Foreclosure Bill

Foreclosure Prevention
Act of 2008

Title I: FHA Modernization Act of 2008


Building American Homeownership Act of 2008

(Sec. 112 ) Amends the National Housing Act (NHA) to revise mortgage insurance eligibility requirements. Alters the respective formulas to increase the percentages of the maximum principal loan obligations applicable to
family residences located in:

(1) the United States; and
(2) Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, or the Virgin Islands.
Prohibits the maximum principal loan obligation from exceeding 100% of the appraised value of the property.

(Sec. 113) Increases from 3% to 3.5% of the appraised value of a property the mortgagor’s required cash (or equivalent) investment (downpayment). Prohibits any funds for such cash investment from: (1) the seller or any other person or entity
benefiting financially from the transaction (seller-funded downpayment assistance); or (2) any third party or entity reimbursed by any of such parties.

(Sec. 114) Increases maximum mortgage insurance premiums for certain small family dwellings that are an obligation of the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF). Removes General Insurance Fund (GIF) and condominium mortgages from application of premium requirements (leaving only MMIF mortgages subject to such requirements).

(Sec. 115) Repeals the termination date for, thus making permanent, the authority of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to insure loans for rehabilitation of one- to four-family structures used primarily for residential purposes.

Replaces all references to the GIF with references to the MMIF.

(Sec. 116) Instructs the Secretary to notify the Secretary of Agriculture (instead of the Administrator of the Farmers Home Administration, as under current law) whenever HUD acts to suspend or revoke the approval of any mortgagee to
participate in the mortgage insurance program.

(Sec. 117) Requires any mortgage in a one-family unit in a condominium project insured by HUD to have a blanket mortgage also insured by HUD. Redefines mortgage to include a one-family condominium unit in certain multifamily projects.

(Sec. 118) Revises requirements governing the MMIF. Limits commitments for loan guarantees to those specified in appropriations Acts. Requires an annual independent actuarial study of the Fund, as well as quarterly reports to Congress.

Authorizes the Secretary to adjust premiums and other features of the program as necessary to reduce the risk to the Fund if it is not meeting specified operational goals, including the institution of fraud prevention quality control screening.

(Sec. 119) Revises requirements for single-family mortgage insurance on Hawaiian home lands and on Indian reservations to replace the GIF with the MMIF as the obligated Fund.

(Sec. 121) Redefines “home mortgage” and “mortgage” in connection with cooperative housing projects to include a subordinate mortgage.

(Sec. 122) Requires the mortgagor of a home equity conversion mortgage (reverse mortgage) to receive counseling from an independent third party that is neither associated with nor compensated by a party involved in: (1) originating or servicing
the mortgage; (2) funding the loan underlying the mortgage; or (3) the sale of annuities, investments, long-term care insurance, or any other type of financial or insurance product. Requires the Secretary to establish mandatory qualification standards and uniform counseling protocols for counselors for home equity conversion mortgages for elderly homeowners.

Repeals the mandatory waiver of upfront premiums for mortgages that fund long-term care insurance.

Revises funding for consumer education counseling and outreach to authorize the Secretary to use a portion of the mortgage insurance premiums to fund mandatory counseling and disclosure activities, including counseling for homeowners who elect not to take out a home equity conversion mortgage.

Authorizes the Secretary to insure a home equity conversion mortgage that will be used to purchase a one- to four-family dwelling unit, one unit of which the mortgagor will occupy as a primary residence, and to provide for any future payments to the mortgagor, based upon available equity. Sets a limit upon such principal obligation.

Prohibits mortgage originators from participating or associating with or employing any party that participates in or is associated with any other financial or insurance activity. Requires mortgage originators, in the alternative to such outright prohibition, to demonstrate that the mortgagee or other party will maintain safeguards designed to ensure that: (1) mortgage origination participants have no involvement with nor incentive to provide the mortgagor with any other financial or insurance product; and (2) the mortgagor shall not be required, as a condition of obtaining a mortgage, to purchase any other financial or insurance product.

Requires all mortgage origination participants in a HUD-insured mortgage to be HUD-approved.

