Real Estate

Treasury Dept. proposes rule to expand oversight of homes purchased near military facilities

The proposal would expand its authority to review transactions near military installations by foreign buyers

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday announced that it has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to expand the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)’ authority to review real estate transactions near military installations by foreign buyers.

CFIUS is an inter-agency government committee that includes the Departments of Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, State and others.

“Pursuant to legislation that Congress passed in 2018, CFIUS has the authority to review certain real estate transactions near specified military installations and to take action in appropriate circumstances,” the announcement said. “This proposed rule would add over 50 military installations, across 30 states, to the existing list of installations around which CFIUS has jurisdiction, including over land purchases.”

If enacted, this kind of update would “vastly expand” the military installations that the committee’s jurisdiction operates from, while maintaining a focus on national security, the department said.

“President Biden and I remain committed to using our strong investment screening tool to defend America’s national security, including actions that protect military installations from external threats,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a statement. “CFIUS plays an integral role in U.S. national security by thoroughly reviewing real estate transactions near sensitive military installations, and this proposed rule will significantly expand its jurisdiction and ability to accomplish this vital mission.”

2018’s Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) saw Congress empower CFIUS “to review the purchase or lease by, or concession to, a foreign person of real estate in the United States that is in close proximity to a military installation” or other facility operating in the realm of national security. The intent is to shore up any risk that might arise from such a transaction opening up a sensitive security installation to surveillance by a foreign power.

“This proposed rule is the result of a recent comprehensive assessment conducted by the Department of Defense regarding its military installations,” the department said. The proposed rule would enhance CFIUS’s authorities including by expanding CFIUS jurisdiction “over real estate transactions to include those within a one-mile radius around 40 additional military installations.”

The proposed rule would also cover transactions including those within a 100-mile radius of 19 additional military installations; as well as between one and 100 miles around eight installations already listed in the regulations. The rule also updates the names of 14 installations and the locations of seven installations, all of which are already listed.

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