Here’s a loaded question for condominium association boards and the real estate professionals who list and sell condominium units across the country: Is having access to an FHA loan a civil right?
Sounds ridiculous, I agree.
But here’s a slightly different version that has homeowner association legal experts more than a little concerned: Does that same consumer have the right to expect that a condo association’s board has at least given formal consideration to seeking certification from FHA in order to qualify prospective buyers for mortgage financing of individual units?
Could a buyer file a complaint on civil rights grounds against the association for not examining the pros and cons of accepting buyers who want to use low down payment FHA mortgages? After all, FHA loans play a unique role in helping minority consumers attain their goal of homeownership.
In 2012, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 51 percent of African-American purchasers used FHA financing to buy a home, as did 50 percent of Hispanics. Take away that resource and you essentially cut off a large proportion of minorities from the ability to buy into your neighborhood — or your condo project.
More to the practical legal point: When condo boards do not consider seeking certification for FHA financing, do they open themselves up to civil rights claims, not just by racial or ethnic minorities but by other protected classes of citizens under the Fair Housing Act?
Senior Director, Coldwell Banker New Homes Division
With over 200 condominium, townhome and loft projects successfully marketed
“Fewer properties for sale with such remarkably low interest rates make it a great time to sell but a more difficult time to buy”