The New TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Requirements

Farewell, HUD-1, we hardly knew ye. As of October 3rd, 2015, lenders will provide two integrated forms at specified intervals surrounding the closing date to comply with the provisions of both the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”). The new forms are the result of provisions from Sections 1098 and 1100A of the Dodd-Frank Act meant to combine and simplify existing documents to make them easier for mortgagors to understand.

Family meeting real-estate agent for house investmentTILA (implemented through Regulation Z) and RESPA (implemented through Regulation X) both require specific disclosures to be made at the closing of a mortgage loan. RESPA requires that consumers receive a Good Faith Estimate (“GFE”) within three business days of applying for a mortgage loan. Within one business day before the settlement of the loan, the consumer has the right to request the Settlement Statement (HUD-1), with the document provided at closing. TILA also requires that mortgage lenders provide a disclosure of lending terms within three business days of receiving a mortgage loan application. These requirements have been fulfilled through separate disclosure forms created by two different agencies, thus leading to confusion between lenders and consumers at closing time, as the forms used inconsistent language. The HUD-1 is a settlement statement created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to satisfy the requirements of RESPA when it was administered by that agency. The Federal Reserve Board enforced TILA.

Dodd-Frank changed these requirements by creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and charging it with enforcing the provisions of both TILA and RESPA as well as creating integrated disclosures that effectuate the disclosure provisions of both laws through one set of forms, rather than two. To that end, the CFPB issued the Final Rule for the integrated disclosure requirements on November 20, 2013 and amendments to the Final Rule on February 19, 2015. This new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, otherwise also known as “Know Before You Owe,” created two required documents to replace the TILA and RESPA disclosures – a Loan Estimate that replaces the GFE and TILA disclosures at the time of application, and a Closing Disclosure that supplants the HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

As with the GFE and TILA disclosures, the Loan Estimate must be provided to consumers no later than three business days after they submit an application for a loan. The Loan Estimate form requires the loan amount and terms, projected payments, closing costs, the estimated cash needed to close and other considerations, such as whether the lender intends to transfer the servicing of the loan. The Closing Disclosure includes similar provisions, although it also includes details of the escrow account, a summary of the transaction and the contact information of the lender, the settlement agent, the mortgage broker, and the real estate brokers for both buyer and seller.

Possibly the biggest change for lenders and mortgage brokers is that the Closing Disclosure must be provided to the consumer at least three business days prior to the consummation of the transaction – the point where the consumer becomes contractually obligated to the creditor on the loan. This may be different than the actual closing date. This is a much more stringent requirement than the one-day prior to closing on consumer request requirement of the HUD-1, and can potentially delay closing, as last-minute changes the transaction may trigger a need for a revised Closing Disclosure with a new three-day waiting period. This can happen when there are increases in the APR, any additions of a prepayment penalty or the change of a loan product will trigger the need for a revised closing disclosure

MHagginMary Estes Haggin is a Member of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC.  Ms. Haggin practices in virtually every aspect of real estate law, including title examination, title insurance, clearing title issues, deeds, settlement statements, preparation of loan documentation, contract negotiation and preparation, lease negotiation and preparation, and any and all other needs related to residential and commercial real estate matters.  She is located in the firm’s Lexington office and can be reached at  mehaggin@mmlk.com or at (859) 231-8780.

This article is intended as a summary of  federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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Seller Financing After Dodd-Frank

