Fighting LGBTQ+ Housing Discrimination
The same sex couples not only have enormous buying power in today’s Real Estate market, the LGBTQ+ community as a whole is contributing to the housing boom, which is predicted by sources such as Zillow to continue in 2022.
In February of 2021, the U.S. banned housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The government made it clear that The Fair Housing Act, which dates back to 1968, would be used to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This includes plans for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to pursue and investigate complaints from homebuyers and others who believe they have been discriminated against on those grounds.
Even so, fear of discrimination is still common among LGBTQ+ buyers.
Recognizing LGBTQ+ Discrimination
It can be difficult to prove discrimination, and while some discrimination is both conscious and deliberate, other actions are the result of unconscious bias. In either case, it is up to everyone with an interest in fair and equitable treatment to confront prejudice, including inequity in the housing market.
A few of the signs of housing discrimination include:
- A heterosexual couple achieving mortgage approval in an environment where an LGBTQ+ couple with similar background and circumstance is denied.
- A mortgage lender who is unwilling to provide current rates or seems to be offering higher than current rates.
- Real estate agents, title services, and lenders who simply provide worse service to LGBTQ+ couples than to heterosexual couples.
- Agents or sellers who indicate that a home has gone off the market when you show interest.
- Any Real Estate or Mortgage professional who is “too busy” to take your business.
Regardless of federal law or HUD investigations, 28 states still do not have any laws that expressly protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in housing (or employment, education, credit, and public accommodations).
So, the concern is real, but it should not deter LGBTQ+ couples from entering the Real Estate market and finding the house of their dreams. For example, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has forbidden its members from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity since 2013.
Countering LGBTQ+ Discrimination
The first place to start in countering LGBTQ discrimination is by simply getting enough quotes to know you are getting the best deal. While there may be agents and lenders whose practices are still influenced by prejudice, many are not.
Today, it’s easy to get mortgage quotes online too, and there is less opportunity for discrimination when gathering quotes over the web. How many quotes is enough? 4-6 quotes are sufficient to show you the range of quotes you’re likely to be offered.
When you do run into obvious discrimination, there are a variety of options for taking action.
- Speak with your attorney
- Contact HUD by emailing to [email protected]
- File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- Contact the Lambda Legal Help Desk
- Get local help from the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)
Of course, for the best experience, you can start by working with an LGBTQ+ friendly Real Estate professional. That’s what the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance is all about. The Alliance’s website connects you with housing and real estate professionals, nationwide, from Real Estate Agents and Lenders to HUD Consultants and Tax Advisors.
First Time Homebuyer Guide
At the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, we’ve prepared a 40+ page guide, the “First-Time Homebuyer Guide.”
Our guide walks you through the steps, covering every aspect of the home buying process, addressing issues that are unique to our community. We hope you’ll choose to work with one of our members to buy your new home.
The First Time Homebuyer Guide includes a range of information, all the way from the research phase and finding a loan to the “Impact of Home Ownership on Your Long-Term Financial Security.”
From offer to closing, you’ll appreciate the resources we’ve compiled in our First-Time Homebuyer Guide.
Find the Help You Need
The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, a 501(c)6 organization, was launched in June 2020 by leading members of the real estate industry. The mission of the Alliance is to Advocate, Elevate, and Celebrate. The Alliance advocates for fair housing for all and promotes LGBTQ+ homeownership.