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The Fair Housing Act

May 27, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Path to mortage
How does it relate to you?

No matter your race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability or family status, you deserve equal opportunities to obtain quality housing. The Fair Housing Act reinforces your rights by counteracting discrimination within any level of the home buying process. This includes renting, getting a mortgage and obtaining insurance.

Most think that the Fair Housing Act applies to renting only, but actually it is very important within the process of applying for a mortgage loan. Any company or entity that is involved with housing is under this act. This includes lenders, real estate companies and insurance agencies. They are under this act if found to be engaging in housing discrimination.

If a company or entity is found to be involved in discriminatory practices, the Fair Housing Act states that a lawsuit can be filed by the Department of Justice. The act also outlines how individual complaints should be addressed. If you suspect that you were the victim of discrimination in the area of housing, mortgage or insurance, you can place a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If your complaint is justified, HUD will transfer it to the Department of Justice. Then the Department of Justice has the full right to bring about a suit to rectify the injustice.

Even though the Fair Housing Act has been around for over 30 years, racial discrimination is still a problematic issue. A lot of the cases that are presented before the Justice Department are concerning race discrimination. So please, be aware of the signs. No criminal seller, lender or insurance agency will outright tell you that you do not qualify for their services because of your color. But you can tell that something is wrong when there are lies about the availability of housing within a neighborhood, or if clients are told to go to other places to find housing because of their ethnic background. If you see the signs of injustice you have the right to file a complaint.

You have to be aware that even mortgage lenders have cases against them due to allegations of racial discrimination. Municipalities and other local government agencies have also had cases against them due to racial injustice. Be aware of your rights and report accordingly when they are infringed.

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