González-Colón seeks to ease home buying for Puerto Ricans who moved to mainland after Hurricane María
Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R, NPP) has presented a bill, HR 6209, to prevent discriminatory treatment against a customer whose income originates in Puerto Rico or another of the US territories who seeks to purchase a home in the rest of the US.
“The lack of knowledge about the legal relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States has an effect on the Puerto Ricans who seek to rent or buy a home in the mainland states. People like the thousands of Puerto Rican families who moved to the mainland states after Hurricane María face problems when seeking approval of a mortgage or lease due to unawareness in the stateside mortgage market of the legal and tax status of Puerto Rico,” the resident commissioner explained.
“This measure has not cost to the federal treasury while it provides justice to our fellow citizens who had to move from their home island,” González-Colón pointed out.
Tens of thousands of Puerto Rican families moved to one of the 50 states after the impact of Hurricanes Irma and María, the main destinations being Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, Illinois and North Carolina.
As many of these Puerto Ricans seek to rebuild their lives in these states, they find that when presenting financial documents such as the Puerto Rico Income Tax Return, these are not accepted even at some major financial institutions. This leads to many cases of people getting repeated rejections until they must end up doing business with a provider that charges a significantly higher mortgage interest rate or settling for a less desirable location.
“Potential buyers or tenants face problems when providing the evidence of income from prior years when the income originated in the territory. This bill seeks to prevent this discrimination, which is yet another proof of how the colonial condition of the territory continues to work against us even when we seek other opportunities,” González-Colón stated.
“This is not a problem with these persons’ capacity to pay nor with their credit history; rather, it is about the lack of knowledge among people across the nation who handle these transactions about the legal territorial relation of Puerto Rico within the federal system,” she concluded.