As a resource for class action defense attorneys who defend against RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act) class actions, we provide the text of the statute. Congress described the authority granted to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under RESPA in 12 U.S.C. § 2617, which provides:
§ 2617. Authority of Secretary
(a) Issuance of regulations; exemptions
The Secretary is authorized to prescribe such rules and regulations, to make such interpretations, and to grant such reasonable exemptions for classes of transactions, as may be necessary to achieve the purposes of this chapter.
(b) Liability for acts done in good faith in conformity with rule, regulation, or interpretation
No provision of this chapter or the laws of any State imposing any liability shall apply to any act done or omitted in good faith in conformity with any rule, regulation, or interpretation thereof by the Secretary or the Attorney General, notwithstanding that after such act or omission has occurred, such rule, regulation, or interpretation is amended, rescinded, or determined by judicial or other authority to be invalid for any reason.
(c) Investigations; hearings; failure to obey order; contempt
(1) The Secretary may investigate any facts, conditions, practices, or matters that may be deemed necessary or proper to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, in prescribing of rules and regulations thereunder, or in securing information to serve as a basis for recommending further legislation concerning real estate settlement practices. To aid in the investigations, the Secretary is authorized to hold such hearings, administer such oaths, and require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of such witnesses and production of such documents as the Secretary deems advisable.
(2) Any district court of the United States within the jurisdiction of which an inquiry is carried on may, in the case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena of the Secretary issued under this section, issue an order requiring compliance therewith; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof.
(d) Delay of effectiveness of recent final regulation relating to payments to employees
(1) In general
The amendment to part 3500 of title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations contained in the final regulation prescribed by the Secretary and published in the Federal Register on June 7, 1996, which will, as of the effective date of such amendment–
(A) eliminate the exemption for payments by an employer to employees of such employer for referral activities which is currently codified as section 3500.14(g)(1)(vii) of such title 24; and
(B) replace such exemption with a more limited exemption in new clauses (vii), (viii), and (ix) of section 3500.14 of such title 24,
shall not take effect before July 31, 1997.
(2) Continuation of prior rule
The regulation codified as section 3500.14(g)(1)(vii) of title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, relating to employer-employee payments, as in effect on May 1, 1996, shall remain in effect until the date the amendment referred to in paragraph (1) takes effect in accordance with such paragraph.
(3) Public notice of effective date
The Secretary shall provide public notice of the date on which the amendment referred to in paragraph (1) will take effect in accordance with such paragraph not less than 90 days and not more than 180 days before such effective date.