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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The Dangerous Path of Property through Intestacy: The Need for Estate Planning with Respect to Real Estate

Winding up an estate is a difficult task, one that can take a toll on a group of the decedent’s family and loved ones. This process, however, is exponentially more challenging when a person dies intestate. Real property is particularly difficult to distribute without a definitive statement of intent on the part of the deceased. The various methods of descent in intestacy create tangled estates as families grow in complexity, and so many conflicts might be resolved otherwise through the careful act of creating an estate plan.

House Exterior. Entrance Porch And Front Yard ViewIn Kentucky, undevised property passes through a system of intestacy that is at least facially regarded as trying to distribute the property in a manner the deceased would have intended. First of all, a surviving spouse takes a ½ share of the estate.[1] KRS 391.010 then sets out the line of descent, where property passes first to the children of the decedent and their descendants, then to the parents if there are no children, then to siblings if there are no parents, then to the surviving spouse, if there are no children, parents or siblings.The line continues from there to an ever-expanding array of kindred. This descent seems straightforward, but in practice, the results can be tricky. Take, for instance, a woman with four children from a prior marriage who purchases a house with a man as tenants in common. They later marry, then she dies intestate. As tenants in common, each spouse is entitled to an equal share of the property, so the husband retains his share. The other share, however, passes through intestate succession. The husband receives then a right to half of the remaining half of the property as a surviving spouse, and the decedent’s children receive the other half. Suddenly, the husband owns a ¾ interest in the house, with the decedent’s children splitting a ¼ interest between them. If one of the children died before the decedent leaving three children, those children then split their parent’s 1/16th interest, each taking a 1/48th interest in the property. Is this really the result the decedent would have wanted?

One of the greatest gifts an owner of any kind of property can give her or his loved ones is a well-drafted estate plan. As demonstrated above, intestacy is a complex, messy and ultimately undesirable path that can put an already grieving family through another unpleasant experience. The attorneys of McBrayer can help you draft a thorough and careful estate plan to ensure that your wishes with regard to your beneficiaries are well-settled.

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.

[1] KRS 392.020

The Consequences of Walking Away: Breach of Contract in Commercial Real Estate

The temptation happens often: the deal is done, the ink is dry, the contract is finalized…then someone gets cold feet. Buyers don’t want to buy, sellers don’t want to sell, money gets tight, titles can’t be delivered, etc. What makes breach of commercial real estate contracts unique as opposed to most non-real estate contracts is that every single property is unique. No two properties can share the same physical location, but most also won’t share the same size, improvements, buildings, access, resources…the list is endless. It’s not as though the buyer can just buy the same property from another seller, and the seller who loses a buyer also loses expected capital. When one party breaches its duties in a commercial real estate contract, it’s important for the non-breaching party to understand what remedies are available. We’ll explore the most common remedies and what provisions should be in commercial real estate contracts to mitigate the effects of breach.

Specific PerformanceAngry Businessman Tearing Contract Paper

There are two main categories of remedies – legal remedies, which provide monetary remedies and equitable remedies, which do not. The main type of equitable remedy applicable in a real estate contract context is specific performance. Since each property is unique, the argument goes, the only way to make a party whole is to fulfill the terms of the contract. This is done by asking for specific performance, a court-ordered fulfillment of the terms of the contract. It is as simple as the name implies; the court orders the party in breach to perform a specific act: for example, the act of signing or delivering a deed. This remedy generally only applies as against a seller in breach, and this makes sense: there is exactly one property with these characteristics in existence in the known universe, so the buyer has a strong argument that he or she cannot be made whole by mere monetary damages. Courts are generally loathe to force a party to perform an action unless monetary damages are incapable of providing relief. Sellers really only receive money in the transaction, so money is an appropriate remedy.

