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    Avoid Becoming a Victim of Predatory Lending

    We believe strongly that everyone, and we mean everyone, should have access to affordable and safe housing. Thankfully we’re not the only ones and an extensive set of federal and local Fair Housing Laws exist to protect our housing rights. According to the Federal Law to prevent housing discrimination, it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. In addition, DC protects these classes plus marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, political affiliation, matriculation, source of income, place of residence or business, gender identity or expression and victim of domestic violence. We’re very lucky to have so many of our community members protected from discrimination in housing related matters. The laws relate not only to real estate agents and brokers, but to appraisers, inspectors and yes – lenders.

    So we thought we’d also pass along some tips from DC’s Office on Human Rights about how to recognize “warning signs” of a predatory lender.  Knowing these before you meet with a lender will help you stay safe and avoid becoming a victim.

    1. Do not sign a document if you are told to falsify information for the purpose of obtaining a loan.
    2. The lender suggests that you should apply for a loan that is more than you need or more than you can afford.
    3. The lender asks you to sign incomplete or blank forms.
    4. The lender tells you that you can’t have copies of documents that you signed.
    5. Beware of “Bait and Switch” tactics-where a lender initially offers one set of terms, but then pressures the borrower into signing a contract with more expensive terms and hidden fees.
    6. Beware of mail and television ads that claim “No job? No credit? No problem! You can still qualify for a loan based on your home equity.” Remember, if it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
    7. Predatory lenders strip equity from homes and lend without considering the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, sometimes resulting in foreclosures.
    8. Predatory lenders may mail you an offer to consolidate your bills.


    Click here for more information about predatory lending and who to contact if you think you’ve been a victim.

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