Declares that a mortgagor shall not be required by the mortgagee to purchase an insurance, annuity, or other additional product as a prerequisite to eligibility for a mortgage.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) study consumer protections and underwriting standards to ensure that product purchases are appropriate for the consumer; and (2) establish specified limits on the origination fee that may be charged to a mortgagor
under a HUD-insured mortgage.

Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on the costs and availability of credit under the home equity conversion mortgages for elderly homeowners program.

(Sec. 123) Amends the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to: (1) modify the maximum permissible costs of cost-effective energy efficiency improvements; and (2) prohibit the aggregate number of mortgages insured under the Energy Efficient Mortgages
Pilot Program in any fiscal year from exceeding 5% of the aggregate number of mortgages for one- to four-family HUD-insured residences during the preceding fiscal year.

(Sec. 124) Directs the Secretary to implement a five-year pilot program to establish, and make available to mortgagees, an automated process for providing alternative credit rating information for mortgagors under HUD-insured mortgages on one- to four-family residences who have insufficient credit histories to determine their creditworthiness. Permits such alternative credit rating information to include rent, utilities, and insurance payment histories.

Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on: (1) the number of additional mortgagors served using such automated process; and (2) the impact of such process and its attendant mortgage insurance upon the safety and
soundness of the insurance funds under the NHA.

(Sec. 125) Instructs the Secretary and the Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to: (1) develop and implement a plan to improve the FHA loss mitigation process; and (2) report such plan to certain congressional committees.

(Sec. 126) Authorizes appropriations for FY2009-FY2013 from negative credit subsidy for: (1) certain mortgage insurance programs to improve technology, processes, program performance, eliminate fraud; and (2) for appropriate staffing in
connection with such mortgage insurance programs. Directs the Secretary to study and report to Congress on recommendations from participants in the private residential mortgage lending business and the secondary market for such mortgages on upgrades to processes and technologies for certain mortgage insurance programs so that origination, insurance, and servicing procedures conform with those customarily used by secondary market purchasers of residential mortgage loans.

(Sec. 127) Amends the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 to revise the eligibility criterion for home ownership counseling involving inability to make or resume full home loan payments, or correct a home loan delinquency within a reasonable time, due to a reduction in the homeowner’s income. Includes as possible causes of such an inability: (1) reduction in income due to divorce or death; or (2) a significant increase in basic expenses due to medical expenses, specified property damage, or large property-tax increase.

Adds as a new eligibility criterion a HUD determination that the homeowner’s annual income is no greater than established annual income of low- or moderate-income.

Repeals the eligibility criteria that: (1) the applicant be a first-time homebuyer meeting certain requirements; and (2) the mortgage involve a principal obligation exceeding 97% of the property’s appraised value, and soon be insured.

(Sec. 128) Requires the Secretary to establish a demonstration program to test the effectiveness of alternative forms of pre-purchase home ownership counseling for eligible home buyers.

(Sec. 129) Amends federal criminal law to subject to criminal penalties knowingly false statements, as well as willful overvaluations of land, property, or security, made to the FHA in connection with an insurance agreement or application for insurance or a guarantee, as well as other specified financial transactions.

(Sec. 130) Specifies limits and conditions on mortgage insurance premium increases. (Sec. 133) Imposes a 12-month moratorium upon implementation of specified risk-based premiums designed for mortgage lenders to offer borrowers an
FHA-insured product that provides a range of mortgage insurance premium pricing, based upon the risk the insurance contract represents.

Subtitle B: Manufactured Housing Loan Modernization – FHA Manufactured Housing Loan Modernization Act of 2008 – (Sec. 143) Amends the NHA to exempt a manufactured home or its lot from the prohibition against FHA insurance exceeding
10% of the total amount of a financial institution’s loans, advances of credit, and purchases.

(Sec. 144) Declares that: (1) any contract of insurance for a financial institution regarding loans, advances of credit, or purchases for a manufactured home (or its lot) that is executed by the Secretary under this Act is conclusive evidence of the
institution’s eligibility for insurance; and (2) the validity of such a contract is incontestable.

(Sec. 145) Increases the maximum loan limits placed upon insurance to financial institutions, and requires annual indexing.

