The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Tuesday that it reached a settlement with a Michigan-based lender over discriminating against a borrower with disabilities.
According to HUD, Mortgage One, based in Sterling Heights, allegedly delayed a man’s loan 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.
According to HUD, 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, a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
“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.”
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Mortgage One will provide monetary relief to the man.
Mortgage One will also 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, HUD said.