Collapse to view only § 1701. Definitions
- § 1701. Definitions
- § 1702. Exemptions
- § 1703. Requirements respecting sale or lease of lots
- § 1704. Registration of subdivisions
- § 1705. Information required in statement of record
- § 1706. Effective date of statements of record and amendments thereto
- § 1707. Property report
- § 1708. Certification of substantially equivalent State law
- § 1709. Civil liabilities
- § 1710. Court review of orders
- § 1711. Limitation of actions
- § 1712. Contrary stipulations void
- § 1713. Additional remedies
- § 1714. Investigations, injunctions, and prosecution of offenses
- § 1715. Administration
- § 1716. Unlawful representations
- § 1717. Penalties for violations
- § 1717a. Civil money penalties
- § 1718. Rules, regulations, and orders
- § 1719. Jurisdiction of offenses and suits
- § 1719a. Repealed.
- § 1720. Authorization of appropriations
The Director may from time to time, pursuant to rules and regulations issued by him, exempt from any of the provisions of this chapter any subdivision or any lots in a subdivision, if he finds that the enforcement of this chapter with respect to such subdivision or lots is not necessary in the public interest and for the protection of purchasers by reason or the small amount involved or the limited character of the public offering.
Any contract or agreement for the sale or lease of a lot not exempt under section 1702 of this title may be revoked at the option of the purchaser or lessee until midnight of the seventh day following the signing of such contract or agreement or until such later time as may be required pursuant to applicable State laws, and such contract or agreement shall clearly provide this right.
In the case of any contract or agreement for the sale or lease of a lot for which a property report is required by this chapter and the property report has not been given to the purchaser or lessee in advance of his or her signing such contract or agreement, such contract or agreement may be revoked at the option of the purchaser or lessee within two years from the date of such signing, and such contract or agreement shall clearly provide this right.
If a contract or agreement is revoked pursuant to subsection (b), (c), or (d), if the purchaser or lessee tenders to the seller or lessor (or successor thereof) an instrument conveying his or her rights and interests in the lot, and if the rights and interests and the lot are in a condition which is substantially similar to the condition in which they were conveyed or purported to be conveyed to the purchaser or lessee, such purchaser or lessee shall be entitled to all money paid by him or her under such contract or agreement.
A subdivision may be registered by filing with the Director a statement of record, meeting the requirements of this chapter and such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Director in furtherance of the provisions of this chapter. A statement of record shall be deemed effective only as to the lots specified therein.
At the time of filing a statement of record, or any amendment thereto, the developer shall pay to the Director a fee, not in excess of $1,000, in accordance with a schedule to be fixed by the regulations of the Director, which fees may be used by the Director to cover all or part of the cost of rendering services under this chapter, and such expenses as are paid from such fees shall be considered nonadministrative.
The filing with the Director of a statement of record, or of an amendment thereto, shall be deemed to have taken place upon the receipt thereof, accompanied by payment of the fee required by subsection (b).
The information contained in or filed with any statement of record shall be made available to the public under such regulations as the Director may prescribe and copies thereof shall be furnished to every applicant at such reasonable charge as the Director may prescribe.
Except as hereinafter provided, the effective date of a statement of record, or any amendment thereto, shall be the thirtieth day after the filing thereof or such earlier date as the Director may determine, having due regard to the public interest and the protection of purchasers. If any amendment to any such statement is filed prior to the effective date of the statement, the statement shall be deemed to have been filed when such amendment was filed; except that such an amendment filed with the consent of the Director, or filed pursuant to an order of the Director, shall be treated as being filed as of the date of the filing of the statement of record. When a developer records additional lands to be offered for disposition, he may consolidate the subsequent statement of record with any earlier recording offering subdivided land for disposition under the same promotional plan. At the time of consolidation the developer shall include in the consolidated statement of record any material changes in the information contained in the earlier statement.
If it appears to the Director that a statement of record, or any amendment thereto, is on its face incomplete or inaccurate in any material respect, the Director shall so advise the developer within a reasonable time after the filing of the statement or the amendment, but prior to the date the statement or amendment would otherwise be effective. Such notification shall serve to suspend the effective date of the statement or the amendment until thirty days after the developer files such additional information as the Director shall require. Any developer, upon receipt of such notice, may request a hearing, and such hearing shall be held within twenty days of receipt of such request by the Director.
