Friday, February 12, 2016

EPA Makes Changes to Lead-Safe Re-certification Process

Remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement.

However, EPA re-certifications obtained via an online refresher course will be valid for only three years – versus five years for hands-on training courses – and can only be exercised every other re-certification cycle.

“As a longtime advocate for a simplified re-certification process, National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council appreciates that EPA’s changes provide some flexibility, but the limited and convoluted parameters of the online training option are unnecessarily complicated and could affect the number of renovators who opt to become re-certified,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, CGR, CAPS, CGP, GMB, GMR, a remodeler from Wichita, Kan.

“Whether they choose to refresh their training online or in person, with the March 31 re-certification deadline looming for over 100,000 remodelers, and thousands more later in 2016 and 2017, remodelers are left with precious little time to meet their re-certification obligations.”

Additionally, certified renovators who were grandfathered in under a HUD or EPA lead-based paint training course before the RRP rule was adopted must attend a refresher course with a hands-on component. The rule also made several streamlining and clarifying changes to RRP provisions that apply to training providers.

EPA’s changes only apply to those states where EPA administers the program. The 14 states that administer their own programs will have to take legislative or regulatory action to adopt the online refresher course option.

The White House Office of Management and Budget released the final rule to EPA on Jan. 21.

For online or in-person refresher training, remodelers should contact their Home Builders Association of Greenville, or they can find a course on EPA’s website. More information on how to determine specific deadlines can be found using “What You Need to Know about EPA Lead-Safe Re-certification.”

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

RHS Releases Final Rule for Single Family Loan Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) published a final rule on Feb. 8 implementing changes to its Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP).

Designed to streamline the program, the final rule:
  • Removes the cap on the number of units per year for a single contractor or builder under the combination construction and permanent loan feature. It also allows a combination construction and permanent loan to be used for a manufactured home if the builder’s contract includes the sum of the cost of the unit and all on-site installation costs.
  • Allows discount points as a permissible loan purpose to “buy down” the interest rate for moderate-income borrowers, as well as for low-income borrowers.
  • Extends the SFHGLP guarantee to coincide with the terms of a loan modification, including an extended-term loan modification so that the guarantee will cover the duration of the loan.
  • Permits lenders to charge a maximum interest rate equal to the Fannie Mae posted yield plus 1%, but removes language from a 2013 interim rule referencing the Freddie Mac required net yield, since Freddie Mac no longer publishes its net yield rate.

The final rule becomes effective March 9, 2016.