Equal Housing Opportunity
Guide to VA Loans
Discrimination in the sale of housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin is prohibited by Federal laws. In November 1962, Executive Order 11063 banned discrimination in all federally assisted housing. The "Fair Housing Law," Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, followed by amending legislation, required positive action be taken by Federal agencies to prevent discrimination in all housing. Further, title VIII protects you from the following acts when they are based on discrimination on account of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin:
- Refusal to deal,
- Discrimination in terms of sale,
- Discriminatory advertising,
- False representations that a dwelling is not available,
- Discrimination in financing, and
- Discrimination in real estate services.
- These laws provide every person an equal opportunity to choose suitable housing.
The Department of Veterans Affairs affirmatively administers the VA housing program by assuring that all veterans are given an equal opportunity to buy homes with VA assistance. All VA program participants-builders, brokers and lenders offering housing for sale with VA financing-must comply with Executive Order 11063 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended.
Builders must sell newly constructed homes with VA financing to eligible veterans without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the veteran.
Brokers participating in the VA home loan program must not discriminate against a person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin by refusing to show or sell a property; by discriminating in the terms of the sale; or by representing that property as not available for inspection.
Lenders participating in the VA loan program are required by the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, to act on applications for VA home loans without regard to the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the veteran. In addition, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits a lender from discriminating against an applicant on the basis of the foregoing, or on the basis of age or marital status; because an applicant's income derives from any public assistance program; or because the applicant has exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Lenders are also prohibited from discouraging applications on these grounds. To ensure that each applicant is fully aware of his or her rights under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a lender must provide each applicant with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act Notice and a written statement of the reasons when credit is denied.
Therefore, if you are seeking to use your entitlement to buy a home, you may be assured that VA will protect your civil rights and equal housing opportunity.
The following actions, when based on discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, are recognized violations of the Federal fair housing law:
- Refusal to negotiate to sell property.
- Discrimination in terms or conditions of sale of real property.
- Advertising indicating any racial, religious, ethnic or gender preference.
- False representations that real property is not available for inspection or ale.
- Blockbusting or inducing owners to sell real property by representations regarding entry into the neighborhood of persons of a particular race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin for profit.
- Discrimination in financing, terms or conditions of a loan, or denying a loan.
If you experience or suspect discrimination by a builder, broker, or lender, the local VA office will investigate. To start a VA investigation, submit a written complaint directly to the local VA office. Your complaint must describe the discriminatory action, including the date it occurred, names, addresses and telephone numbers of all parties involved in the action, and the address of the property involved. VA has a form for this purpose (VA Form 26-8827, Housing Discrimination Complaint) which you may request from your local VA office.
You should note that in many localities fair housing associations have been organized to assist you in locating and purchasing a house of your choosing. There may be such an organization in your area.
When the discrimination concerns HUD/FHA (Department of Housing and Urban Development/Federal Housing Administration) home loans and other housing, complaint letters should be sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Washington, D.C. 20410.
If you are unable to find new homes available for sale with VA financing in your area or if you are unable to determine whether particular homes being built are available for sale with VA financing, we suggest you contact the local VA regional office. In addition, in many areas VA has repossessed homes which it will sell to qualified buyers. Inquiry as to the availability of any VA repossessed homes for sale in the area in which you are interested may be made by contacting local real estate brokers.
Another area to be explored is the existence of State benefits. Many States offer housing programs which are independent from federal programs. The programs and benefits, as well as the qualifying criteria, may differ from one State to the next. Information on State programs may be obtained from State officials or from the local VA regional office.