If, at any time subsequent to the effective date of a statement of record, a change shall occur affecting any material fact required to be contained in the statement, the developer shall promptly file an amendment thereto. Upon receipt of any such amendment, the Director may, if he determines such action to be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of purchasers, suspend the statement of record until the amendment becomes effective.
If it appears to the Director at any time that a statement of record, which is in effect, includes any untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state any material fact required to be stated therein or necessary to make the statements therein not misleading, the Director may, after notice, and after opportunity for hearing (at a time fixed by the Director) within fifteen days after such notice, issue an order suspending the statement of record. When such statement has been amended in accordance with such order, the Director shall so declare and thereupon the order shall cease to be effective.
The Director is hereby empowered to make an examination in any case to determine whether an order should issue under subsection (d). In making such examination, the Director or anyone designated by him shall have access to and may demand the production of any books and papers of, and may administer oaths and affirmations to and examine, the developer, any agents or any other person, in respect of any matter relevant to the examination. If the developer or any agents shall fail to cooperate, or shall obstruct or refuse to permit the making of an examination, such conduct shall be proper ground for the issuance of an order suspending the statement of record.
Any notice required under this section shall be sent to or served on the developer or his authorized agent.
A property report relating to the lots in a subdivision shall contain such of the information contained in the statement of record, and any amendments thereto, as the Director may deem necessary, but need not include the documents referred to in paragraphs (7) to (11), inclusive, of section 1705 of this title. A property report shall also contain such other information as the Director may by rules or regulations require as being necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of purchasers.
The property report shall not be used for any promotional purposes before the statement of record becomes effective and then only if it is used in its entirety. No person may advertise or represent that the Director approves or recommends the subdivision or the sale or lease of lots therein. No portion of the property report shall be underscored, italicized, or printed in larger or bolder type than the balance of the statement unless the Director requires or permits it.
After the Director has certified a State under subsection (a), the Director shall accept for filing under sections 1704 through 1707 of this title (and declare effective as the Federal statement of record and property report which shall be used in all States in which the lots are offered for sale or lease) disclosure materials found acceptable, and any related documentation required, by State authorities in connection with the sale or lease of lots located within the State. The Director may accept for such filing, and declare effective as the Federal statement of record and property report, such materials and documentation found acceptable by the State in connection with the sale or lease of lots located outside that State. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the Director from exercising the authority conferred by subsections (d) and (e) of section 1706 of this title.
If a State fails to meet the standards for certification pursuant to subsection (a), the Director shall notify the State in writing of the changes in State law, regulation, or administration that are needed in order to obtain certification.
The Director shall periodically review the laws and regulations, and the administration thereof, of States certified under subsection (a), and may withdraw such certification upon a determination that such laws, regulations, and the administration thereof, taken as a whole, no longer meet the requirements of subsection (a).
Nothing in this chapter may be construed to prevent or limit the authority of any State or local government to enact and enforce with regard to the sale of land any law, ordinance, or code not in conflict with this chapter. In administering this chapter, the Director shall cooperate with State authorities charged with the responsibility of regulating the sale or lease of lots which are subject to this chapter.
A purchaser or lessee may bring an action at law or in equity against a developer or agent if the sale or lease was made in violation of section 1703(a) of this title. In a suit authorized by this subsection, the court may order damages, specific performance, or such other relief as the court deems fair, just, and equitable. In determining such relief the court may take into account, but not be limited to, the following factors: the contract price of the lot or leasehold; the amount the purchaser or lessee actually paid; the cost of any improvements to the lot; the fair market value of the lot or leasehold at the time relief is determined; and the fair market value of the lot or leasehold at the time such lot was purchased or leased.
A purchaser or lessee may bring an action at law or in equity against the seller or lessor (or successor thereof) to enforce any right under subsection (b), (c), (d), or (e) of section 1703 of this title.
The amount recoverable in a suit authorized by this section may include, in addition to matters specified in subsections (a) and (b), interest, court costs, and reasonable amounts for attorneys’ fees, independent appraisers’ fees, and travel to and from the lot.
Every person who becomes liable to make any payment under this section may recover contribution as in cases of contract from any person who, if sued separately, would have been liable to make the same payment.
