Q: A bank has asked for information about the nature of my disability before considering me for a mortgage loan. Do they have the right to do that?
A: The following comes directly from the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Guide to Disability Rights Laws”:
The Fair Housing Act, as amended in 1988, prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status and national origin. It is unlawful to discriminate in any aspect of selling or renting housing or to deny a dwelling to a buyer or renter because of the disability of that individual, and individual associated with a buyer or renter or an individual who intends to live in the residence. Other covered activities include, for example, financing, zoning properties, new construction design and advertising.
With regards to your disability, the lender cannot use any information you provide as a basis for denying credit. If you think this is the case or is likely to be the case, or have concerns about what information the lender is entitled to know, you should inquire or file a complaint online with HUD or file a complaint online or with the Federal Trade Commission.
A 25-year expert observer of the mortgage and consumer debt markets, Keith Gumbinger has been cited in thousands of articles covering a wide range of consumer finance and economic topics in outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Bottom Line newsletters. He has been a featured guest on national broadcasts for CNN, CNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC television networks and has been heard on NPR and other national and local radio programs. Keith is the primary researcher and writer for HSH.com's MarketTrends newsletter and has authored or co-authored a number of consumer guides on mortgages, home equity, refinancing and more.