RESPA SECTION 9: HUD SEEKS COMMENTS ON REAL ESTATE SETTLEMENT PROCEDURES ACT’S “REQUIRED USE” PROHIBITION

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development is seeking public comments relating to Section 9: “Required Use” under RESPA. “The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA): Strengthening and Clarifying RESPA’s “Required Use” Prohibition Advance Notice of Proposed Rule making” was made public on June, 3, 2010.

HUD appears to be concentrating on home builder owned title and mortgage companies where homebuilders offered construction upgrades or discounts to consumers if the home buyers used their ancillary title or mortgage company. The controversy centered around a few homebuilders who offered consumers free upgrades (i.e. bonus rooms, automobiles, or other extravincentives) if the consumer used the home builders affiliated mortgage or title company. The controversy escalated when some of these free upgrades exceeded tens of thousands of dollars. The cost to use another mortgage or title company did not make sense because the consumer would lose out on the extravagant free upgrade. Some consumers felt like they had to use the home builders affiliated business because the incentive was so excessive they had no choice but to use the homebuilders mortgage company.

The affiliated business model is encouraged by HUD when the consumer saves money but some some felt like the practice that a few homebuilders engaged in did not really save the consumers money on the mortgage side because they claim the interest rates were higher.

HUD appears to be looking at how to clarify the incentive language under “Required Use” so that the incentive offered actually benefits the consumer yet still allows the consumer to shop around.

The comment period ends on September 1, 2010.
All interested parties wishing to submit a comment should direct their comments to:
Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW Room 10276, Washington, D.C. 20410-0500