The Issue

A Wall Street Home Resale Fees (also known as a Private Transfer Fee) is a new form of the legal instrument known as a for-profit “covenant”. While traditional covenants have an accepted and beneficial role in the housing market by benefitting the land, Wall Street Home Resale Fees are predatory legal instruments that threaten American homeowners by forcing them to pay a premium for the right to sell their own property and by burdening the land without benefiting the land. At the same time that homeowners have struggled to buy and sell homes, a select group of greedy investors have inserted Wall Street Home Resale Fees into housing contracts to line their pockets with homeowner’s money.

How it works
A Wall Street Home Resale Fee is placed on a property much like any other covenant. While anyone has the legal right to place a covenant on their property, Wall Street Home Resale Fees have been placed most often by the financial firm Freehold Capital Partners, and select developers with whom they work. Once placed on a property, Wall Street Home Resale Fees require that every time the property is sold for the next 99 years, 1% of the sale price of the property must be paid to an independent third party. This third party then distributes profits to Freehold Capital Partners and their allies.

Selling Schemes on Wall Street
Unfortunately for Americans, Freehold and their allies aren’t satisfied to wait for their profits. Instead, they are attempting to bundle Wall Street Home Resale Fees into securities, and sell them on Wall Street, allowing them collect their billions of dollars worth of fees today. Similar to the tools that brought Wall Street to its knees in 2008, Freehold and their allies are attempting to bundle Wall Street Home Resale Fees and sell their future value for money today.

Wall Street Home Resale Fees hurt homeowners
Wall Street Home Resale Fees require homeowners to pay thousands of dollars to third parties that hold no ownership interest in their property. In addition, Wall Street Home Resale Fees lower a home’s equity, depress home prices and complicate the safe, efficient and legal transfer of real estate.

Growing resistance to Wall Street Home Resale Fees
The use of Wall Street Home Resale Fees has already been restricted in 36 states (AL, AR, AZ, CA*, CO, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NJ, NC, ND, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA). California requires disclosure of these fees to homeowners when they are considering the purchase of a home.

The fees have been called “unconscionable” by the American Law Institute, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has publicly opposed the use of such fees.

Dow Jones Newswire recently reported on the growing resistance to Wall Street Home Resale Fees. In an article titled “New York Firm’s Property Transfer Fee Plan Stirs Controversy”, Jessica Holzer reports: “Rep. Brad Sherman (D- CA) called it a “new predatory financial scheme” at a congressional hearing last month. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Ed DeMarco hinted at the hearing that his agency might bar Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from buying mortgages on homes with transfer fees attached.” She continued, “DeMarco said he was “very troubled” by what he was learning about transfer fees: “I would expect that the enterprises and FHFA would have something to say about this is in the near future.”

In a separate letter, a Federal Housing Administration official confirmed that the government won’t insure mortgages backed by homes with private transfer fee covenants attached, while the Federal Housing Finance Administration has issued a guidance that would restrict Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks from investing in mortgages with these fees.

*‘Private Transfer Fees’ is a common way to reference Wall Street Home Resale Fees. You may also see them listed as ‘PTFs,’ ‘Private Transfer Taxes,’ ‘Reconveyance Fees,’ ‘Capital Recovery Fees,’ ‘Residential Transfer Fees,’ and ‘Transfer Fee Covenants.’

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