The Giardinelli Law Group has released their September 2011 Courside Newsletter which is available for you to download. Below is one of the articles in this release.
Please click on the image below for the Courtside Newsletter Spet. 2011
MARS Enforcement Stayed Against Short Sale Listing Agents -REVISIONS TO C.A.R.’s MARS RULE Q&A
BY: SYLVIA J. SIMMONS
The California Association of REALTORS® revised its Q & A on the MARS rule in late August 2011 to reflect the announcement by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of its current position regarding enforcing the rule against REALTORS®. As of July 15, 2011, the FTC is generally not seeking enforcement of the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rules against REALTORS® who are simply trying to help their clients complete a short sale.
Short sale listing agents must meet three criteria:
- Be licensed and maintain good standing under state law;
- Be acting in compliance with state law governing the practices of brokers and agents; and
- Be assisting or attempting to assist a consumer in negotiating, obtaining or arranging a short sale of a dwelling in the course of securing the sale of the consumer’s home.
Agents who do not meet these requirements must:
- Provide the C.A.R. form MARSSN when they take short sale listings
- Provide the C.A.R. form MARSSN when they obtain a lender approval letter
- Include general commercial notice in advertisements marketing properties
- Comply with MARS’ other record keeping and monitoring requirements
The following agents must comply with the MARS rules:
- Agents who are pure short sale negotiators
- Agents who promote their services as a way to avoid foreclosure
- Agents who offer various foreclosure and loan related services
Of course, the FTC will enforce the MARS rules against any REALTOR® who engages in unfair or deceptive practices in the handling of a short sale. At this time, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is responsible for the rule-making functions of the FTC. The two agencies are required by federal law to coordinate their activities for consistent regulations. Therefore, the CFPB will follow the FTC policy, but the enforcement approach may change in the future.
For the complete MARS rule Q & A, contact the California Association of REALTORS®, or visit their website at www.car.org. For in-depth legal advice regarding the MARS rule or other real estate matters, feel free to contact The Giardinelli Law Group, APC.