The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an agreement in a fair housing case involving a group of mortgage lenders operating in California. According to a press release on HUD.gov, ” The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced an agreement with a group of California mortgage lenders to resolve allegations they discriminated against a mortgage applicant based on his national origin.”
The press release states that allegations of Fair Housing Act violations were brought against “American Financial Network of Brea, California; Benchmark Communities of Fresno; Brigantino Enterprise of Hollister; and an employee of Benchmark Communities failed to prequalify him to purchase a home in Hollister because he is Hispanic”.
Federal Fair Housing laws prohibit “discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a persons national origin, race, color, religion, sex, familial status or disability”. The complaint against the companies named in the press release was brought when the applicant experienced what he believed to be discriminatory behavior toward him.
Where a person comes from should not impact their ability to purchase a home, said Bryan Greene, HUDs General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the press release. Greene adds, Todays action reflects our nations promise of fair housing and equal access to credit for every qualified individual, regardless of their national origin.
According to the HUD official site, “…the applicant filed a fair housing complaint alleging that he was unfairly denied an opportunity to prequalify for a mortgage loan, precluding him from purchasing a home because he is Hispanic.”
American Financial Network is required under terms of the agreement with HUD to pay the victim $5,000. Additionally, Benchmark Communities must provide “annual fair housing training for its employees who interact with prospective homebuyers”. The other company named in the complaint, American Financial Network, must provide “annual fair housing training to current and new employees as they are hired”.
Borrowers who feel their Fair Housing Act rights have been violated should report their concerns as soon as possible to the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity by phone at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Complaints may also be filed online at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.