FHA intends to hold appraisers accountable for valuations that are inconsistent with USPAP or this Handbook. The Valuation Conditions Form must accurately reflect any site, structural or mechanical deficiencies. FHA recognizes that most appraisals are properly valued and do not indicate improper action. Accordingly, HUD emphasizes quality assurance, but will take enforcement action when necessary.
A. STATE CERTIFICATION BOARDS
HUD will enforce actions against appraisers through existing state certification and licensing boards. HUD is required by law to refer appraisers to these boards if HUD considers the actions to be of such magnitude or frequency as to warrant such referral.
B. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
HUD will cooperate with and refer cases to the enforcement arms of all applicable professional organizations.
7-3 APPLICABLE REMEDIES AND SANCTIONS
FHA will review appraiser and appraisal performance data. In making any determination, the following will be considered:
- The seriousness and extent of the non-compliant action
- The degree to which the appraiser is responsible for that action
- The frequency of the action(s)
- Any mitigating factors
HUD will impose sanctions on four tiers:
- Notice of Appraisal Deficiencies and Remedial Education
- Administrative Sanctions
- Civil Sanctions
- Criminal Sanctions
HUD expects that all appraisers performing appraisals for FHA are knowledgeable of HUD's policies and procedures. If, however, minor appraisal errors indicate lack of knowledge, HUD may require remedial education and training. For offenses arising from unethical behavior or for repeated offenses, HUD will apply more serious sanctions. All sanctions will be reported to the state regulatory agencies. The following sections generally define the actions taken under each tier. Generally, these penalties will be expunged after three years. A table providing examples of offenses and possible sanctions is included at the end of this chapter.
A. NOTICE OF APPRAISAL DEFICIENCIES AND REMEDIAL EDUCATION
Education and training directives will be managed internally by HUD. If the evidence indicates that the appraisal deficiency is a matter of training, then the appraiser must undergo professional training. HUD will notify the appraiser and inform the appraiser of:
- The appraisal's deficiencies
- The findings that support the recommended training
- The recommended training
- The appraiser's right to refute the findings of the notice
The appraiser must appeal within 20 days from receipt of the notice if he or she disagrees with the findings. If the findings are adequately refuted, no action will be taken against the appraiser and the circumstances surrounding that particular incident will be noted in the appraiser's file. However, if the findings hold, the appraiser must comply with HUD's requirements for improved performance, including the type of training required and the time-frame for completion. This action will go on record in the appraiser's file.
B. ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTIONS
Administrative sanctions will be managed internally by HUD and consist primarily of removal from the FHA Register for a specified time. Removal from the FHA Register can be imposed for noncompliance with FHA policies and requirements on appraisals. HUD will consider the seriousness of the appraiser's acts or omissions and any mitigating factors. HUD/FHA will notify the appraiser of the alleged violation and pending sanction in writing. If the appraiser believes that removal from the FHA Register is unwarranted, the appraiser must appeal in writing within 20 days and may arrange a meeting or conference call with FHA at a mutually acceptable time. If there is evidence and documentation of unacceptable performance, appraisers will be removed from the FHA Register at HUD/FHA's sole discretion. Upon any legally effected removal, HUD will notify the state licensing or certification agency in writing that such appraiser has been removed from the FHA Register. HUD will provide the state agency with:
- The state license or certification number of the appraiser
- The reason for removal
- Copy of the original appraisals
- Copy of the review report
In addition to removal from the FHA Register, administrative sanctions include sanctions under 24 CFR Part 24, Debarment, Suspension and Limited Denials of Participation (LDP) from HUD and government-wide programs.
C. CIVIL SANCTIONS
HUD will pursue civil sanctions by initiating an investigation of the alleged non-compliant action. A report containing the findings and conclusions of the investigation will be submitted to HUD's Office of the General Counsel or The Enforcement Center. If the Office of General Counsel or The Enforcement Center determines that the investigation report supports an action, the respective office will submit a written request to the Department of justice for approval to pursue civil sanctions. Civil sanctions are pursuant to Part 24 CFR 28-PFCRA and are described in Chapter 7-1.
If the non-compliant action is so egregious as to violate criminal law, HUD's Office of General Counsel or the Inspector General will refer the case to the Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.
E. PERFORMANCE VIOLATIONS AND LEVEL OF SANCTION
The following chart outlines the type of sanction to be levied by the type of performance violation. For example, the appraiser may receive a Notice of Appraisal Deficiencies for a square footage error of less than 10% as a first offense. However, repeatedly making this mistake will result in removal from the FHA Register. If the violation is repeated so that it constitutes a pattern of misconduct, it may be considered gross negligence. The offense could also be considered gross negligence if the offense is so obvious that it could not have reasonably been the result of simple error. In this example, the sanction for gross negligence includes removal from the FHA Register and may include a Limited Denial of Participation or Debarment. Violations of intent include knowing and willful noncompliance with FHA/HUD requirements, as well as extensive or repeated intentional violations. In this example, the appraiser is guilty of intentional misconduct if he or she chooses to disregard the requirement. Sanctions at this level may include debarment and civil and/or criminal penalties. The Department may impose civil money penalties or other sanctions for minor violations if the Department determines that circumstances warrant.
7-4 PERFORMANCE AND SANCTION MATRIX
This is not an exhaustive list of violations. It is meant to highlight the ramifications for non-compliant performance. This does not preclude the Department from pursuing other remedies or related sanction(s); the Department reserves the right to take any such other actions and remedies in accordance with applicable law. Time frames are included for illustration and can vary depending on the degree of violation.