Do you know what your rights are under the Fair Housing Act? If not, you may want to brush up on these federal guidelines that prohibit discrimination when you are shopping for a mortgage loan or a home to buy. It also protects renters. Here are some of the highlights.
Shopping for a Mortgage
Mortgage lenders may not refuse to provide information about home loans or base mortgage quotes on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. It is illegal for mortgage lenders to change the rates and terms of a home loan because a person belongs to a certain demographic. Advertisements that show preferences or limitations based on those qualities are illegal.
Got Kids? Know Your Rights
Families with children under 18 cannot be kept out of a building or community, unless it is designated as housing for senior citizens. The guideline applies to parents, legal guardians, pregnant women, and those trying to get custody of children under 18.
File a Complaint
So what should you do if you believe that you have been discriminated against when trying to refinance or buy a home? Contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by phone or letter to file a complaint. You must include:
- Your name and address
- Name and address of person who discriminated against you
- Address of housing you attempted to get
- A description of what happened
- The date you were discriminated against
Once the complaint is investigated HUD determines whether you have been a victim of discrimination when trying to get a mortgage refinance or buy a home. Depending upon the outcome of the investigation, the person or company who discriminated could be ordered to pay you for damages (including pain and suffering), make the housing available to you, pay a civil penalty, or pay attorney's fees.