RESPA Guidance for Your Holiday Gifts and Promotions

In some instances, generosity may not be a fantastic plan – but in other instances, it’s great. How can you thank important company mates for the duration of this vacation year?

ORLANDO, Fla. – Are items and promotions permitted underneath Part eight of RESPA? It is dependent, explained the Client Economical Safety Bureau (CFPB) in the Authentic Estate Settlement Providers Act (RESPA) Usually Asked Questions (FAQs) released on Oct seven.

The FAQs had been unveiled in the same CFPB site put up that rescinded its controversial 2015 Advertising Services Settlement (MSA) Bulletin for not offering the regulatory clarity necessary on how to comply with RESPA. They address Part eight of RESPA, MSAs and items and promotional arrangements.

Component I of this series, released in the November Authentic Developments Newsletter, summarized the MSA steerage provided in the CFPB’s new RESPA FAQs. Component II, down below, summarizes the FAQs similar to items and promotional pursuits involving “referral sources,” these as authentic estate brokers or loan officers.

A typical prohibition

The FAQs say that Part eight(a) of RESPA commonly prohibits items and promotions if they are presented or approved as part of an settlement or comprehension for the referral of settlement assistance company.

They emphasize that no exception to this rule exists for items or promotions down below a specified benefit, these as tickets to sporting situations, restaurant meals or the possibility to earn prizes in a drawing or contest. The settlement or comprehension need not be written or oral, and can be set up by a exercise, sample or training course of perform.

Ordinary promotional or instructional pursuits: Allowed with situations

There is one particular notable exception from this typical prohibition for standard promotional and instructional pursuits, which are permitted underneath two situations:

1. The pursuits are not conditioned on the referral of company. To establish regardless of whether this first issue is met, the CFPB will glance to:

  • Whether or not the present or exercise (these as a authentic estate seminar) is focused narrowly towards prior, ongoing or long term referral sources or regardless of whether it is provided to a broader established of recipients, these as the typical public or all referral sources providing equivalent services in a presented locality.
  • Whether or not the referral supply is routinely and routinely provided with the product or integrated in an exercise – and if that referral supply is provided with the product or integrated in the exercise a lot more than other people.

two. The exercise does not contain defraying charges that if not would be incurred by the referral supply. For instance, if a settlement assistance service provider pays for a authentic estate agent’s office environment supplies branded with the authentic estate agent’s name, call information and facts or emblem, the payment would very likely be viewed as to defray the authentic estate agent’s charges – but, if the office environment supplies aspect the settlement assistance provider’s name, call information and facts or emblem, the payment would less very likely be viewed as to defray charges considering the fact that it is not likely that the authentic estate agent would use their individual money to invest in office environment supplies that includes the name and information and facts of a further entity.

The FAQs emphasize that regardless of whether an exercise is a standard promotional and instructional exercise is dependent on the unique facts and circumstances. They supply examples of how an exercise these as a prize drawing or the providing of a seminar to authentic estate brokers can be a compliant standard promotional or instructional exercise underneath one particular established of fact designs, and a

prohibited exercise underneath a slightly distinctive established of facts.

Summary

Although the FAQs never protect all attainable scenarios involving items and promotions, it’s encouraging that the CFPB has, for the first time, tried to supply RESPA steerage that is dependable with longstanding HUD interpretations. As constantly, anybody who routinely provides (or receives) items and promotions or is creating promotional courses must seek advice from with highly regarded RESPA counsel and be conscious of point out regulations that may have their individual limits.

By way of an arrangement with Authentic Developments, Florida Realtors members can watch this and other content for totally free. The issue is now offered on-line.

© 2020 Authentic Developments, Dec. 2020. Sue Johnson is the previous government director of RESPRO, the Authentic Estate Services Providers Council Inc. She retired in 2015 and is now a strategic alliance expert.