April 6, 2017

Aaron Day Testifies on HB 1974; SB 1249 Passes Senate and Moves on to House

On Tuesday, April 4, Aaron Day, director of government affairs and counsel for TLTA, testified against HB 1974.

"It is our understanding that the bill will remove the discretion that's very fundamental for the underwriters and independent agents to take into account whether or not they're going to accept a power of attorney," said Day. "We are in a position of suspecting fraud often times, and it's that circumstance we're most concerned about."

Day added, "We're simply opposing this filed version of the bill. We are ready to negotiate with the other stakeholders, including the probate section of the bar, and we are very confident we have a good steward in the bill author, so we look forward to those conversations."
Filed by Rep. John Wray, HB 1974 would amend the durable statutory power of attorney. TLTA supports this bill as long as it has amendments to clearly provide the discretion for title agents to reject powers of attorney. The bill has been left pending in committee.
Meanwhile, SB 1249 – Sen. Royce West's bill on adverse possession against co-tenants – passed out of the Senate on Wednesday, April 5. It will now move on to the House.

TLTA Creates Web Page of Bills We Are Following

To keep our members informed about our legislative advocacy efforts, TLTA has created a web page listing all of the 104 bills we are following and our position on them (if one exists). The list is in order by topic.
View the Full List of Bills TLTA Is Following »
To review the process that House Bills go through in the Texas Legislature, click the picture to the right (courtesy of Texas Legislature Online).
To review the process that Senate Bills go through in the Texas Legislature, click here.

Grayson County Criminal DA's Office Requests Adverse Possession Affidavit Opinion From AG

Texas Land Title Association | April 6, 2017

The Grayson County Criminal District Attorney's office has requested a formal opinion from the Attorney General regarding an individual who, through her attorney, wishes to file an affidavit of adverse possession.

Upon learning that affidavits of adverse possession are sometimes – but not uniformly – rejected by county clerks because they can be used to fraudulently gain possession of a property, the Grayson County Clerk refused to file an affidavit of adverse possession. The individual filing the affidavit and her lawyer disagree and insist this is a violation of Texas Penal Code 39.09, also known as "official oppression."
TLTA will keep you updated on this story as it progresses.

Meet the New TLTA Website

TLTA would like to thank all of our members and partners for your patience during the website outage! Now that the site has been revamped, we hope you will take a moment to explore it.

If you have any difficulty navigating the updated site or see any errors, please let us know immediately by calling 512.472.6593 or emailing tlta@tlta.com.
Thanks for your understanding. We hope you enjoy using the new site!

RESPA News: CFPB Files Another Brief in PHH Case

Texas Land Title Association | April 6, 2017

On Friday, March 31, the CFPB filed a brief in their ongoing case against PHH. In this brief, the CFPB:
  • Argued that their director structure is constitutional and stressed the importance of resolving that question.
  • Continued to claim that PHH violated RESPA because paying fair market value is not an absolute defense to a kickback allegation.
  • Stated that RESPA’s three-year statute of limitations does not apply to administrative proceedings brought under Dodd-Frank.
  • Insisted that their departure from previous HUD rulings did not violate due process.
  • Claimed that the administrative law judge who tried the case was not properly appointed, and either that information needs to be applied to the case or a retrial is in order.
TLTA will continue to report on this case as developments arise.

Dodd-Frank News: House Will Hold Off on Dodd-Frank Overhaul Vote

HousingWire | April 4, 2017

The current administration continues to promise it will roll back various regulations, including a massive overhaul of Dodd-Frank, but that overhaul may have to wait.
On Tuesday, April 4, Trump announced the era of “horrible regulations” is coming to an end, saying he plans to give Dodd-Frank a “very major haircut.”

However, the House of Representatives won’t vote on an overhaul until this summer at the earliest, a senior Republican explained, according to an article by Ryan Tracy for The Wall Street Journal.

Read More »

GSE News: Fannie-Freddie Update Released, Automated Underwriting Coming; Fix Promised Since 2008 Takes on Added Urgency

On Wednesday, March 29, the FHFA released a comprehensive report on how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac performed in 2016, measured against the goals laid out for the government-sponsored enterprises in 2014. Specifically, the report covers how well Fannie and Freddie achieved the targets set by the GSEs' 2016 scorecard, which was released in late 2015.

The report also notes Freddie Mac's recent announcement that it plans to begin automating underwriting for borrowers without credit scores.

Read "FHFA Provides Comprehensive Update on Status of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac" (HousingWire) »

Meanwhile, in a bitterly partisan Congress, two senators are making a rare push across party lines to solve a persistent riddle with huge implications for the U.S. housing market: What to do with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?
The Fannie-Freddie fix, promised since they were seized by regulators in 2008 and sustained with $187.5 billion in Treasury funds, has taken on increased urgency as the companies face the threat of needing more aid. Under the terms of their bailout, they can't retain any capital starting next year, meaning taxpayers would have to cover any losses.
Read "Fannie-Freddie Fix, Promised Since 2008, Takes On Added Urgency" (Oregon Live) »

Tax Reform News: What You Need to Know About the Road Ahead for Tax Reform

Politico | March 27, 2017

Fresh off the repeal-and-replace Obamacare implosion, Trump wants to take the reins on tax reform, but that only partly answers one of several questions as Washington’s attention moves on to its next policy drama. Republicans want to pivot fast, looking for a victory after their health care failure. Here's a road map to the path tax reform could take and the early jockeying that's going on.

Read More »

TLTA is scheduling several live webinars for spring 2017. Register now, or reserve your On-Demand version today!