10:

  • The 2009 edition of the International Code Council Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities (ICC A117.1-2009) standard, for the design of facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities; and
  • The 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018 editions of the International Building Code.

In addition to the safe harbor updates themselves, HUD has also changed its own rulemaking requirements. Now, HUD can propose a new safe harbor via Federal Register notice with a 30-day public comment period, which aims to allow more flexibility with future updates and changes.

The ICC applauded the changes and noted that it had taken part in the most recent comment period, along with the American Institute of Architects and the National Association of Homebuilders.