The owner of the Flanner house, Carlette Duffy, is fighting on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in a traditionally black neighborhood for a fair house valuation.
Discrimination based on race, class, skin color, disability, religion, national origin, and marital status at any step of the mortgage credit process is illegal under federal fair housing law.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says discrimination can take any form – from refusing to provide information about loans, to refusing to grant a loan, to imposing other conditions, to discrimination in the valuation of real estate.
If you find or suspect that you are being discriminated against, you can take action.
Here are a few things you can do.
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Start with the lender
If you think your assessment is wrong because of bias or discrimination, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you take action.
Complain to the lender. Through their website, the federal agency said that sometimes you can persuade the lender to reconsider your application.
It’s also a good idea to check with your attorney general to see if any state laws have been violated, advises the FTC. Violations are to be reported to the responsible state authority.
Consider taking legal action in a federal district court, says the FTC. If you win, you can claim your actual damages and receive punitive damages if the court finds the lender’s conduct willful. You can also reimburse legal fees and court costs.
You can file violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov or 855-411-2372.
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Ask for help
The Central Indiana Fair Housing Center encourages anyone suspected of being a victim of discrimination in the Indianapolis appraisal process to contact their office at 317-644-0673 or [email protected].
The office is looking for more people with stories like Carlette Duffy’s. You can read more about them here.
File a complaint with the state
Mortgage loan applicants have rights under state law.
Individuals can also file a consumer complaint with the Homeowner Protection Unit of the Indiana Attorney General if they suspect violations of state law.
Contact the device toll-free at 1-800-382-5516 or email [email protected].
More information is available online.
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File a complaint with HUD
According to the HUD, identifying the signs of discrimination in lending is the first step in filing a complaint. The agency will investigate the complaint free of charge. Complaints can be submitted online in English or Spanish.
Complaint forms in other languages can be downloaded from the HUD website and emailed to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Equal Opportunity Office.
Indiana falls under Region V, along with Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
The office is located in the federal building of Ralph H. Metcalfe, 77 West Jackson Blvd., Room 2101, Chicago, Illinois 60604-3507. The office can be reached by phone at (312) 913-8453 or (800) 765-9372.
Civil rights complaints under UNDER can be sent by email to [email protected].
Contact IndyStar reporter Alexandria Burris at [email protected] or call 317-617-2690. Follow her on Twitter: @allyburris.
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