Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), was an act passed by the United States Congress in 1974. It is codified at Title 12, Chapter 27 of the United States Code, 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601–2617.1

What is RESPA?

  1. RESPA was enacted to protect consumers against unscrupulous practices in the real estate industry.
  2. RESPA’s main purpose was: to help consumers become better shoppers for settlement services and to eliminate kickbacks and referral fees that unnecessarily increase the costs of certain settlement services.

RESPA is regulated and enforced by the Federal Government, but the homeowner/mortgage holder must be proactive and check for the following information in their closing documents to see if there are potential violations. In order to take action you must act now because the timeframe to pursue RESPA violations is limited.

Did you receive the required documents as per RESPA at the time of your loan application or within 3 business days by mail from your lender?

When borrowers apply for a mortgage loan, mortgage brokers and/or lenders must give the borrowers:

  1. A Special Information Booklet, which contains consumer information regarding various real estate settlement services (required for purchase transactions only) and a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of settlement costs, which lists the charges the buyer is likely to pay at settlement.
  2. Depending on the type of charge and service provider selected, the difference between the estimated costs (GFE) and actual costs at settlement (HUD-1 settlement statement) may be subject to tolerance levels. If tolerance requirements are exceeded, then the borrower may be due a refund from the lender. When a loan originator permits a borrower to shop for third-party settlement services, the loan originator must provide the borrower with a written list of settlement service providers at the time of the GFE.
  3. A Mortgage Servicing Disclosure Statement, which discloses to the borrower whether the lender intends to service the loan or transfer it to another lender.

RESPA Section 8 Violations: Kickbacks, Fee-Splitting, Unearned Fees

Did anyone accept and/or gave a fee, kickback or anything of value in exchange for referrals of settlement services when it pertains to a federally related mortgage – YOUR MORTGAGE?

Fee splitting and receiving unearned fees for services not performed is highly illegal, unethical and criminal.

Criminal & Civil Penalties as per RESPA

Violations of Section 8′s anti-kickback, referral fees and unearned fees provisions of RESPA are subject to criminal and civil penalties. In a criminal case a person who violates Section 8 may be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned up to one year. In a private law suit a person who violates Section 8 may be liable to the person charged for the settlement service an amount equal to three times the amount of the charge paid for the service.