An applicant from Watsonville, Calif., said he was denied the opportunity to prequalify to buy a home in Hollister, Calif., because he was Hispanic, according to HUD. The companies involved were American Financial Network of Brea, Calif.; Benchmark Communities of Fresno, Calif.; Brigantino Enterprise of Hollister; and an employee of Benchmark Communities.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in rental, sales or home lending transactions based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, sex, familial status or disability.
“Where a person comes from should not impact their ability to purchase a home,” said Bryan Greene, HUD’s general deputy assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today’s action reflects our nation’s promise of fair housing and equal access to credit for every qualified individual, regardless of their national origin.”
The complainant will receive $5,000 from American Financial Network in reparation, and the company will annually train all of its employees and new hires on fair housing; Benchmark Communities will also annually train its employees who interact with homebuyers/potential homebuyers on fair housing.
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Just two weeks after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) kicked off “National Fair Housing Month,” the department announced it has reached a settlement with a group of California lenders alleged to have discriminated against an applicant due to his ethnicity.