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Abstract

It is hard to believe that the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974, which was signed by President Ford on December 22, 1974, and the revision that became effective on January 2, 1976,2 could have the same name-RESPA. It is even more remarkable that it took less than a year for the monstrosity which became effective on June 20, 1975, to evolve into what is now a reasonably workable statute with regulations which clarify rather than confuse. It is beyond the scope of this article to trace the history of RESPA in detail. Suffice it to say that in a paroxysm of overprotective consumerism and inspired by sensational media representations to the effect that the residential real estate industry, including attorneys working in the field, was crooked, irresponsible and venal, Congress passed a statute which was vague, unenforceable and, to a large extent, unnecessary. Interpretation of the original statute was not long in coming. Legal Opinion No. 1-came out on July 11, 1975, less than a month after the original RESPA and its "final" regulations became effective.

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