A brokerage offers a Lunch and Learn continuing education course for brokers. In exchange for referrals from the brokerage, a local property surveyor pays the brokerage the full cost of the luncheon for all attendees, but does not advertise its services during the course.
Question: Is this a violation of RESPA?
Answer: Yes, this is a violation of RESPA. The property surveyor has given a “thing of value” to the brokerage when they reimbursed the brokerage for the cost of the luncheon. The property surveyor and the brokerage could be held responsible for the RESPA violation. However, if the property surveyor attends the Lunch and Learn and makes a presentation or otherwise markets their services, the reimbursement may be lawful under RESPA
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has a multitude of resources that can assist you with understanding what activities are permitted and prohibited under RESPA. You can access the resources here.
If you have questions regarding whether or not an activity violates RESPA, please consult with an attorney.