Saturday, March 26, 2011

Florida Legislature: Weaken Consumer Protection, Delay AMC Regulation

As if there are not enough negative vibes surrounding the appraisal profession, the Florida Legislature seems to be hell bent on weakening consumer protections in Florida's real estate and appraiser licensing laws, and delaying implementation of Appraisal Management Company registration and regulation.

CS/HB 5007 is making its way through the legislative committee process. The bill, originally with the title, "Reducing and Streamlining Regulations" includes amendments to statutes regulating several professions. Among them are real estate brokers and real estate appraisers. Although some new, necessary language was added to the Committee Substitute bill, there are two sections related to real estate with the potential to weaken consumer protection.

Section 21 of the bill effectively eliminates criminal penalties for certain violations or Chapter 475, Part I, and Sections 22 eliminates criminal penalties for certain violations of Chapter 475, Part II. The logic(?) is spelled out in pages 8 and 9 of the Staff Analysis.

After spending 8 years as an appraisal regulator, the explanation does not wash with me.

The second problem with the bill is the DELAY in the implementation of AMC Registration and Regulation until July 1, 2014. Take a look at the logic(?) presented on page 12 of the Staff Analysis.

This delay is unwise, unnecessary and foolish. Consumers, real estate brokers, real estate appraisers have been paying the price for the lack of AMC regulation. All the reasons for AMC regulation are still valid. Why does the legislature believe folks like THIS deserve to continue operating AMCs in Florida?

Alert the media, and let your representatives know that delay of AMC registration and regulation will hurt consumers.