On May 28, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a consent agreement and $500,000 fine to a real estate firm for inadequate disclosure language in an affiliated business disclosure. Under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) affiliate entities must disclose relationships to consumers at or prior to the time of referral and make clear that consumers are not required to use the affiliate. In the case in question the disclosure form deviated from a sample disclosure published in the regulations by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (who oversaw RESPA prior to the CFPB). The CFPB consent order requires the forms to be completely synchronized with published sample including placing the same emphasis on key words. NAR will continue to work to educate members about their obligations under RESPA and also work with the CFPB to ensure appropriate compliance guidance is issued.
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