WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced a Conciliation Agreement with Mortgage One, Inc., of Sterling Heights, Michigan, resolving allegations of lending discrimination againstan applicant with disabilities. HUD claimed Mortgage One and loan officer Nancy Doody required the mortgage applicant to provide intrusive and unnecessary documentation regarding his disabilities before approving his FHA-insured mortgage. Read the agreement.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the terms and conditions of a loan to an individual based on a disability, including imposing different application or qualification criteria.
“A person’s qualifications to purchase a home should be the only criteria used to evaluate his or her loan application, not whether they are living with a disability,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This agreement reaffirms HUD’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that mortgage lenders treat all applicants fairly.”
The case came to HUD’s attention when an applicant for a loan with Mortgage One filed a complaint alleging that the lender delayed his application because of his disabilities. Specifically, the man alleged that before closing on the loan, Mortgage One requested that he provide verification from his doctor that his disability is permanent and/or a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that he would remain on disability for at least three years.
Under the Conciliation Agreement HUD reached with Mortgage One, the lender will provide monetary relief to the man and notify its loan officers, underwriters, and processors that they may not discriminate against FHA borrowers who derive income from a public assistance program such as Social Security Disability Insurance by seeking personal medical information.
In addition, Doody, the loan processor who handled the man’s application, will attend a Fair Housing Act course regarding the obligations of lenders and their loan officers to comply with federal fair housing laws.
Any person who believes he or she has experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing, or by downloading HUD’s free housing discrimination mobile application, whichcan be accessed through Apple and Android devices.