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from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HB0155 APPROVED - WOULD BAR CONDO RIGHTS OF FIRST REFUSAL

Back in March, I wrote about HB0155.

The bill would effectively prohibit a condominium from exercising a right of first refusal to bar a potential buyer from purchasing a unit because that buyer wants to finance the deal with an FHA loan. That bill, slightly amended, has passed out of the State House & Senate and awaits the Governor's signature or veto (more on that below).

Many Condo Declarations contain a broad rights of first refusal over sale contracts. FHA lending guidelines prohibit them, that is to say, they will not lend to buyers wishing to purchase into associations that restrict sales in this manner. (Don't get me started on the "logic" behind the guideline - I have only seen the right actually exercised once in the last 10 years).

This new law would simply tell Condo Associations - hey, don't even think of exercising that right you aren't going to use anyway.

So if we ban Associations from asserting the right of first refusal, does that mean that the FHA will lend? I don't know. I hope so, but I have not seen anything from FHA or anywhere else that suggests that the law will trump the guideline or that HUD will change the guideline. After all, the right of first refusal will still exist, even if it cannot be exercised. The law could be repealed, or ruled unconstitutional by the Courts. If the FHA feels so strongly about re-sale restrictions, is it going to take that risk?

But perhaps the more interesting questions right is this one:

Will the Governor sign the bill?
HB0155 joins 498 others awaiting the Governor's action (House Bills: 356) (Senate Bills: 143)

(Apparently they may have run out of pens in Springfield due to the budget crisis)