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FHA Guidelines: Agency Doesn’t Tolerate Housing Discrimination

by Karen Lawson
July 6th, 2010

The U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1968 and its amendments provide protection against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability and familial status, but in an announcement on July 2 HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John Trasvina noted “Our job to prevent and control housing discrimination is not complete until we address 21st Century issues.” HUD, the agency overseeing FHA, announced plans to expand its definition of “family” to include LGBT individuals and couples. HUD is also reaffirmed its guidelines to mortgage lenders requiring that creditworthiness, and not personal characteristics, must be be considered when approving mortgage loans under FHA programs.

Extending enforcement of the Fair Housing Act’s protections to the LGBT community emphasizes HUD and FHA policies against housing discrimination. Although many are aware that it’s illegal to discriminate when renting or selling homes, pursuing a discrimination complaint can be a challenging prospect.

FHA provides fair housing information for mortgage lenders and borrowers

Buying a home and finding a mortgage loan is complex enough without facing housing discrimination. HUD and FHA investigate alleged housing discrimination cases through the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO). Complaints may be resolved before a HUD appointed administrative law judge, or complainants and/or defendants can have their cases heard in federal court. Verdicts rendered using either option are eligible for review by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Fair Housing Claim Forms are available on the FHA website along with instructions and details related to fair housing laws and filing claims.

Housing discrimination: how it’s defined

The Fair Housing Act covers rentals and sales of residential property or units. Housing discrimination occurs when the following actions occur based on an individual criteria identified in the Fair Housing Act:

  • Refusing to rent or sell housing
  • Making housing unavailable
  • Refusing to negotiate on rental or purchase terms
  • Establishing different prices, rental amounts, sale or rental terms
  • Offering separate housing
  • Falsely that housing is unavailable for viewing, renting, or purchase
  • Denying access to multiple listing services or other organizations and services related to the sale or rental of housing

Fair Housing Act provides protections, but…

Anyone filing a housing discrimination claim is legally protected from threats, coercion, intimidation or interference arising from making a housing discrimination claim; landlords and others may not seek retribution based on your filing a fair housing claim. If you suspect you’ve been victimized by housing discrimination, remember that your safety comes first. Engaging in aggressive or threatening behavior is not worth risking your well being.

FHA lenders: avoid mortgage loan discrimination

FHA lenders do business according to HUD and FHA lending guidelines, which prohibit discriminatory lending. If you’re buying your first home, contact HUD approved housing counselors to learn more about mortgage lending and what to expect as you shop for mortgage loans and your next home.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 3:42 pm and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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