(Sec. 146) Sets forth the manner in which insurance premiums under a loan, credit advance, or purchase in connection with manufactured home loans shall be paid by the borrower.

(Sec. 147) Revises requirements for the manner in which HUD shall handle and dispose of property acquired by the Secretary in connection with the payment of insurance.

(Sec. 148) Directs the Secretary to establish underwriting criteria for loans and advances of credit governing a manufactured home (and/or its lot) to ensure that the program for insurance for financial institutions against losses from such loans,
advances of credit, and purchases is financially sound.

(Sec. 149) Applies the prohibition against kickbacks and unearned fees in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA) to each sale of a manufactured home financed with an FHA-insured loan or extension of credit and related services.

Directs the Secretary to prohibit acts or practices in connection with FHA-financed loans or extensions of credit for the purchase of a manufactured home that the HUD finds to be unfair, deceptive, or otherwise not in the borrower’s interests.

(Sec. 150) Prohibits granting FHA insurance to a financial institution for any obligation made to finance a manufactured home intended to be located in a manufactured home community pursuant to a lease, unless the lease meets specified leasehold
requirements, including an initial, renewable term of at least three years.

Title II: Mortgage Foreclosure Protections for Servicemembers – (Sec. 201) Sets forth a temporary increase, through December 31, 2008, in the maximum loan guaranty amount for certain housing loans guaranteed by the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs.

(Sec. 202) Directs the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement a program to advise members of the Armed Forces who are returning from active duty abroad on actions to prevent or forestall mortgage foreclosures, including credit counseling and home mortgage counseling.

(Sec. 203) Amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to increase from 90 days to nine months the period of: (1) protection against mortgage foreclosure proceedings; and (2) the stay of proceedings and adjustment of mortgage obligations. Sunsets such provisions December 31, 2010.

Revises the 6% interest rate limitation during the period of military service for debts incurred before military service whose interest rate did not exceed that percentage. Extends the 6% limitation for one year beyond the period of military service if the debt is a mortgage, trust deed, or other security in the nature of a mortgage.

Title III: Emergency Assistance for the Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes – (Sec. 301) Appropriates funds for assistance to state and local governments to redevelop abandoned and foreclosed homes and residential properties.

Sets forth allocation and distribution requirements, including a low- and moderate income requirement.

(Sec. 302) Requires each state to receive not less than 0.5% of emergency assistance funds for such redevelopment.

(Sec. 303) Prohibits a state or local governmental unit from using emergency assistance funds to fund any project that seeks to use the power of eminent domain, unless eminent domain is employed only for a public use. Prohibits public use from
being construed to include economic development that primarily benefits private entities.

(Sec. 304) Prohibits the distribution of funds made available under this title or title IV to an organization which: (1) has been indicted for a violation under federal law relating to an election for federal office; or (2) employs individuals who have been
indicted for such a violation.

(Sec. 305) Appropriates specified amounts for emergency assistance and for housing counseling resources.

Allocates $30 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC) to: (1) make grants to HUD-approved counseling intermediaries; or (2) hire attorneys to assist homeowners who have legal issues directly related to foreclosure, delinquency, or short sale.

Title IV: Housing Counseling Resources – (Sec. 401) Appropriates funds for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC) to remain available until September 30, 2008, for foreclosure mitigation (namely housing counseling) activities.

(Sec. 402) Requires entities approved by the NRC, HUD, or state housing finance entities receiving funds under this Act to identify and coordinate with nonprofit organizations operating national or statewide toll-free foreclosure prevention hotlines.

Title V: Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act – Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act of 2008 – (Sec. 502) Amends the Truth in Lending Act to set forth additional disclosure requirements governing any extensions of credit (not only mortgages)
secured by the dwelling of the consumer.

Requires such disclosures, among other things, to: (1) inform the consumer that payments will vary based on interest rate changes; and (2) be received by the consumer before paying any fee to the creditor or other person in connection with
the consumer’s application for an extension of credit secured by the consumer’s dwelling. Allows the consumer to waive the timeliness of such disclosures in emergency circumstances.

Increases the actual damages for which a creditor is liable for noncompliance with such Act in the case of an individual action relating to a credit transaction not under an open end credit plan that is secured by real property or a dwelling. Replaces the
current range of damages from $200 to $2,000 with a range from $400 to $4,000.