Damages

Damages, on the other hand, are monetary remedies available to both the buyer and the seller. Actual damages for both parties are usually given as the difference between the value of the property and the agreed-upon purchase price. The seller opposing a buyer in breach will want to argue the purchase price was more than the value of the property, while the buyer opposing the seller in breach will argue the opposite. These damages are often highly dependent on the commercial real estate market at the time, giving one party an advantage. The buyer is also generally able to terminate the contract if the seller is in breach and recover any payments made. Other types of damages may be available to a buyer in a commercial real estate transaction – courts in other states have found lost profit damages for a seller’s breach of a commercial real estate purchase contract.

Contract Provisions

As seen above, buyers tend to have more remedies than sellers, so savvy sellers should include contract provisions that deter breach on the buyer’s part. One of those provisions provide for liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are a fixed sum of money available to a seller in the event of a buyer’s breach. As mentioned earlier, actual damages can be dependent on the market and other factors, so a contract clause awarding liquidated damages in the event of a breach gives a seller some firepower in holding a buyer to the deal.

One other contract provision to consider is the award of attorneys’ fees in case of breach. Both parties should watch the language of any attorneys’ fees provisions inserted into the contract, making sure that the clause includes the word “reasonable.” Otherwise, the other side could run up extensive attorneys’ fees that wind up being almost punitive.

For commercial real estate contract concerns and other issues involving contract breach, contact the attorneys at McBrayer.

J. MarkhamJoshua J. Markham is a member at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC in the Lexington, KY office. Mr. Markham 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. He can be reached at jmarkham@mmlk.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 149.

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

“Is this the airport, Clark?” – Aunt Bethany

Your guests have arrived and you’ve just spent that last ten hours Griswolding your home and now you and your company are standing in the front yard ready to bask in the warm glow of a million tiny lights, when your neighbor strolls over and says, “I wouldn’t do that. The homeowner’s association won’t allow it. Oh, and you can’t park there.” What? But you nearly died placing those reindeer on the roof! And where are all these people supposed to park??

VANCOUVER - DEC 16: This home is one of many on the tour of most

Beloved by some, and loathed by others, homeowners associations or HOAs seem to be misunderstood and ubiquitous these days. If you live in a community subject to a homeowners association or are thinking of moving into one that does, it’s a good idea to get a lay of the land before you make your move…or try to clamber up on the roof with those reindeer.

Some things to think about are:

  1. Have you read a copy of the rules and restrictions?
  2. Does the homeowners association require advance notice or written approval for certain activities?
  3. Are there parking restrictions that could lead to trouble for you or your guests?
  4. Are there any limitations about the type of signage or decorations you may display in your yard? Must signs or decorations be approved by the HOA in advance?
  5. Are there any provisions prohibiting special activities in or around your home (i.e., no burning the yule log out back)?
  6. Are you subject to possible fines for non-compliance?

By understanding in advance what sort of things may and may not be allowed, homeowners or potential homeowners can reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and disputes that can arise from some of the activities we are often accustomed to doing without a thought. You can’t always control whether you live next to the Chesters, or the Griswolds for that matter, but you can at least understand your rights. If you have questions about your HOA, contact the attorneys at McBrayer today.

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.

Tenant Absence During the Lease Term: Protecting Your Property

Every landlord’s goal is to have his/her rental property under lease and occupied by tenants who will not only pay their rent on time, but who will properly use and maintain the property. After all, the property is an investment by the landlord of both time and money. While landlords typically relate property damage to tenants’ use of the property (i.e. throwing wild parties or vandalism), nonuse can also result in significant damage to the property, not only causing damage to the structure itself, but a diminution in value of the property overall. This is especially true during the winter months. For example, a tenant may take an extended vacation for the holidays or even abandon the property altogether. Any time a property is unoccupied for an extended period of time, maintenance issues may go undetected and/or other problems may arise unbeknownst to the tenant(s) or the landlord. These issues/problems may include the heat being turned off by the tenant, running water left on, a leaky faucet, a stove being left on, an electrical issue, or the shut off of one or more utilities by the respective utility company for nonpayment. Such issues can result in damage to the property, including, but not limited to, frozen/burst pipes, flooding, or fire. Moreover, the damage can extend to other units and/or affect the safety of neighboring tenants. Thus, it is important for a landlord to know when a tenant is going to be gone for an extended period of time.

