On July 15, 2011, the FTC announced that it would no longer enforce the provisions of the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rule on real estate professionals working with consumers in short sale transactions. As a result of the work done by NAR with the FTC to explain the difficulties real estate agents were having in complying with this regulation, the disclosures required by the MARS rule don’t have to be made in the context of a short sale.
The MARS rule requires companies offering mortgage assistance relief services to disclose certain information to consumers about the services they provide, bans collection of advance fees, and prohibits false or misleading claims. Licensed real estate professionals in good standing with state governance who assist in short sale transactions are exempt from the obligation to make disclosures and from the ban on collecting advance fees. These professionals, however, remain subject to the rule’s ban on misrepresentations.
The MARS rule still applies to other types of mortgage assistance relief, such as loan modifications and will continue to be enforced by the FTC. For additional information on the MARS rule, visit NAR’s website.