Legislation Affecting Real Estate

From National Association of Realtors November, 2013 Newsletter:

Senate 3% Cap Bill Introduced
On October 28, 2013, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Carl Levin (D-MI), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced S. 1577: The Mortgage Choice Act. The legislation is identical to H.R. 3211 in the House. It would make adjustments to the Truth in Lending Act’s (TILA) definition of fees and points to ensure greater consumer choice in mortgage and settlement services under the Ability to Repay/Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule. S. 1577 endeavors to restore a competitive market among lenders by clarifying and rationalizing the definition of fees and points to reduce this discrimination. By doing so, S. 1577 will ensure that consumers have greater access to mortgage credit and also more choices in credit providers. Without S. 1577, both choice and access will be severely reduced, affecting countless consumers and those who serve them. NAR is asking both the Senate and House to ensure the legislation is enacted before the QM rule takes effect in Jan. 2014.

Flood Insurance Affordability Bill Introduced
On October 29, 2013, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced the NAR-supported “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” (S. 1610), to delay unintended rate increases under the Biggert-Waters law and its implementation. Representatives Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) have introduced an identical bill in the House (H.R. 3370). The bipartisan measure essentially calls for a 4-year “time out” on further implementation of the rate structure until FEMA completes the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters and also proposes a regulatory solution to issues found in the study. The bill’s delay would apply to any property that is grandfathered or purchased after July 2012, including second homes and commercial properties. The other property owners will still see any rate increases capped at 20-25% a year. The bill would also create a Flood Insurance Advocate within FEMA to investigate and assist property owners with verifying the accuracy of flood insurance rate quotes. The bill was introduced with an impressive list of 15 Senate and 65 House original sponsors. NAR will continue pressing for additional co-sponsorship and urging its immediate consideration by Congress.

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