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Fair and Affordable Housing: About

This research guide looks at the search for local land use laws relevant to fair and affordable housing law, with a focus on sustainable development. This research guide includes links to primary and secondary sources.

About This Research Guide

This guide is written for use by Pace Law School students, faculty and staff, and contains links to affordable housing law resources, with a focus on finding local land use laws that relate to the sustainable development of fair and affordable housing.   

  • Many treatises and some books are made available on Westlaw and WestlawNext, or Lexis Advance.  Where secondary sources are available on WestlawNext or Lexis Advance, links have been provided along with call numbers for secondary sources that we hold in print. 
  • Some of the links included in in this guide require passwords which are available to Pace Law School students, faculty and staff via TWEN.  

Researchers from other institutions should ask their librarians for assistance if they do not have access to the materials noted in this guide.  

This research guide is an ongoing project. I would like to thank the staff at Pace's Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development for their many helpful suggestions regarding websites and topics to include in the guide, and I welcome additional comments/suggestions from anyone who is using this guide.

Introduction to Affordable Housing Law

The stated mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is "to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all."[1]  HUD defines affordable housing as follows:

The generally accepted definition of affordability is for a household to pay no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing. Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care. An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more then 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing, and a family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States. The lack of affordable housing is a significant hardship for low-income households preventing them from meeting their other basic needs, such as nutrition and healthcare, or saving for their future and that of their families.[2]

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its amendments provides "the HUD Secretary with fair housing enforcement and investigation responsibilities....[It] prohibits discrimination in all facets of the homebuying process on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.[3]  HUD provides its definition of "affirmatively furthering fair housing" in their Fair Housing Planning Guide vol. 1 [4]. 

Researchers looking at land use law issues will need to consider federal and state statutes, federal and state cases, and federal and state administrative regulations and decisions. These resources can easily be searched by researchers with access to Westlaw and/or Lexis.

More difficult to locate are the local laws which put into effect the land use plans of local governments, and the planning documents, both local and regional, which inform land use planning. 

[1] U.S. Dep't of Hous. and Urban Development, Mission, (last visited Sept. 13, 2014).

[2 ]U.S. Dep't of Hous. and Urban Development, Affordable Housing, (last visited Sept.13, 2014).

[3] U.S. Dep't of Hous. and Urban Development, Glossary of  HUD Terms, (last visited Sept. 13, 2014).

[4] U.S. Dep't of Hous. and Urban Development, Fair Housing Planning Guide 1-2 - 1-3 (1996),

Libguide Author

Vicky Gannon's picture
Vicky Gannon
Head of Collection Services / Reference Librarian

Pace University School of Law Library

78 North Broadway

White Plains, NY 10589

914 422-4369