RESPA: HUD OFFICIALLY DELAYS “HUD ENFORCEMENT” OF NEW RESPA REFORM RULE

HUD announced today a delay in “HUD ENFORCEMENT” on the new RESPA Rule which goes into effect on Jan. 1st, 2010 on FHA loans. We need to highlight the fact that only HUD Enforcement of the new RESPA rule has been delayed for 120 days on FHA loans. Civil litigation on the new RESPA Rule goes into effect on Jan. 1st, 2010 and therefore is not delayed.

We applaud HUD for delaying enforcement of the new rule for 4 months it still exposes companies that do not implement the new changes to potential civil litigation issues for not complying with the new rule.

Another RESPA attorney said it best: “Better pin on your badge and strap on your gun looks like HUD will look to the plaintiff’s bar to bring the heat in the first 4 months.”

Below is a copy of the HUD press release:

HUD ANNOUNCES RESTRAINT IN RESPA ENFORCEMENT FOR FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF NEW RULE
Aimed at mortgage professionals making good faith effort to comply with new requirements
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that for the first four months of 2010, the staff of the Mortgagee Review Board (MRB) will exercise restraint in enforcing new regulatory requirements under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), due to take full effect on January 1. The MRB instructed its staff to exercise such restraint in considering an action against FHA-approved lenders who have demonstrated that they are making a good faith effort to comply with RESPA’s new requirements.

In addition, HUD is asking other federal and relevant state enforcement agencies to exercise the same 120-day restraint in enforcement for non-FHA originators and other settlement service providers who demonstrate the good faith effort to implement RESPA’s new rules. In determining whether a mortgagee has made a good faith effort, MRB staff will consider whether the mortgagee has relied on the new RESPA rule and other written guidance issued by the Department, and the extent to which the mortgagee has made sufficient investment and commitment in technology, training, and quality control designed to comply with the new rule.

“We will work with those who are making an honest effort to work with us as we implement these important new consumer protections,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “While we will not delay implementation of RESPA’s new requirements, we are sensitive to the concerns of the industry as it integrates these new rules into their day-to-day business practices.”

On January 1, 2010, HUD will require that lenders and mortgage brokers provide consumers with a standard Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that clearly discloses key loan terms and closing costs. Closing agents will also be required to provide borrowers a new HUD-1 Settlement Statement that clearly compares consumers’ final and estimated costs. The new RESPA rule became effective on January 16, 2009, but provided a one-year transition period for the mortgage industry to incorporate these changes. HUD will continue to work with the mortgage industry during this period, including providing a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on its website.

By improving the disclosures borrowers receive when applying for a mortgage, and by promoting comparison shopping, HUD believes its new RESPA regulation will save consumers an average of nearly $700 in mortgage costs.