Property I.D. Corporation Lawsuit against HUD
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Property I.D. Corporation the nation's leading provider of natural hazard disclosure reports, filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles today against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to stop the federal agency from continuing its drawn out investigation of the company.
In the lawsuit, Property I.D. Corporation claims HUD's investigation is outside the jurisdiction of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and was initiated by a competitor's complaint. Property I.D. Coropration is seeking declaratory relief from the federal courts.
The competitor filed the complaint with HUD because the competitor was unable to compete effectively with Property I.D. in the marketplace, according to the lawsuit. Despite the anti-competitive motivation behind the complaint, HUD nevertheless opened and pursued its investigation of Property I.D. and whether Property I.D. had violated RESPA.
HUD was looking into Property I.D. Corporation and some of its broker partners who formed joint ventures, claiming the sale of Property I.D. Cororation natural hazard disclosure reports by the joint ventures violated RESPA. The investigation is continuing despite the fact that the joint ventures ceased operating almost 18 months ago. The investigation concerns only those joint ventures and has no relation to Property I.D.'s corporate business.
To fall under the jurisdiction of RESPA, the product sold by Property I.D. Corporation would have to be a settlement service. However, natural hazard disclosure reports are not settlement services, and not part of escrow. Natural hazard reports are not listed as one of the settlement services in the RESPA statute itself. The statute mandating natural hazard disclosure reports requires them for reasons unrelated to escrow.
In fact, the Attorney General for the state of California real estate has stated that natural hazard disclosure statements are intended to be delivered prior to escrow, even before offers are made to purchase property.
California law, Assembly Bill 920, holds brokers and agents responsible in the selection of disclosure service providers. With that in mind, brokerages formed affiliations with Property I.D. Corporation to jointly educate agents on the requirements of the statute and ensure that their clients, the consumers, are provided with all of the information as required by law. In addition, whether a consumer purchases a Property I.D. Corporation NHD report referred by a brokerage or directly from Property I.D., the price paid by the consumer is always the same. No consumer has ever paid any more or less for a Property I.D. Corporation natural hazard zone disclosure report because of an affiliation.
Brokers and agents have no second choice when it comes to complete and accurate disclosure reports. Property I.D. is the only provider that has complied with all disclosure requirements and has the highest standards in the industry, securing accurate reports for consumers and their agents.
Since the HUD investigation began, Property I.D. Corporation has cooperated with the investigation and, as the founder in the industry, has helped HUD to understand the California statutorily mandated natural hazard disclosures. According to the lawsuit, despite the fact that RESPA does not apply to natural hazard disclosure reports, HUD has continued to press on with false accusations aimed at Property I.D. Corporation and brokerages. On principle, Property I.D. Corporation has decided to make a move to end this investigation and seek declaratory relief from the courts.