(Sec. 504) Amends the Federal Home Loan Bank Act regarding affordable housing program standards to require the Federal Housing Finance Board’s regulations to permit Federal Home Loan Banks to use certain subsidized advances, during the
two-year period following enactment of this Act, to refinance loans secured by a first mortgage on a primary residence of any family having an income at or below 80% of the median income for the area.

Title VI: Tax-Related Provisions – (Sec. 601) Allows taxpayers to elect an extended four-year net operating loss carryback period (currently, two years) for losses arising in 2008 or 2009. Suspends in 2008 and 2009 limitations on net operating loss carrybacks for purposes of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe rules to prevent abuse of such extended carryback provisions.

(Sec. 602) Allows the use of qualified mortgage bond proceeds to refinance subprime residential mortgages. Increases to $10 billion in 2008 the volume cap for such bonds. Exempts tax-exempt interest from such bonds from the AMT.

(Sec. 603) Allows a one-time tax credit of up to $7,000 of the purchase price of a single-family principal residence in oreclosure.

(Sec. 604) Allows taxpayers who do not itemize their tax deductions to take an additional standard deduction for real property taxes.

(Sec. 605) Allows corporate taxpayers an election to claim accelerated AMT and research and development credits in lieu of bonus depreciation.

(Sec. 606) Allows taxpayers who claimed a casualty loss deduction for damage to a personal residence caused by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Wilma and who subsequently received a grant as compensation for such damage to file an amended
tax return to disallow the casualty loss deduction without payment of any tax penalty.

(Sec. 607) Eliminates the deadline for beginning construction projects in the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone for purposes of bonus depreciation eligibility.

(Sec. 608) Extends to businesses and individuals in certain Kansas counties declared by the President as major disaster areas under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (FEMA-1699-DR, as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act) by reason of severe storms and tornados beginning on May 4, 2007, provisions of the Internal Revenue Code allowing: (1) suspension of certain limitations on personal casualty losses; (2) an extension of the period for replacing damaged property without recognizing gain; (3) an employee retention tax credit for affected businesses; (4) 50% bonus depreciation for affected businesses; (5) increased expensing of small business assets; (6) increased expensing of demolition and cleanup costs; (7) extended net operating loss carryback periods for losses attributable to storms and tornadoes and for public utility property disaster losses; (8) relaxed income verification requirements for tenants in low-income rental projects; and (9) penalty-free withdrawals and loans from individual retirement accounts and other tax-exempt pension plans. Designates this provision as an emergency requirement for budgetary purposes.

Title VII: Emergency Designation – Designates all provisions of this Act, for purposes of Senate enforcement, as emergency requirements and necessary to meet emergency needs pursuant the concurrent resolution on the budget for FY2008.

Title VIII: REIT Investment Diversification and Empowerment – REIT Investment Diversification and Empowerment Act of 2008 – Subtitle A: Taxable REIT Subsidiaries – Amends Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to real estate investment trusts (REITs) to increase from 20 to 25% the the maximum value of an REIT’s total assets that may be represented by securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Subtitle B: Dealer Sales – Reduces from four to two years the REIT safe harbor holding period for purposes of the exemption from the tax on income from prohibited transactions

Revises the amounts of sales in a taxable year that qualify for the prohibited transactions tax safe harbor to allow sales 10% of the aggregate bases of all assets in an REIT or 10% of the aggregate fair market value of all assets in an REIT.

Subtitle C: Health Care REITs – Treats rental payments made by a health care facility to an REIT as qualifying REIT income.

Subtitle D: Effective Dates and Sunset – (Sec. 841) Sets forth as the general effective date for provisions of this Act taxable years beginning after the enactment of this Act. Establishes a terminating date (sunset) for amendments made by this Title of five years after enactment.

Title IX: Veterans Housing Matters – (Sec. 901) Amends federal law to authorize the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs (Secretary in this title) to furnish improvements and structural alterations as part of home health services to a member of the Armed
Forces who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment for a permanent service-connected disability if the member is determined likely to be discharged or released from the Armed Forces for such disability.

