(CNN) The government is creating new rules for mortgage loan lending.
Made public today, the qualified mortgage system is aimed at protecting consumers from loans they can't afford.
It's also designed to shield lenders from lawsuits.
The new government rules are meant to prevent the kind of mortgage mess that fueled the recent recession.
In order to receive a qualified mortgage, borrowers must meet several criteria -- including having enough income and assets to repay the loan, a minimum credit score, and the ability to pay all home-related expenses like property taxes.
The new rules kick in on January 21, but lenders have 12 months to implement the rules.