Any person, aggrieved by an order or determination of the Director issued after a hearing, may obtain a review of such order or determination in the court of appeals of the United States, within any circuit wherein such person resides or has his principal place of business, or in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, by filing in such court, within sixty days after the entry of such order or determination, a written petition praying that the order or determination of the Director be modified or be set aside in whole or in part. A copy of such petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court to the Director, and thereupon the Director shall file in the court the record upon which the order or determination complained of was entered, as provided in section 2112 of title 28. No objection to an order or determination of the Director shall be considered by the court unless such objection shall have been urged before the Director. The finding of the Director as to the facts, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive. If either party shall apply to the court for leave to adduce additional evidence, and shall show to the satisfaction of the court that such additional evidence is material and that there were reasonable grounds for failure to adduce such evidence in the hearing before the Director, the court may order such additional evidence to be taken before the Director and to be adduced upon a hearing in such manner and upon such terms and conditions as to the court may seem proper. The Director may modify his findings as to the facts by reason of the additional evidence so taken, and shall file such modified or new findings, which, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive, and his recommendation, if any, for the modification or setting aside of the original order. Upon the filing of such petition, the jurisdiction of the court shall be exclusive and its judgment and decree, affirming, modifying, or setting aside, in whole or in part, any order of the Director, shall be final, subject to review by the Supreme Court of the United States upon certiorari or certification as provided in section 1254 of title 28.
The commencement of proceedings under subsection (a) shall not, unless specifically ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the Secretary’s 1
No action shall be maintained under section 1709 of this title to enforce a right created under subsection (b), (c), (d), or (e) of section 1703 of this title unless brought within three years after the signing of the contract or lease, notwithstanding delivery of a deed to a purchaser.
Any condition, stipulation, or provision binding any person acquiring any lot in a subdivision to waive compliance with any provision of this chapter or of the rules and regulations of the Director shall be void.
The rights and remedies provided by this chapter shall be in addition to any and all other rights and remedies that may exist at law or in equity.
Whenever it shall appear to the Director that any person is engaged or about to engage in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation prescribed pursuant thereto, he may, in his discretion, bring an action in any district court of the United States, or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin such acts or practices, and, upon a proper showing, a permanent or temporary injunction or restraining order shall be granted without bond. The Director may transmit such evidence as may be available concerning such acts or practices to the Attorney General who may, in his discretion, institute the appropriate criminal proceedings under this chapter.
The Director may, in his discretion, make such investigations as he deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation prescribed pursuant thereto, and may require or permit any person to file with him a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise as the Director shall determine, as to all the facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated. The Director is authorized, in his discretion, to publish information concerning any such violations, and to investigate any facts, conditions, practices, or matters which he may deem necessary or proper to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, in the prescribing of rules and regulations thereunder, or in securing information to serve as a basis for recommending further legislation concerning the matters to which this chapter relates.
For the purpose of any such investigation, or any other proceeding under this chapter; the Director, or any officer designated by him, is empowered to administer oaths and affirmations, subpena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memorandums, or other records which the Director deems relevant or material to the inquiry. Such attendance of witnesses and the production of any such records may be required from any place in the United States or any State at any designated place of hearing.
In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpena issued to, any person, the Director may invoke the aid of any court of the United States within the jurisdiction of which such investigation or proceeding is carried on, or where such person resides or carries on business, in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memorandums, and other records and documents. And such court may issue an order requiring such person to appear before the Director or any officer designated by the Director, there to produce records, if so ordered, or to give testimony touching the matter under investigation or in question; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof. All process in any such case may be served in the judicial district whereof such person is an inhabitant or wherever he may be found.
The authority and responsibility for administering this chapter shall be in the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection who may delegate any of his functions, duties, and powers to employees of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection or to boards of such employees, including functions, duties, and powers with respect to investigating, hearing, determining, ordering, or otherwise acting as to any work, business, or matter under this chapter. The persons to whom such delegations are made with respect to hearing functions, duties, and powers shall be appointed and shall serve in the Bureau in compliance with sections 3105, 3344, 5372, and 7521 of title 5. The Director shall by rule prescribe such rights of appeal from the decisions of his administrative law judges to other administrative law judges or to other officers in the Bureau, to boards of officers or to himself, as shall be appropriate and in accordance with law.
All hearings shall be public and appropriate records thereof shall be kept, and any order issued after such hearing shall be based on the record made in such hearing which shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of subchapter II of chapter 5, and chapter 7, of title 5.