(Sec. 902) Authorizes the Secretary to provide assistance for specially adapted housing to: (1) an active-duty member of the Armed Forces with certain service-connected disabilities; and (2) such members who reside outside the United States.

(Sec. 903) Makes individuals with severe burn injuries eligible for specially adapted housing assistance.

(Sec. 904) Extends through December 31, 2011, the period of assistance for individuals residing temporarily in housing owned by a family member.

(Sec. 905) Increases: (1) from $10,000 to $12,000 the maximum assistance authorized for specially adapted housing benefits for disabled veterans; and (2) from $50,000 to $60,000 and from $10,000 to $12,000 the aggregate amount of specially adapted housing assistance available to veterans with different specified disabilities. Requires annual increases in such amounts for inflation. Instructs the Secretary, with respect to such annual increases, to establish a residential home cost-of-construction index to reflect a uniform, national average change in the cost of residential home construction.

(Sec. 906) Directs the Secretary to report to certain congressional committees on the adequacy of the authorities available to the Secretary to assist eligible disabled individuals in acquiring: (1) suitable housing units with special fixtures or movable
facilities required for their disabilities and the necessary land; (2) necessary adaptations to their residences because of their disabilities; and (3) residences already adapted with special features determined to be necessary as a result of such disabilities.

(Sec. 907) Instructs the Secretary to report to certain congressional committees on specially adapted housing assistance for individuals who reside in housing owned by a family member on a permanent basis.

(Sec. 908) Amends the United States Housing Act of 1937 to exclude from income for purposes of public rental housing programs any deferred Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits that are received in a lump sum amount or in prospective monthly amounts.

(Sec. 909) Revises requirements for pay and allowances for the Uniformed Services to entitle members of the Armed Forces who relocate from leased or rental housing by reason of foreclosure to transportation of baggage and household effects under the same conditions and limitations as similarly circumstanced members entitled to transportation of baggage and household effects.

Title X: Clean Energy Tax Stimulus – Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008 – Subtitle A: Extension of Clean Energy Production Incentives – (Sec. 1011) Extends through 2009 the tax credit for the production of electricity from renewable resources (e.g., biomass, geothermal energy, landfill gas, and trash combustion). Includes marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy as a renewable resource eligible for such credit. Allows sales of electricity produced from renewable resources to regulated public utilities. Modifies the definition of “trash combustion facilities” for purposes of such credit.

(Sec. 1012) Extends the energy investment tax credits for solar energy (through 2016) and for fuel cell and microturbine property (through 2017). Allows an offset against alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability for energy tax credit amounts. Repeals the dollar per kilowatt limitation for fuel cell property under the energy investment tax credit. Allows public electric utilities to qualify for such credit.

(Sec. 1013) Extends through 2009 the tax credit for residential energy efficient property expenditures. Repeals the $2,000 limitation on the tax credit for solar electric property. Allows an offset against the AMT of tax credit amounts.

(Sec. 1014) Extends through 2009 the tax credit for investment in clean renewable energy bonds. Increases the national limitation amount for such bonds.

(Sec. 1015) Extends through 2009 deferral provisions relating to the recognition of gain by certain electric utilities.

Subtitle B: Extension of Incentives to Improve Energy Efficiency – (Sec. 1021) Extends through 2009 the tax credit for residential energy efficiency improvements. Allows a tax credit for stoves using the burning of biomass fuel (any plant-derived fuel available on a renewable or recurring basis) to heat a residence. Modifies energy efficiency standards for electric heat pumps, central air conditioners, water heaters, and oil furnaces and hot water boilers for purposes of such credit.

(Sec. 1022) Extends through 2010 the tax credit for new energy efficient homes.

(Sec. 1023) Extends through 2009 the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings. Increases the maximum amount of such deduction.

(Sec. 1024) Extends through 2009 the tax credit for energy efficient appliances (i.e., dishwashers, clothes washers, and refrigerators). Modifies energy efficiency standards for such appliances.

Title XI: Sense of the Senate – (Sec. 1101) Expresses the sense of the Senate that, in implementing any provision or amendment under this Act, the Senate supports a policy of noninterference in connection with local government requirements that the holder of a foreclosed property maintain that property.

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