The U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2393, the “Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act of 2015,” which extends the one-year protection from foreclosure in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) through 2017. The Senate passed S. 2393 in 2015 and the legislation is expected to be signed by the President.
the FTC Consumer Blog issued a post focused on hackers who have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. After figuring out the closing dates, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes. Often, that’s money the buyer will never see again.
The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate issued its first annual report identifying the first set of issues to be addressed in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Among the challenges are lack of data, barriers to claims, application of surcharges, multi-year refunds, and flood proofing paperwork.
A coalition of environmental groups are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for not listing an isolated population of Greater Sage Grouse on the CA-NV border as endangered. Prior to the decision not to list, the FWS worked with government partners and the private sector, including developers and farmers, to preserve habitat and put in other mechanisms to protect the species. The effort was hailad as a model for the protection of other spceies.
NAR, as part of the "Marketplace Fairness Coalition," sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging its Chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to hold a hearing on internet sales tax fairness legislation. It is crucial that Congress pass legislation allowing states to collect sales tax on purchases made through online retailers. Providing a level playing field between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retailers not only helps keep traditional stores in business, but also will help bring much needed and owed revenue to the states which is currently going uncollected.
Senators Flake (R-AZ), Gardner (R-CO) and Lee (R-UT) introduced S. 2733 a bill that would address the issue of venue reform in patent litigation cases. . Last year, nearly half of all new patent infringement cases filed in the United States were filed in one judicial district. The high volume of cases filed in this district is not a coincidence. Patent Assertion Entities, otherwise known as patent trolls, take advantage of broad interpretations of current law that allow them to file their lawsuits where local rules and practices, along with physical distance, make it very expensive for companies to defend themselves. NAR supports venue reform along with a comprehensive set of patent litigation reforms aimed at curbing patent troll abuses.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the “Services”) have promulgated major changes to their critical habitat regulations. The result will be more designation of state, local and private land as critical habitat, and increased regulatory burdens and costs on land activities. Effects will be felt by a wide range of public and private sector entities across government and industry sectors, including energy, land and mineral development, real estate, banking, commercial transactions and agriculture. The changes take effect on March 14, 2016.