Limited English Proficiency (LEP) refers to a person’s limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits housing providers from using LEP selectively based on a protected class or as a pretext for discrimination because of a protected class. The Act also prohibits housing providers from using LEP in a way that causes an unjustified discriminatory effect. Improper handling of transactions with LEP customers can lead to FHA violations on mortgage loans, Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) violations on any type of loan and to Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP) concerns on any type of account. HUD released guidance on September 15, 2016 entitled, “Fair Housing Protections for Persons with Limited English Proficiency,” to advise housing providers of these prohibitions.
The Limited English Proficiency Assistance Tracking Form documents compliance with internal procedures for LEP persons. The form includes fields to document consumer information, available LEP assistance options, and second line review to ensure compliance with the institution’s operating and control procedures.