Staying Out of CFPB Jail (Part 1) is the first article of a three-part series from noted real estate attorney Dax Watson, Managing Partner of the Phoenix office of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. In this article, Watson discusses common practices among real estate professionals across the country that could violate federal law pertaining to “kickbacks” and result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $1,000,000.
According to the U.S. Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which is in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the term “kickback” covers a range of activities that could include, for example, furnishing refreshments for an event hosted by another real estate professional. If not handled correctly, providing these refreshments could be defined as a kickback under RESPA.
While RESPA has been in place since 1974, because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development was charged with RESPA compliance and had limited resources, enforcement has been sparse. That has changed since RESPA was moved over to the CFPB in 2010. Part-two of this series will discuss Marketing Service Agreements and CFPB compliance.
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About the Author
Dax Watson has extensive litigation and professional liability defense experience, especially in the field of real estate. He has appeared and represented clients in every county in Arizona, and he routinely represents clients in regulatory matters before the Arizona Department of Real Estate and other State agencies. In addition to his legal practice, Watson is approved to teach legal issues, agency and disclosure, and property management by the Arizona Department of Real Estate. He regularly teaches risk-reduction classes to, and seminars for, real estate Brokers throughout Arizona.