7 Best Housing Resources for Same Sex Couples, LGBTQ

Sonia Figueroa
Sonia Figueroa
Published on December 3, 2018

The topic of same sex couple is a touchy one and honestly it really shouldn’t be. Why is this? I am of the opinion do what makes you happy in this life because we only have one life to live.

We all have the right to housing no matter what color, race, or gender you might be. This is why we have fair housing laws in place such as race, color, religion, sex, handicap, and national origin.  In America, everyone has a right to make their dream of homeownership come true.

In 2016 HUD Secretary Julian Castro addressed NAGLREP The National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals to make sure discrimination didn’t happen when applying for a mortgage.

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage has sweeping effects on laws across the country, including those related to real estate ownership. Married same-sex couples now have more options available to them when they buy and own a home.

Here’s how it affects property ownership.

What Gay Couples Faced Prior

In many states where gay marriage was not recognized, married same-sex couples had a choice of two types of ownership:

  • Joint rights of tenancy with survivorship.
  • Tenancy in common.

Joint rights of tenancy with survivorship ensures that when one co-owner passes, the survivor owns all the property, no matter what the underlying relationship, says Mike Gelfand, senior partner at Gelfand & Arpe, PA in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In tenancy in common arrangements, each individual owns an undivided 50% of the property, and when one person dies, her stake in the property goes to her heirs, not the other owner. “We see this many times in second marriages,” Gelfand says.

Now, tenancy by the entirety

Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, married same-sex couples have a choice to hold a property as tenancy by the entirety, which was available only to married couples.

Tenancy by the entirety provides greater protection against creditors, among other important ownership benefits, says Elizabeth Schwartz, an attorney with Elizabeth F. Schwartz, PA in Miami Beach.

“When marriage equality passed in Florida back in January, the requests to retitle properties started flowing in,” she says. “I’m glad legally married same-sex couples can avail themselves of this advantageous form of ownership.”

How capital gains are affected

For same-sex couples who can now get married in a state that didn’t allow those unions before the Supreme Court decision, they get another real estate perk after they say “I do” in their home state. When they sell their primary residence, they can enjoy double the capital gains exemption that an individual does.

For example, an individual pays a tax on every dollar of profit over $250,000. But married couples pay taxes on every dollar over $500,000. Since 2013, the IRS has recognized legal same-sex marriages for tax purposes. Now, those unions exist in every state.

How VA Loans are Affected

Before the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, which guarantees mortgages for eligible service members, veterans and Defense Department employees, tried to treat all married couples equally, but a federal law still on the books required the VA to defer to state laws.

That meant a married gay couple didn’t receive equal treatment if they applied for a VA loan in a state that did not recognize their marriage. So, a couple who legally married in California might not have received the full benefit of a VA mortgage in Texas, where same-sex marriages were not recognized.

Similarly, the law didn’t allow the VA to recognize marriages of same-sex couples who were living in a non-equality state, but visited another jurisdiction, say Washington, D.C., and got married there.

Take-their-word-for-it policy

To get around it, the VA adopted a policy of taking the couples’ word for it that they were legally married, so they could apply for a home loan.

Now, the VA no longer has to jump through those rhetorical hoops to give same-sex married couples the same benefits that heterosexual married couples already receive.

7 Resources

Below are some of the resources I have complied of non-for-profit centers that help with transitioning, homelessness and support services.

1.  True Color Fund – Co-founded by Cyndi Lauper, the True Colors Fund works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.

2. El Rescate – El Rescate is very honored to be part of the initiative of ending youth homelessness in the Midwest area by assisting youth in transitioning from surviving the streets to independence and adulthood

3. Project Fierce Chicago – Project Fierce’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing transitional housing and support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults 

4. Center on Halsted – Center on Halsted provides an array of programs and services for LGBTQ community members over the age of 55 through our Senior program 

5. Queer Housing – searching for roommates Queer Housing is a tumblr dedicated to helping queer folk find harmonious housing arrangements. 

6. Chicago House and Social Services –  Chicago House and Social Service agency serves individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV prevention services, legal services and other supportive programs. 

7. Chicagoland LGBTQ Services – The goal of the program is to ease youth into adulthood and towards a path of independent living by providing a safe home and the stability necessary for the youth to focus on pursuing educational and vocational opportunities.

This last resource was established in 2007, NAGLREP is the Number One Forum for LGBT Home Buyers, Sellers, and LGBT & Gay Friendly Real Estate Professionals they also have a Facebook Page

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