Stateside Legal: Fair Lending Protections

Discrimination in mortgage lending

Discrimination in mortgage lending is prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act.  The Fair Housing Act protects people based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

These laws make it unlawful to engage in the following practices:

  • Refuse to make a mortgage loan;
  • Refuse to provide information regarding loans;
  • Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees;
  • Discriminate in appraising property;
  • Refuse to purchase a loan or set different terms or conditions for purchasing a loan;

These are also called “Fair Lending” protections.   These laws may also help in resolving a foreclosure proceeding. If you are facing foreclosure, information about that process is provided here.

Mortgage Discrimination against Veterans and Military Families
Veterans and military families have all of the protections described above under the Fair Housing Act when financing the purchase of a home. Protection against discrimination based on disability also includes service-connected disabilities.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also requires that lenders offering VA loans follow the Fair Housing Act.

Some States have passed laws that provide additional fair lending protections to veterans and military personnel.  In these states, servicemembers with claims under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) may also have claims under their state’s Fair Housing Act or other discrimination laws.

The following states name veteran and/or military status as a protected class:

§         Illinois (Military Status)

§         Massachusetts (Veteran Status, Military Status)

§         New York (Military Status)

§         Ohio (Military Status)

§         Washington (Honorably Discharged Veterans, Military Status)

§         The City of Denver, Colorado (Military Status)

If you believe you have been the victim of lending discrimination, you can take legal action. The violator may be ordered to stop discriminating and to pay you damages.

Filing a Complaint about Fair Lending Discrimination

If you think you have experienced lending discrimination, seek legal help.   Legal aid organizations, fair housing organizations and private attorneys can provide legal help with lending discimination.  Use the “about me” search engine on this website to look for those resources in your State.  An experienced attorney can make sure that your rights are fully protected and their services may be available free of charge.

HUD will investigate fair lending complaints at no cost to you.  The process for filing a complaint based on fair lending discrimination is the same as a complaint based on housing discrimination and is described here.

If you are a veteran buying a house with a VA loan, you can file a discrimination complaint with your local VA office using a VA Form 26-8827.

More information about Fair Lending protections is available at the HUD website here.

This information was made possible with funding from HUD Grant FH 700G09025 

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