Lenders would be required to make sure prospective borrowers have the ability to repay their mortgages before giving them a loan, under a proposal released by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, DC.
The rule, which is required by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, is intended to tighten lending standards and combat home lending abuses that contributed to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
The rule would establish minimum underwriting standards for most mortgages and lenders could be sued by the borrower if they do not take the proper steps to check a borrowers ability to repay the loan.
The law does provide protections from this type of liability if a loan meets the specific standards that are part of a "qualified mortgage."
In its proposal, the Fed is seeking comment on two possible ways of defining a qualified mortgage.
Under the first scenario the loan could not include interest-only payments, a balloon payment and regular payments could not result in the principle of the loan increasing.