We occasionally devote space to these issues because even in situations where the violations involve rental housing or other non-FHA loan transactions, they can affect borrowers seeking to apply for FHA loans. Some borrowers need rental housing to use in the planning stages of a mortgage before they can purchase a home, others may find themselves forced to house hunt due to job relocations, etc. Fair Housing laws protect Americans at all stages of the process of finding a home regardless of renting or buying.
This most recent announcement of Fair Housing action from HUD states, “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced agreements with two insurance companies in Ohio and Florida settling allegations the companies violated the Fair Housing Act by denying insurance coverage to properties that contain ‘subsidized housing’ and ‘low-income housing.'”
It is a violation of federal Fair Housing laws for providers of housing-related services or products, including insurance providers, “to discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status”.
That’s according to the press release found on the HUD official site, which adds, “The agreements stemmed from a Secretary-Initiated complaint HUD filed after receiving reports the insurance companies policies and practices had a discriminatory effect because of race and national origin.”
According to the HUD official site, the agency’s complaint included allegations, “that the companies refused to provide umbrella coverage, which provides additional liability coverage when an insureds other primary policy limits have been reached, to properties containing subsidized or low-income housing”.
Under the agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, McGowan and Company are required to remove the words subsidized and low-income from their lists of prohibited properties, and, “spend $100,000 to affirmatively market its services and products to the affordable and low-income housing markets and provide fair housing training for management and staff that review and/or approve applications for insurance.”
The other company named in the announcement, Mack & Waltz, agree to spend $10,000 “to affirmatively promote its services in affordable and low-income housing markets, and provide fair housing training for its management and staff” according to the press release.
If you believe you have experienced discrimination, file a complaint with the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). You can also file complaints online at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.