VA Equal Housing
Understand Your Equal Housing Rights
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states: "Discrimination in mortgage lending is prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act and HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity actively enforces those provisions of the law.”
According to the Fair Housing Act, it is against the law to participate in the following activities based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, handicap, disability, or familial status:
- Refuse to give information on loans
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan
- Discriminate when appraising property
- Refuse to buy a loan or set different terms or conditions for buying a loan
- Set different terms or conditions for a loan, such as different fees, interest rates, or points
How to File A Complaint
By federal law, discrimination in housing on the basis of national origin, race, color, sex, religion, familial status, or disability is against the law. If you have experienced any of the actions mentioned above while trying to buy or rent a home or apartment, you may be the victim of discrimination and may file a fair housing complaint. If you believe you have experienced discrimination during the lending process in any way, visit the housing discrimination complaint website to learn more about the complaint process.
Seeing the signs of lending discrimination for what they are is a crucial first step in filing a fair housing complaint. Then, know that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will look into your complaint free of charge.
The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
In 1975, Congress passed the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which mandates loan data reporting by lending organizations. The loan data to be reported about applicants and borrowers includes:
- The distribution of loans and applications by location
- Loan approval and denial information
Annually on March 1, lending institutions report data from loans and applications of the previous year.
The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act
Under the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act, creditors are not allowed to discriminate against credit applicants based on their marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, and age (as long as the applicant has the ability to participate in a binding contract); because all or part of the applicant’s income comes from a public assistance program; or because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
Fair Housing Enforcement and its Role in Equal Housing
The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is an agency in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. FHEO establishes policies to ensure that all Americans have equal access to any housing of their choice and administers and enforces federal fair housing laws.
The mission of FHEO is to create housing opportunities that are equal for all persons living in America by creating laws that prevent housing discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, color, national origin, familial status, and disability.
The FHEO is responsible for enforcing several fair housing laws, which prohibit discrimination in publicly assisted and privately-owned housing, including:
The Fair Housing Act
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act) prohibits discrimination in the financing, rental, and sale of dwellings, and in other transactions relating to housing, based on familial status (including children under age 18 residing with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people acquiring custody of children under age 18), color, race, national origin, sex, religion, and handicap (disability).
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI prevents discrimination based on national origin, race, or color in activities and programs receiving financial assistance from the federal government.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any activity or program receiving financial assistance from the federal government.
Section 109 of Title 1 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974
Section 109 bars discrimination on the basis of religion, color, race, color, national origin, or sex in activities and programs receiving financial assistance from US Housing and Urban Development's Community Development and Block Grant Program.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Title II bars discrimination on the basis of disability in activities, programs, and services provided or made available by public entities relating to local public and state housing, housing referrals, or housing assistance, HUD enforces Title II.
The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968
The Architectural Barriers Act mandates that buildings who constructed, designed, leased, or altered with certain funds from the federal government following September 1969 are required by law to allow handicapped persons to access and use their facilities.
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
The Age Discrimination Act bars discrimination based on the age of persons in programs or activities receiving financial assistance from the federal government.
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972
Title IX prevents discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that get financial assistance from the federal government.