C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


California Home Sellers May Get Cash in Natural Hazard Disclosure Class-Action Settlement

natural hazard disclosure report class action settlement

California home sellers who sold a home in recent years might qualify to get cash back. It depends on whether a seller qualifies as a class member under the Property I.D. Natural Hazard Disclosure Report class-action settlement. A class-action lawsuit was filed against Property I.D. and a handful of California real estate brokerages, claiming brokerages violated the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and California's Unfair Competition Law by receiving kickbacks for referring business to Property I.D. Some brokerages believed they could get around RESPA by forming joint ventures with Property I.D. The lawsuit stems partially from the fact this relationship was not disclosed to the sellers who paid for the NHD reports.

The defendants denied the charges. Although the Court did not reach a verdict, all parties decided to agree to a settlement.

If you were a home seller in California, you may participate in the settlement if you sold a home through RE/MAX (August 23, 2000 through February 28, 2003); Century 21 (July 31, 1996 through June 30, 2006); or ERA Real Estate (July 31, 1996 through June 30, 2006) -- and in southern California only: Coldwell Banker (July 31, 1996 through June 30, 2006) or Prudential California Realty owned by Pickford Realty (July 14, 2000 through August 16, 2005).  The home must have been your principal place of residence or vacation home. Rentals, commercial, vacant land or agricultural over 25 acres does not qualify. The home must have been purchased by a buyer who financed the transaction by taking out a mortgage.

You need to fill out a NHD Report Settlement Claim Form to participate in the class-action settlement. Payments will vary between $99 or $114 and depend on how many people submit the claim forms. There are several settlement classes, depending on which brokerage the seller hired.

The case, Berger v. Property I.D. Corp., will be heard on January 26, 2009 at 9:30 AM, at which time the Court will consider disbursement. For more information, go to Natural Hazard Report Settlement web site.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

The Short Sale, by Elizabeth Weintraub, is coming from Archer Ellison, January 2009.

Photo: Big Stock Photo

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Comment balloon 7 commentsC Tann-Starr • October 19 2008 03:19AM



I'd like to see convictions and jail as well as financial reparations! Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) about 12 years ago


Carolyn, I wanted you to see my comment on the profanity post!!!  Below, read please!!! 

Personally, Carolyn and a few others can get away with it.  I have only used wtf on a comment I cannot get away with it for some reason.  But Carolyn girl, I like it when she uses WTF, because somethimes there is no other way to say it!

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) about 12 years ago

Fran, a lot of people will second that. :-)

Jane, what can I say? Seriously (LOL). I going to go over there and check it out. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) about 12 years ago

I'm evidently part of the class, and was wondering if there is any chance I might have to PAY money if I join the class - i.e. unforseen attorney fees, etc. ?

Posted by Scott about 12 years ago

Scott, you would have to contact the attorney regarding any questions concerning legal fees. Real Estate Agents/Brokers do not give legal advice and never opine on an attorney's fee or pro bono. For more information please click on the links provided in the post and direct your inquiries to the people actually involved in this court case. I am so sorry I can not be of more help regarding your inquiry. Wishing you the very best with your search for the correct answer. Regards, C.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) about 12 years ago


Can you explain to me in laymen's terminology, why I received a full refund of the Property ID report fee?  Was it really of zero value?  I believe I received a reasonable product at a fair price.  Issues of kickbacks are between the state and the real estate brokers and perhaps fines are appropriate.  This whole business of class action lawsuits seems to be driven by lawyers who I suspect will make the most from this case.

Ken S.

Nipomo, CA


Posted by Kenneth Shamordola over 11 years ago

Ken S, there were a lot of interesting articles popping up on the subject that I started reading in August 2008. This was one of them that you may find useful: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/09/business/fi-kickback9

Value is an intangible asset. I am not in a position to speculate if it was or wasn't of "zero value" because value is subjective and the final determination usually lies with the person who is willing to pay what they perceive something is worth, or respond in other ways as to what they esteem... Class actions are complicated. When a massive amount of people have been harmed they theoretically can be more efficient in a legal battle if the plaintiffs come together to fight to right a similar wrong as opposed to each person struggling to have their grievances redressed on their own. What if one person gets a bad ruling that affects all the other cases? Since each person has a unique set of circumstances, a class action may combine all of the factors of what went wrong into a stronger complaint that may help many. The complainants seem to drive them more than the attorneys, but I'm not in a position to speak in authority on it because there is so much information that I do not know. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

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