Companies must offer affordable home choice policies, including options like a mortgage-free homeownership, to customers who are unhappy about their existing policies, according to a federal judge.
The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the National Association of Home Builders against the government, the National Home Builder Association, and a home builder called Home Choice, which has been accused of failing to provide affordable home plans.
The suit is one of several in recent months that have accused the industry of failing consumers by refusing to sell their homes to people with pre-existing health problems.
In April, the Federal Trade Commission accused Home Choice of not selling to people who were at high risk of health problems, and last month the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation said it was not selling homes to those with pre “high risk” health conditions.
A federal judge in Georgia ruled in February that Home Choice was not violating the law by refusing customers who had pre-established health problems a mortgage.
“The plaintiffs argue that the federal government and the home builder have no obligation to offer consumers with preexisting health conditions a home loan, or to make them fully aware of the risks associated with purchasing a home with such policies,” Judge Brian B. Hinkle wrote in the ruling.
“I do not agree.
The Home Choice mortgage-only policy is a significant intrusion on a consumer’s right to privacy,” Hinkle said.”
A home loan that does not require an upfront payment, with a pre-authorized payment date and interest rate based on the risk of a preexisting condition, constitutes a substantially unreasonable invasion of a consumer ‘s fundamental right to make a choice between the various mortgage options available to her,” Hodge wrote.
Home Choice, founded in 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, said in a statement that it “regrets” the ruling and plans to appeal.