“Not A Close Call”: The D.C. Circuit Restores The Safe Harbor To Section 8 of RESPA

By Irene C. Freidel

Noting that “[t]he basic statutory question in this case is not a close call,” the D.C. Circuit has held that a bona fide payment by one settlement service provider to another does not violate Section 8(a) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) if the payment is reasonably related to the market value of the goods, services, or facilities provided. See PHH Corp. v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (D.C. Cir. Oct. 11, 2016). The court’s conclusion was mandated by the unambiguous text of Section 8(c) of RESPA, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) long-standing interpretations of the same statutory provision.

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