The provisions of Dodd-Frank have been in place just under a year and a half, having come into effect on January 10, 2014, and the provisions of the law that concern seller financing of real estate made significant changes as to how investors use seller financing in these transactions. Now that the rules have been in place for a while and the dust has settled, basic rules concerning private loans from sellers warrant a brief review. At the outset, it is worth noting that these regulations apply to sales only to owner occupants, not sales of commercial or investment properties. The new regulations treat anyone who performs the activities related to the origination of a residential mortgage loan as a “mortgage originator” by default. What this means is that sellers who finance their real estate transactions must be a licensed mortgage originator or include a licensed mortgage originator in the transaction. Financing sellers can be exempt from these rules, however, if certain criteria are met. First, the seller must provide financing for the sale of three or fewer properties in a 12-month period, and the property must have been owned by the seller and used as security for the loan. Second, the seller must not have constructed the residence or acted as a contractor in the construction as part of the ordinary course of their business. Finally, the loan must be fully paid off after a set duration (no balloon payments) and have a fixed interest rate or an adjustable rate that remains fixed for at least five years, and the seller must determine in good faith that the borrower will be able to pay the loan. If the rate does adjust, it must be tied to a widely-available index such as LIBOR or U.S. Treasury securities. Under these rules, a person, trust or business entity can act as a financing seller. Homeownership 2If the seller only finances one property in a year and is a natural person, an estate or a trust, the seller does not have to determine and document the borrower’s ability to pay, although the loan requirements remain the same. If the seller finances more than three properties, the mortgage originator provisions apply, as well as the specific limitations on the loan. Another important distinction to note is that, while the ability-to-pay provisions of Regulation Z[1] apply only to “creditors” as defined by that regulation – those who finance more than five “transactions secured by a dwelling”[2] in a year, Dodd-Frank applies the same provisions to those who finance three or more transactions to owner-occupants in a year. In other words, financing sellers who conduct only four transactions a year are exempt from the ability-to-pay portions of Regulation Z, but not from Dodd-Frank. Negotiating any seller-financing deal is tricky, but the provisions of Dodd-Frank add a new layer of complexity to the process. Let the attorneys of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC make the process less difficult by providing guidance and assistance in the transaction. CRichardsonChristopher A. Richardson is an associate at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC in the Louisville, KY office. Mr. Richardson concentrates primarily in real estate, where he is experienced in residential and commercial closing transactions, landlord/tenant relations, and mortgage lien enforcement/foreclosure. Mr. Richardson has closed innumerable secondary market and portfolio residential real estate transactions and his commercial practice ranges from short-term collateralized financing and construction lending to development revolving lines of credit. He can be reached at 502-327-5400 or crichardson@mmlk.com. This article is intended as a summary of  federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice. [1] 12 C.F.R. § 1026.43 [2] 12 C.F.R. § 1026.2 (a)(17)(v)

A New Beginning for Closings

Currently, under federal law, within three business days after receiving an application, mortgage lenders must deliver two different disclosures to the applicants: an early Truth in Lending Statement and a Good Faith Estimate. At closing, two more disclosures are required: a final Truth in Lending Statement and a HUD-1 settlement statement. Starting Aug. 1, 2015, that long-established process will change. The forms will be reduced to two and simplified so that consumers will be able to mortgage shop more easily and understand their mortgage terms and costs more thoroughly.

The mortgage crisis that began in 2008 was precipitated by many consumers taking on loans they could not afford. Though the industry has rebounded from the crisis, the dire situation highlighted the need for consumers to better understand the true costs and risks of a mortgage. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) received the power to create new rules for the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and for most of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), which are the laws that require the existing disclosure forms. After two years of research and testing, the CFPB decided that the simplified, so-called “Know Before You Owe” mortgage forms are the best way to educate consumers.

Beginning in August 2015, consumers will be provided with The Loan Estimate form  within three days after submitting a loan application. It replaces the first Truth in Lending statement (long-considered ironically named for the confusion and lack of clarity it gave to consumers) and the Good Faith Estimate. Consumers can use this form to compare costs and features of various loan options. Three business days before the loan closing, consumers will receive a Closing Disclosure. This replaces the final Truth in Lending statement and HUD-1 settlement statement. For the first time, consumers can review the final loan terms and costs before they take a seat at the loan closing table.

This upcoming change is just a part of CFPB’s initiative to reform the mortgage markets. Hopefully, consumers will not be the only ones to benefit from the future modifications. Lenders and real estate attorneys should be optimistic about the potential to cut down on administrative costs and lessen the “surprises” that can ruin a closing. Those in the mortgage industry should review the forms carefully and take necessary implementation steps in the year ahead.

CRichardson

Christopher A. Richardson is an associate at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC in the Louisville, KY office. Mr. Richardson concentrates primarily in real estate, where he is experienced in residential and commercial closing transactions, landlord/tenant relations, and mortgage lien enforcement/foreclosure. Mr. Richardson has closed innumerable secondary market and portfolio residential real estate transactions and his commercial practice ranges from short-term collateralized financing and construction lending to development revolving lines of credit. He can be reached at 502-327-5400 or crichardson@mmlk.com.

This article is intended as a summary of  federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.