The Director shall conduct all actions with respect to rulemaking or adjudication under this chapter in accordance with the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5. Notice shall be given of any adverse action or final disposition and such notice and the entry of any order shall be accompanied by a written statement of supporting facts and legal authority.
The fact that a statement of record with respect to a subdivision has been filed or is in effect shall not be deemed a finding by the Director that the statement of record is true and accurate on its face, or be held to mean the Director has in any way passed upon the merits of, or given approval to, such subdivision. It shall be unlawful to make, or cause to be made, to any prospective purchaser any representation contrary to the foregoing.
Any person who willfully violates any of the provisions of this chapter, or the rules and regulations prescribed pursuant thereto, or any person who willfully, in a statement of record filed under, or in a property report issued pursuant to, this chapter, makes any untrue statement of a material fact or omits to state any material fact required to be stated therein, shall upon conviction be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Whenever any person knowingly and materially violates any of the provisions of this chapter or any rule, regulation, or order issued under this chapter, the Director may impose a civil money penalty on such person in accordance with the provisions of this section. The penalty shall be in addition to any other available civil remedy or any available criminal penalty, and may be imposed whether or not the Director imposes other administrative sanctions.
The amount of the penalty, as determined by the Director, may not exceed $1,000 for each violation, except that the maximum penalty for all violations by a particular person during any 1-year period shall not exceed $1,000,000. Each violation of this chapter, or any rule, regulation, or order issued under this chapter, shall constitute a separate violation with respect to each sale or lease or offer to sell or lease. In the case of a continuing violation, as determined by the Director, each day shall constitute a separate violation.
If no hearing is requested within 15 days of receipt of the notice of opportunity for hearing, the imposition of the penalty shall constitute a final and unappealable determination. If the Director reviews the determination or order, the Director may affirm, modify, or reverse that determination or order. If the Director does not review the determination or order within 90 days of the issuance of the determination or order, the determination or order shall be final.
In determining the amount of a penalty under subsection (a), consideration shall be given to such factors as the gravity of the offense, any history of prior offenses (including offenses occurring before December 15, 1989), ability to pay the penalty, injury to the public, benefits received, deterrence of future violations, and such other factors as the Director may determine in regulations to be appropriate.
The Secretary’s 1
After exhausting all administrative remedies established by the Director under subsection (b)(1), a person aggrieved by a final order of the Director assessing a penalty under this section may seek judicial review pursuant to section 1710 of this title.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in any such review, the court shall have the power to order payment of the penalty imposed by the Director.
If any person fails to comply with the determination or order of the Director imposing a civil money penalty under subsection (a), after the determination or order is no longer subject to review as provided by subsections (b) and (c), the Director may request the Attorney General of the United States to bring an action in any appropriate United States district court to obtain a monetary judgment against the person and such other relief as may be available. The monetary judgment may, in the discretion of the court, include any attorneys fees and other expenses incurred by the United States in connection with the action. In an action under this subsection, the validity and appropriateness of the Secretary’s 1 determination or order imposing the penalty shall not be subject to review.
The Director may compromise, modify, or remit any civil money penalty which may be, or has been, imposed under this section.
The term “knowingly” means having actual knowledge of or acting with deliberate ignorance of or reckless disregard for the prohibitions under this section.
The Director shall issue such regulations as the Director deems appropriate to implement this section.
Civil money penalties collected under this section shall be paid to the Director and, upon approval in an appropriation Act, may be used by the Director to cover all or part of the cost of rendering services under this chapter.
The district courts of the United States, the United States courts of any territory, and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have jurisdiction of offenses and violations under this chapter and under the rules and regulations prescribed by the Director pursuant thereto, and concurrent with State courts, of all suits in equity and actions at law brought to enforce any liability or duty created by this chapter. Any such suit or action may be brought to enforce any liability or duty created by this chapter. Any such suit or action may be brought in the district wherein the defendant is found or is an inhabitant or transacts business, or in the district where the offer or sale took place, if the defendant participated therein, and process in such cases may be served in any other district of which the defendant is an inhabitant or wherever the defendant may be found. Judgments and decrees so rendered shall be subject to review as provided in sections 1254 and 1291 of title 28. No case arising under this chapter and brought in any State court of competent jurisdiction shall be removed to any court of the United States, except where the United States or any officer or employee of the United States in his official capacity is a party. No costs shall be assessed for or against the Director in any proceeding under this chapter brought by or against him in the Supreme Court or such other courts.
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this chapter.