AARP Foundation lawyer, Jean Constantine-Davis appeared in a brief interview with NPR's "Marketplace Money" about the advocacy's group lawsuit against HUD. Constantine-Davis provided little details about the lawsuit, but did shed a little light on the organization's perspective about the issue of a non-borrowing spouse.
The lawsuit itself calls into question HUD's application of two important provisions of the HECM statute, the provisions that define "non-recourse" and "homeowner." It alleges that HUD overstepped their bounds by interpreting the rules in a way not supported by the statute. The result has been to put heirs and non-borrowing spouses at a disadvantage when the mortgage exceeds the mortgage balance compared to if they sold the home to an unrelated third party.
Constantine-Davis suggests that in these cases, borrowers were convinced by a mortgage broker to leave the younger borrower off of the transaction in order to maximize their funds, or the broker does it without their knowledge. This point-of-view is debatable, however, her comments about brokers' influence over borrowers indicates that this will be an argument they will put forth in the litigation in order to support the allegation that the HUD policies related to non-borrowing spouses has put them at undue risk.
The interview is not very in depth and Constantine-Davis primarily addresses the "non-recourse" portion wherein they seek an injunction requiring HUD to extend the provisions unconditionally. It is safe to say that there will be more interviews with AARP representatives as the litigation takes shape.
The audio of the interview is below: