FHA Mortgages and Home Owner's Associations
In the press release HUDNo.12-145, FHA/HUD stated HUD was, "charging a Gibsonton, FL, homeowners association and its Tampa-based former management company with violating the Fair Housing Act by subjecting a family to different rental terms and conditions because they have six children."
How does HUD claim federal laws were violated? "...Townhomes of Kings Lake Homeowners Association (HOA), Inc., and Vanguard Management Group, Inc., violated the Fair Housing Act by telling the family that they had too many people living in their rental townhouse and threatening to evict them if they didn't reduce the number of occupants based on an occupancy policy that permitted only six people to live in a four-bedroom home."
Under the rules as stated in the Fair Housing Act, it is a violation of federal law to "deny housing or impose different rental terms and conditions based on disability, race, national origin, color, religion, sex, or familial status. Overly restrictive occupancy policies may unlawfully discriminate against families with children by preventing them from living in a home."
FHA loan applicants who experience discriminatory policies in housing whether it be in a homeowner's association agreement, a loan agreement, or even discrimination at the hands of the seller should not stay quiet about their experiences-reporting discrimination when it occurs is the best defense against such illegal practices.
"Homeowners associations and management companies have an obligation to ensure that their occupancy standards do not violate the Fair Housing Act," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD is committed to taking action against anyone who unlawfully denies housing to families because of the number of children in the family."
Such discrimination, when it occurs, is illegal, but why are cases like these important to FHA borrowers and those who already own homes purchased with FHA mortgage loans?
You may find yourself interested in buying a home located in a neighborhood governed by homeowner association bylaws and/or covenants. If a home buyer or owner becomes entangled in a conflict with the homeowner's association over a discriminatory policy as this case suggests, you should know your rights and responsibilities. You should also contact the FHA directly to report the discrimination. You can call the FHA at (800) 669-9777 (voice), or (800) 927-9275 (TTY) to file a complaint.
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