2015 Legislative & Regulatory Year in Review
During the 114th Congress, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) legislative and regulatory agenda continued to focus on creating a fundamentally sound and robust U.S. real estate market while protecting the business interests of members, as well as consumers. NAR achieved several accomplishments and set the foundation for many important issues moving forward.
- FHA Implements New Condo Policies – New rules are in line with those requested by NAR and include changes to the lengthy and complex recertification process, burdensome owner-occupancy requirements, and limits on the types of property insurance considered acceptable.
- G-Fees Removed as Financing Mechanism from Transportation Bill – After hearing from more than 197,000 Realtors, Congress removed the use of guarantee fees as a financing mechanism from the Transportation Bill.
- Waters of the U.S. Rule Implementation Halted – NAR opposed this rule, which expanded the EPA’s authority of over more bodies of water an increased its regulation of land uses on private property, through congressional testimony, letters and meetings. These actions resulted in the House of Representatives passing H.R. 1732, requiring the rule be withdrawn, and a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals halted implementation nationwide of the rule.
- TRIA Becomes Law – NAR strongly advocated for this necessary financing component’s reauthorization since 2014.
- FHA MIP Reductions Finalized – REALTORS called for lower fees on FHA loans since early 2014. In January 2015, President Obama announced the FHA would reduce the annual MIP by 50 basis points.
- TRID Rule Implementation Delayed; Written Guidance Issued – Implementation of the new TRID rule was postponed from August to October, and NAR worked with the CFPB to allow brokers & agents to co-brand the “Your Home Loan Toolkit.” They also clarified that affiliate title companies and mortgage lenders can co-brand, produce, and deliver the toolkit to agents without violating RESPA.
- Protection of Homeownership & Real Estate Investment Incentives – Several provisions were included in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed into law in late December.
- New Net Neutrality Rules Preserve Equal Access to the Internet – In February 2015, the FCC approved new rules giving the Commission strong legal authority to regulate broadband providers more heavily and restrict their power to control download speeds on the web.
- Tenant Star Bill Becomes Law – Legislation created a voluntary, market-driven approach to encouraging landlords and tenants to adopt energy efficient practices in leased spaces.
- FHFA Announces New Non-Performing Loan Requirements – Previous requirements for sales of NPLs by Freddie Mac & Fannie Me raised concerns that investors had an advantage over potential owner occupants.
- Creating Common Sense Patent Litigation Reforms – NAR continues to engage with Congress to ensure it understands the importance of passing comprehensive patent litigation reform legislation to stop the abusive use of demand letters by patent trolls.
- Engaging with the FAA on Drones – NAR continues to educate Congress on how real estate professionals can use drones safely in marketing efforts for properties.
Source: National Association of Realtors