Do I have to consider the credit and debts of a non-purchasing spouse in a community property state?

If the Borrower resides in a community property state or the property being insured is located in a community property state, debts of the non-borrowing spouse must be included in the Borrower’s qualifying ratios, except for obligations specifically excluded by state law.

The Lender must not consider the credit history of a non-borrowing spouse. The non-borrowing spouse’s credit history is not considered a reason to deny a mortgage application.
The lender must
• verify and document the debt of the non-borrowing spouse.
• make a note in the file referencing the specific state law that justifies the exclusion of any debt from consideration.
• obtain a credit report for the non-borrowing spouse in order to determine the debts that must be included in the liabilities. The credit report for the non-borrowing spouse is for the purpose of establishing debt only, and is not submitted to TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard for the purpose of credit evaluation. The credit report for the non-borrowing spouse may be traditional or non-traditional.

For additional information see Handbook 4000.1 II.A.4.b.iv.(F); II.A.5.a.i; II.A.5.a.iv.(E) available at https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips/handbooks/hsgh

All policy information contained in this knowledge base article is based upon the referenced HUD policy document. Any lending or insuring decisions should adhere to the specific information contained in that underlying policy document.


Topic Number: KA-02096