July 24, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

Obama: New Fair Housing rule will help further American Dream

Aiming to reinforce the administration’s commitment to the Fair Housing Act, President Obama dedicated his latest weekly address to the act and its impact on fighting discrimination in housing.

Specifically, Obama addressed last week’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of the “final rule” on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which will “equip communities that receive HUD funding with data and tools to help them meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds.”   In his address, Obama said that the Fair Housing Act and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule help to ensure that all Americans get an “equal shot” at finding success in life.  “The work of the Fair Housing Act remains unfinished,” Obama said.   “Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that policies segregating minorities in poor neighborhoods, even unintentionally, are against the law,” Obama continued. “The Court recognized what many people know to be true from their own lives: that too often, where people live determines what opportunities they have in life.”

HUD Publishes AFFH Final Rule and Revised Assessment Tool for Local Governments in Federal Register 


On July 16, HUD published the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) final rule in the Federal Register.  HUD published the AFFH final rule on its website on July 8, but the rule’s official publication is the date on which it appears in the Federal Register.  The rule replaces the current Analysis of Impediments requirement with a new Assessment of Fair Housing requirement for HUD participating jurisdictions.  The rule’s effective date is August 17, 2015.  HUD also published July 16 a notice announcing modifications it is making to the Fair Housing Assessment Tool for local governments and soliciting comments on those revisions.  HUD will be publishing a separate Assessment Tool for states.

The Assessment Tool is intended to help local governments complete their Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), as required by the AFFH regulations.   It will provide instructions for completing the AFH, nationally uniform data provided by HUD, and a series of questions designed to help local government program participants identify areas of racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, patterns of integration and segregation, disparities in access to opportunity, and disproportionate housing needs.

House Passes the Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015 


July 14, the House of Representatives passed The Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015, H.R. 2997, by a vote of 395-28. The bill would authorize a pay-for-success demonstration program that leverages private funding to improve the water and energy efficiency of HUD multifamily developments.  The bill would authorize HUD to enter into performance-based contracts with private sector intermediaries who would fund and oversee utility efficiency upgrades for existing residential properties. Investors would receive a percentage of energy savings as repayment from HUD only after the savings are verified by a third party.  The demonstration program would last for four years, beginning in FY 2016. Up to 20,000 units in Project-Based Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811 properties would be eligible to participate.

Mortgage, housing trades urge CFPB to extend TRID deadline, again


Or at least extend and formalize the grace period
More leading mortgage and housing industry trade groups are asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to push back its effective date for the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule to the end of the year, or at least extend the grace period.  For now, the CFPB proposes to move the rule’s effective date to Oct. 3, 2015, from its original Aug. 1 date and its subsequent Oct. 1 change.

The rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, requires additional mortgage disclosure forms and a more complex compliance apparatus for lenders. The required loan documentation consists of two new forms: the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure to ensure compliance.

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