HUD begins regulatory review under White House order
The Department of Housing and Urban Development began a review of its regulations and will continue a periodic review for other rule changes as directed from an executive order from President Obama. In January, Obama directed federal regulators to take public comment on how to tailor existing regulations in order to minimize their burden on industry and society. Agencies were also directed to coordinate with one another in order "harmonize regulations." Since March 2, HUD took public comment on how it could improve rules found to be outmoded or too burdensome. New changes include removing a regulatory restriction on Federal Housing Administration refinancing of existing mortgage debt by owners of multifamily cooperative projects. HUD said this would expand how many could participate in FHA programs. Another removes regulations for the FHA inspector roster. Rules required the use of an inspector listed on the roster as a condition for FHA mortgage insurance. Removing this, HUD said would make it "easier for lenders and borrowers to have inspections performed" and would streamline the mortgage insurance application process. Some rule changes under the review have already been made, which include lifting the FHA anti-flipping rule. In January, HUD lifted this ban for at least 2011. More rule changes can be found here. As for the new reviews going forward, HUD said it would consider reducing the sheer number of regulations along with streamlining their complexity and structure. "HUD programs with few or closely linked regulatory requirements may lend themselves to a periodic comprehensive review of all regulatory requirements," HUD said. "Other programs, either because of the number of regulations or the far-reaching scope of the requirements, may be subject to more frequent or ongoing reviews, with each review focused on a particular component of the regulations." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.