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Fearing a costly tower of Babel, some housing industry trade associations are suing over new regulations issued two months ago by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The suit, filed earlier this month against HUD by the National Multi-Housing Council and the National Apartment Association in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks a permanent injunction against the new rules. The rules require that apartment building owners who receive federal funds for subsidized housing provide tenants with translators in “an unlimited number of foreign languages” to communicate with tenants and translate documents, wrote the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom attorneys representing the associations. The complaint claims association members “have already spent substantial amounts of money” and believe it is “economically infeasible” to hire translators for all of the required languages. One member has tenants who speak at least 24 languages, including Tagalog, Chinese, Hindi, and Amharic, according to the suit. A spokesperson for HUD couldn’t be reached for comment last week.
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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