February 12, 2020

In This Issue:

  • Early Voting for Primary Elections Starts Tuesday, Feb. 18
  • Texas Association of Realtors: Can a Buyer Deliver the Termination Option Fee to the Title Company?
  • CFPB Issues Fall 2019 Semi-Annual Report to Congress; Kraninger Testimony Includes GSE Patch Goals
  • Insurers Look to Curb Ransomware Exposure as U.S. Cyber Rates Rise

Early Voting for Primary Elections Starts Tuesday, Feb. 18

TLTA | Feb. 11, 2020
Texas is an open-primary state. As long as you are registered to vote, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary, but not both. Regardless of the primary in which you choose to vote, you can vote for candidates of any party during the general election in November. 
 
On this year's primary election ballots you will find legislative, statewide, congressional and State Board of Education candidates. Thirty incumbent Texas legislators have primary challengers (28 in the House, two in the Senate). Fourteen incumbent Texas legislators have vacated their seats (13 in the House, one in the Senate), leaving those seats up for grabs. 
 
As you know, the Texas Legislature governs our regulated industry, and our industry cannot count on the support of business-friendly, community-driven lawmakers if we don't show up at the polls and give them our votes. Voter turnout in Texas is the among the lowest in the nation, so please make a plan to vote early next week, and be sure to remind your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers that voting is one of our country's most cherished liberties.
 
As always, if you would like to discuss any of the candidates on your ballot or the impact of this election on our industry, please contact TLTA's Government Affairs Director, Aaron Day
 
Early Voting: Feb 18-28 
Primary Election: March 3 

 
Where and When to Vote From Texas Secretary of State »
More Primary Election Information From the Texas Tribune »
 

Texas Association of Realtors: Can a Buyer Deliver the Termination Option Fee to the Title Company?

Texas Association of Realtors | Jan. 28, 2020
Delivering the termination option fee to the title company puts the buyer at risk of not having an unrestricted right to terminate the contract. Paragraph 23 of the TREC One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) requires the option fee to be delivered to the seller or the seller's agent—not the title company—within three days after the effective date of the contract. If the option fee is instead delivered to the title company, this provision has not been satisfied. Paragraph 23 also specifies that strict compliance with the time for performance is required. If the termination option fee is delivered to the title company but the title company does not provide it to the seller or seller's agent by the deadline, the buyer does not have a valid termination option.  
 
Editor's Note: The Texas Association of Realtors shared the information above on their website. TLTA recently submitted a letter to the Texas Real Estate Commission's Broker Lawyer Committee proposing changes to the termination option language included in TREC contract forms.
 
Read TLTA's Letter to TREC's Broker Lawyer Committee »
 

CFPB Issues Fall 2019 Semi-Annual Report to Congress; Kraninger Testimony Includes QM /GSE Patch Goals

ALTA | Feb. 10, 2020
Ahead of Director Kathy Kraninger's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee last week, the CFPB issued its Fall 2019 Semi-Annual Report to Congress. This report covers the agency's activity from April 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2019.
 
The report continues Director Kraninger's practice of not providing aggregate numbers on consumer relief and civil money penalties.
 
During her appearance before the House, Kraninger responded to several inquiries regarding the Qualified Mortgage patch. She indicated that the CFPB's goal is not to encourage looser underwriting, even if it eliminates the 43 percent debt-to-income requirement under the qualified mortgage rule. Kraninger also indicated that a replacement for the QM patch will be proposed by May. If you have any questions, please contact Emily Tryon at etryon@alta.org.
 

Insurers Look to Curb Ransomware Exposure as U.S. Cyber Rates Rise

Reuters | Jan. 22, 2020
U.S. insurers are ramping up cyber-insurance rates by as much as 25% and trying to curb exposure to vulnerable customers after a surge of costly claims, industry sources said.
The changes follow a challenging year of hackers using malicious programs, known as ransomware, to take down systems that control everything from hospital billing to manufacturing. They stop only after receiving increasingly hefty payments.

The attacks happened less frequently in 2019, but the problem remains significant, cybersecurity experts said.

“Ransomware is more sophisticated and dangerous than we saw in the past,” said Adam Kujawa, director of Malwarebytes Labs.

There were 6% fewer ransomware incidents in 2019 versus the prior year, according to Malwarebytes. However, attacks are now designed to spur deeper and more lasting technological problems, with hackers demanding bigger sums.

The average ransom of $41,198 during the 2019 third quarter more than tripled from the first quarter, according to Coveware, which helps negotiate and facilitate the payments.
 
Read More »
Learn More Via TLTA's Cyber Security Resources »

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