HUD Extends Comment Period for RESPA Reform
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said Wednesday afternoon that it had extended the public comment period on the Bush Administration's proposed reforms to the real estate settlement process, bowing to Congressional as well as industry pressure. The administration proposed sweeping changes to the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act on March 17, including provisions that would expand HUD’s enforcement authority under the Act. "This critical rule will improve the complicated homebuying process and save families money at the settlement table," said Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi. "In light of Congressional and industry requests to extend the comment period for the rule, and our desire to develop the best possible rule, we are allowing additional time." The public comment period on HUD's proposed RESPA reforms was set to expire on May 13, 2008 prior to today's announcement. The announced extension provides an additional 30 days of comment, through June 12, HUD said. Industry representatives had strongly cautioned that a slow-down was needed, saying that more time was needed to digest the complex reforms proposed in the reform measure. "A 60-day comment period is too short. We need time to figure out the ramifications," said Ken Markison of the Mortgage Bankers Association, as a settlement conference in April. "This will need a lot of thought, a lot of work." "This is an extraordinarily complex and impactful rule fraught with the potential for unintended consequences," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, CEO of the American Land Title Association (or ALTA). "It benefits everyone to take the necessary time to assist HUD in meeting its goal of simplifying the closing process for consumers." Pfotenhauer said he had hoped for a 60-day extension, but that he was pleased to see HUD provide some extra time nonetheless. For more information, visit http://www.hud.gov.