Grey Mailbox full of mail isolated on a white background

In Kentucky, pursuant to the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (“URLTA”)(KRS 383.505 to 383.705)[1], unless otherwise agreed to by the landlord, the tenant is required to occupy the property in a residential capacity throughout the entire lease term.[2] Furthermore, the landlord is permitted to include a provision in the lease agreement requiring the tenant(s) to provide the landlord with advance notice of any extended absence from the property in excess of seven (7) days.[3] This notice serves as a protective measure in that it allows the landlord to stay apprised of the condition of the property and any maintenance issues which may arise during the tenant’s absence. However, such a requirement must be included in the lease agreement to be enforceable.

In the event that a tenant is absent from the property for more than seven (7) days and has not provided the landlord with the notice required by the lease agreement, the landlord may recover from the tenant actual damages incurred as a result of the tenant’s absence.[4] Also, during such absence, the landlord may enter the property at times reasonably necessary to perform an inspection and/or address any maintenance issues.[5]   The landlord is also entitled to access the property at any time in the event of an emergency.[6] Should the landlord determine that the tenant has abandoned the property, the landlord may, in addition to accessing the property for inspection/maintenance issues, seek to recover possession of the property pursuant to the eviction process.

Requiring tenants to provide notice to the landlord of any extended absence from the property is a safeguard to both the property and neighboring tenants. It not only allows for proper maintenance of the property itself, but provides protection of the landlord’s investment.

BYates

Brendan Yates joined the Lexington office of the firm as an associate in 2002. Brendan is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, where he focuses his practice on construction and real estate litigation, workers’ compensation defense litigation, insurance defense and commercial litigation. He has successfully defended his clients in state and federal courts, the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the Kentucky Supreme Court, and in administrative agency proceedings in Kentucky. He can be reached at byates@mmlk.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 208.

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

[1] Please note that the URLTA governs counties who have expressly adopted it. This article assumes adoption of the URLTA and is based on its provisions.

[2] KRS 383.620.

[3] KRS 383.620.

[4] KRS 383.670(1).

[5] KRS 383.670(2).

[6] KRS 383.615.

“Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…But Should Someone Else Be Clearing it?”

Winners, shopping in Calgary

Winter has made its early debut. The snow has begun falling and the salt trucks are already covering the roads (and our cars), and it’s not even December! Despite the bleak forecasts, people are out and about in large numbers, especially in light of the approaching holidays. With the snow comes the ice, and shopkeepers and property owners alike are getting their own shovels and salt stashes ready to clear their walkways and sidewalks for their customers and tenants. Along with the bad weather also come the questions regarding a property owner’s or lessee’s obligations to a tenant or customer to create a safe, and ice or snow free, place to come and go. It’s best to have a plan of action with regard to your property before the bad weather hits and understand your duties to those visiting your property during the winter season. If you’re a landlord, business owner or retail lessee, consider the following:

Landlord/Tenant Obligations

Generally, a landlord has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep common areas held in the landlord’s control in a safe condition for their tenants, as well as recognize changing conditions and remedy them as they arise. This is especially an issue when the weather turns for the worse. Landlords need to be aware of potential issues as the snow and ice starts to accumulate, keeping on hand the proper materials to keep the walkways clear and safe and be cognizant of problems as they arise so they are fixed in a reasonable manner and within reasonable time.

Business Owners/Lessees

For tenants leasing a retail space, it is important to first look to your retail lease to determine exactly who is obligated, if anyone, to clear and salt the walkways and storefront in bad weather such as snow and ice. If your business or property sits on a municipality owned walkway or roadway, look to your city ordinances to determine whose obligation this may be in inclement weather. Determining whose responsibility it is to take action when winter hits is the first step in preventing injuries on your premises as well as liability for yourself or your business. Whether you’re a retail landlord or tenant, consider whether you need to incorporate language into your lease that speaks to duties with regard to snow and ice if these obligations are not clear.

