Discrimination in mortgage lending is illegal under the Fair Housing Act.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against someone because of race, color, religion, sex (including gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual harassment), familial status, national origin or disability at any stage of the mortgage process, including:
- Approvals and denials
- Terms, e.g. interest rates, points, fees and other costs
- Mortgage broker services
- Property appraisals
- Home loan modification assistance
- Homeowners insurance
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in loans that are secured by residential real estate or that are for the purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining a dwelling. This includes mortgages, refinancing, home equity loans and home improvement loans.
Examples of lending discrimination include:
- Denying a mortgage or charging a higher interest rate because the property is located in a majority-minority neighborhood
- Providing a different customer service experience to mortgage applicants depending on their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status, national origin or disability
- Refusing to consider a mortgage applicant’s disability-related income, such as SSI or SSDI
- Steering a borrower to a loan with less favorable terms because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual harassment), familial status, national origin or disability
- Targeting a minority community for fraudulent home loan modification assistance
- Refusing to provide mortgages to a person on parental leave
If you believe you have experienced mortgage lending discrimination, you can file a complaint with HUD.