Source: NAR Realtor.org Washington Report
Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (MARS)
NAR has made an important step in resolving the confusion caused by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule (MARS) among real estate professionals who provide assistance to struggling homeowners in negotiating short sales with servicers on the sale of the home. This resolution is effectively immediately.
House Appropriations Committee Votes to Block EPA Lead Paint Regulations
On July 13, 2011, the House Appropriations Committee approved the 2012 budget for the Department of Interior and the EPA, sending the bill to the full House for consideration. During the bill’s consideration, the Committee voted to add an NAR-supported amendment by Rep. Rehberg (R-MT), to prohibit the implementation of controversial lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rules until the EPA meets its obligations under the statute and provides the requisite information and equipment for businesses to comply. NAR, along with a broad coalition of regulated industry sectors, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee supporting this Amendment.
In addition, there are a number of other provisions of interest to NAR in this EPA and Interior spending bill. The bill includes provisions to defund EPA’s regulations of carbon dioxide (CO2) from office and apartment buildings; block the expansion of U.S. waters subject to Clean Water Act regulation, decrease funding for more federal land acquisitions and prohibit listings of new species and critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
Steve Brown, EVP of Crye-Leike Real Estate Services testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 on behalf of NAR. The testimony focused on fixing the HUD guidance on the sale of home warranty contracts by real estate professionals, the unfair treatment of affiliates in the predatory lending provisions of Dodd-Frank and keeping the FHA program vibrant and available for most homebuyers. Chairwoman Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO) introduced legislation to fix the home warranty issue. Legislation to fix the 3% cap issue is also expected shortly. NAR is also working to ensure that FHA loan limits do not decrease this fall as well to ensure that FHA downpayments remain at 3.5% and that other key elements of the FHA program are not made more restrictive.