A mortgage approval should only be based on your credit history, income and other legal matters. When a lender is screening your profile they should not be looking at things such as race, gender, or age. There are laws to protect buyers but it helps knowing your rights.

Two important acts that you should know of are; the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). ECOA protects you by clearly stating that only relevant factors are taken into account when considering the status of your mortgage application. This means that a lender cannot discriminate you based on sexual orientation, marital status, age, gender, religion, or race. You may then wonder why there is a section which asks for gender, race, and ethnicity. The following questions are asked as per the HMDA which allows the government to collect this information so that they can see if a lender is approving mortgages only for a specific demographic group. In terms of your marital status, the lender can ask if you are married but cannot discriminate against you based on your marital status. However, if you are married, both incomes will be taken into consideration when determining the rate of your mortgage. The lender can also ask if you are separated but they cannot ask if you are widowed or divorced. As for questions relating to children, it is optional to state whether you also receive alimony or child support as part of your income. If you feel that it will help with your mortgage approval then maybe it is better to mention it. Lastly, a lender cannot discriminate you based on your age. If you are over the age of 62, a lender can only take things into consideration which benefit your position but they cannot penalize you for the negative aspects that come along with age. For example a lender cannot charge you with a higher interest rate just because you are older. However, if you are thinking about retiring they will take into account your retirement income when considering your mortgage application. Moreover, if you are on a special program such as steady public assistance, the lender will take this source of cash inflow as income.

Knowing your rights is the first step to protecting your interests. If you feel that you are being discriminated against, bring the issue up with the lender. However, if the lender does not seem to care you can take further action by contacting the Federal Trade Commission or the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, or even sue the lender in a federal district court.