Government Affairs: Nation

July 12, 2019

Supreme Court Ruling Protects Property Rights

On June 21, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Knick v. Township of Scott, a decision which NAR believes will lead state and local governments to be more thoughtful and deliberate when developing laws or regulations that could infringe on Americans’ private property rights.

Specifically, Knick v. Township of Scott declared that plaintiffs who have accused local governments of violating the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution may proceed directly in federal court rather than first litigating in local circuits, overturning a 34-year old precedent set by a 1985 Supreme Court ruling.

“A property owner has an actionable Fifth Amendment takings claim when the government takes his property without paying for it,” the Court’s opinion reads. “The Fifth Amendment right to full compensation arises at the time of the taking, regardless of post-taking remedies that may be available to the property owner. In sum, because a taking without compensation violates the self-executing Fifth Amendment at the time of the taking, the property owner can bring a federal suit at that time.”

Property owners had previously been required to exhaust all remedies to receive just compensation for private property seizure in state court before they could escalate the case to federal court. Going forward, property owners will have both state and federal court available to redress their property rights. NAR expects this new development to prompt state and local governments to be more strategic regarding takings, especially in the areas of land use planning and environmental regulations, in order to avoid the uncertainty of litigation in federal court. Considerations surrounding compensation should intensify and increase, as well.

President Creates Affordable Housing Council

President Trump signed an Executive Order June 25th to create a Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing. This Council will focus on eliminating impediments that restrict access to affordable housing, such as zoning laws, environmental regulations, building codes and lengthy permit procedures. The Council will consist of members from eight Federal agencies. These members will engage with other government leaders, elected officials and private sector stakeholders to identify and eliminate the “regulatory obstacles that impede the production of affordable homes.”

Secretary Ben Carson will lead the Council. The Departments of Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy and Environmental Protection will be represented on the panel. NAR anticipates the Council will create opportunities to provide its members with information and input related to this issue.  NAR will distribute updated information on an on-going basis as the work process of the Council is developed.

Colorado Congressman Introduces Affordable Housing Bills

Rep. Joe Neguse (Boulder – Congressional District Two) recently filed two bills intended to protect affordable housing and its financing. One of the bills (HR 3478) would remove a requirement that a property must be owned for 10 years before a federal low-income housing tax credit could be used to purchase the property for affordable housing. The other bill (HR 3479) would dictate that properties that receive the low-income housing tax credit remain affordable for 30 years, rather than allowing a release and conversion to market-rate housing at 15 years. Neguse in a written statement said the lack of affordable housing in communities across the county is at a crisis level.

Comply with the Do Not Call Act

Frustration with telemarketing calls has reached a new high. Do you know how to ensure you comply with federal regulations known as TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act)? Here’s a short video that explains it.

CFPB Releases Mortgage Closing Scams Tool

Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its “Mortgage Closing Scams” tools to inform consumers about wire fraud scams that commonly occur during closings. The tools include a Mortgage Closing Checklist(link is external) to help guide consumers through the home buying process and things to beware of such as being mindful of phone calls and conversations that you have during the home buying process and to never email any financial information.

The tools were also developed to be shared by the real estate industry to improve consumer education on how to protect against mortgage phishing scams, which includes relying on your trusted real estate professionals, lenders, or settlement agents, to confirm any payment instructions. In the FBI’s recent 2018 Internet Crime Report, victims loss over $149 million as a result of fraud in real estate transactions.  Through the release of these tools, the CFPB is committed to alerting consumers about necessary steps to take during the home buying process and illustrates continued investment in consumer protection.

USDA Loan Rule Adopted

On June 21, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) published a final rule adopting changes to the RHS guaranteed and direct single-family loan programs. The changes revise the definition of very low-, low-, and moderate-income to allow for a two-tier income limit structure (also known as income banding) within the single-family housing direct loan and grant programs. For more information click here:

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