If your business, like many others, clears and salts its sidewalks and parking lots to encourage people to come in despite the wintery conditions, it is important to have a consistent policy in keeping your premises clear and as safe as possible. With a change in Kentucky law over the last 5 years, even if it is obvious to your customers that weather is poor and the sidewalks slick, the entity occupying the property could still face liability if it doesn’t ensure the care towards its premises is reasonable under the circumstances.

By addressing these potential issues early, landlords, business owners and lessee’s can reduce the possibility of incidents on their premises and injuries to their customers or tenants during the winter season. If you are a landlord, retail owner or tenant and have questions about your obligations, contact the attorneys at McBrayer today.

BMacGregor

Brittany MacGregor is an associate attorney practicing in the Lexington office of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. She is a graduate of Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky College of Law. Ms. MacGregor’s practice focuses on real estate law, including title examination, title insurance, clearing title issues, deeds, settlement statements, preparation of loan documentation, contract negotiation and preparation, and lease negotiation and preparation. She may be reached at bmacgregor@mmlk.com or at (859) 231-8780.

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

Reading The Writing On The…Yard? Regulating Political Signs

Many local governments have ordinances on the books that regulate the number, size, location, and duration of political yard signs. However, many of these regulations probably do not pass constitutional muster and are not enforced. The difficulty with enacting yard sign regulations is that the signs constitute political speech which is one of the most precious and protected forms of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Courts across the country have consistently ruled that political speech cannot be regulated more stringently than commercial speech. For example, a local ordinance that sets time limits on how long political yard signs can be placed prior to an election and a time to remove them after the election are typically invalidated because other types of signs, such as real estate signs, have no durational limits. Similarly, ordinances that limit the number of political signs to no more than two per property have been struck down. Limiting the number of signs restricts free speech because the household residents may have different political viewpoints. Further, many election seasons are to fill the seats of many different offices, thus limiting the number of signs impermissibly limits the number of candidates that a property owner can support. Regulating the size of political yard signs is problematic too if the local sign ordinance limits political signs to a smaller size than permitted for other types of signs.
This does not mean, however, that local authorities have no power at all to regulate political yard signs. The governments may enact reasonable, content-neutral regulations pursuant to their police power to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. Thus, local ordinances can validly prohibit political yard signs on public property and within the public right of way. All signs over a certain size, regardless of content (and including political signs)may have to be set back from roadways and sidewalls and be constructed or anchored for legitimate safety reasons, such as to prevent them from being blown away, falling down or blocking the view of driveways and intersections.
Finally, other types of signs are protected as political speech even if not directly related to an election. As such, they are entitled under the First Amendment to remain in place subject to the same content-neutral regulations as for election yard signs. For example, signs expressing anti-war or other cause oriented beliefs such as views on abortion or gay rights have a fundamental right to remain in place for as long as the person expressing the belief wants to keep them in place, subject only to the limited, content-neutral requirements related to materials, method of anchoring, etc. that are in place for other signs displaying noncommercial speech.

 

Hands Holding Vote

 

CWestover

Christine Neal Westover is an attorney in the Lexington office of McBrayer . Ms. Westover has extensive experience practicing law in both the public and the private sector. The focus of Ms. Westover’s experience and area of practice is land use law since her assignment in 1991 as legal advisor to the boards, commissions and divisions of government within Lexington Fayette County on all matters related to planning, zoning and land use law. Ms. Westover has an extremely deep and broad expertise of the laws governing land use in Kentucky and the procedural and substantive complexities that underpin planning and zoning matters. She also has significant experience dealing with governmental divisions such as Building Inspection, Code Enforcement and other administrative bodies due to their regulatory authority in land use matters. Ms. Westover can be reached at cwestover@mmlk.com or (859) 231-8780, ext. 137.

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