|HUD No. 12-146
September 7, 2012
HUD OBTAINS $20,000 'MATERNITY DISCRIMINATION' SETTLEMENT FOR CALIFORNIA FAMILY
Lender to compensate family for refusing to approve loan application
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today a $20,000 settlement with Land Home Financial Services (LHFS) to resolve allegations the lender violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to approve a Discovery Bay, California couple's mortgage application because the wife was on maternity leave.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Refusing to approve a mortgage loan or provide refinancing because a woman is pregnant or on maternity leave violates the Fair Housing Act's prohibitions against sex and familial status discrimination.
"This settlement is part of a series of HUD enforcement actions across the country to address denials of home loans to women because they are pregnant or on maternity leave," said John Trasviña, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "We will continue to pursue maternity leave discrimination until it is eliminated."
The couple claimed they applied for the mortgage and received a loan pre-approval letter. However, after the wife gave birth, LHFS required her to return to work and earn a full two-week paycheck by the time escrow closed on the loan. Consequently, in order to obtain the loan, she terminated her maternity leave early and returned to work just 19 days after the birth of her child.
Under the terms of the Conciliation Agreement, LHFS will pay the couple $20,000. LHFS will also ensure that its underwriting polices conform to Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) guidelines with regard to treatment of maternity and pregnancy leave income.
HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually.
Persons who believe they have experienced or witnessed unlawful housing discrimination may contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice), or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). More information about fair housing rights is available at HUD's website, www.hud.gov/fairhousing.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDgov, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Mailing List.