Washington Report: Military Foreclosure, FHA, Condos, Flood Insurance, and More
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been busy advocating for policy important to the real estate industry and property owners. Most recently, topics have included everything from military foreclosure protection, to flood insurance, mortgage phishing, and much more. Here are the latest updates on those issues.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is intended to help those men and women who have answered their nation’s call by providing certain financial protections, including foreclosure protection, to members of the military that have incurred debt prior to their active service.
NAR recently signed onto a coalition letter to Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi strongly supporting House passage of S. 2393. Earlier this month, NAR was joined by eight other financial services trade associations in encouraging Congress to pass an extension of the one-year foreclosure protection as soon as possible.
Concerns over FHA Handbook and Appraisals
On March 18, 2016, NAR President Tom Salomone sent a letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) concerning the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Single Family Housing Policy Handbook. NAR is asking FHA to reconsider language in the Handbook that requires appraisers to take on home inspection type duties, which are adding delay and confusion to the homebuying process. NAR is also asking FHA to re-inforce language stressing the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection in form HUD-92564-CN, For Your Protection: Get a Home Inspection.
FTC Consumer Blog addresses Mortgage Phishing Scam
Flood Advocate Reports to Congress
Championed by NAR as part of the Flood Insurance Affordability Act, this independent office within FEMA advocates on behalf of property owners when the NFIP issues questionable flood maps or insurance rates. The advocacy office has been established for less than a year and is still not fully staffed; yet already, the office has assisted hundreds of property owners and successfully resolved at least a dozen disputes between policy holders and FEMA or partnering insurance companies.
NAR recently sent a letter to Congress supporting the mission of the NFIP advocacy office and urged full funding for the office to assist additional property owners. NAR will continue to work to provide adequate resources for a true advocate for homeowners.
Senate Introduces Patent Venue Reform Bill
BY MELANIE WYNE, HELEN DEVLIN
On March 17, Senators Flake (R-AZ), Gardner (R-CO) and Lee (R-UT) introduced S. 2733 a bill that would address the issue of venue reform in patent litigation cases. . Last year, nearly half of all new patent infringement cases filed in the United States were filed in one judicial district. The high volume of cases filed in this district is not a coincidence. Patent Assertion Entities, otherwise known as patent trolls, take advantage of broad interpretations of current law that allow them to file their lawsuits where local rules and practices, along with physical distance, make it very expensive for companies to defend themselves. NAR supports venue reform along with a comprehensive set of patent litigation reforms aimed at curbing patent troll abuses.
Prior to development or conveyance of property, landowners generally must determine whether their site is subject to federal regulation under the CWA. An official jurisdictional determination (JD) from the US Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) describes which areas, if any, are jurisdictional and governs whether the landowner will need a permit to develop their property.
In the case before the Court, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., the Corps issued a JD asserting jurisdiction over wetlands on a peat mine in Minnesota. The landowners and company disagree with the government’s assertion that the land is subject to federal regulation. The government says the landowner can’t challenge the JD in court, but instead must either apply for a permit or defend itself in an enforcement action. A favorable decision by the Supreme Court would give Hawkes an adequate remedy to challenge the JD in court and would establish an important check nationwide on government assertions of CWA jurisdiction.
The Washington Report covers legislative and regulatory policy activities, and is compiled by NAR’s Government Affairs policy staff. To receive this content via email, subscribe to NAR’s Weekly Report newsletter and check the “legislative & regulatory issues” box.
Source: National Association of REALTORS(R)