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Helm’s Consumer Protection Legislation Banning Private Transfer Fees Heads to the Governor’s Desk
HARRISBURG – By a vote of 200-1, the House today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin) that gives home buyers added protection during the purchase process. The measure prohibits the charging of private transfer fees in real estate transactions and requires disclosure of existing private transfer fees.

“This fee is relatively new to the real estate industry,” said Helm. “It serves only to provide additional income to a third party and can sometimes discourage a buyer from purchasing a home due to the extra cost. This is consumer-friendly legislation that makes these fees illegal and makes sure buyers find out about existing fees while negotiating a contract.”

Private transfer fees are written into purchase contracts and are levied based on a percentage of the final sale price each time a property changes hands. A typical private transfer fee is 1 percent and remains in place for 99 years. A private transfer fee is not a service or maintenance fee that a resident pays to a homeowner association in a private community.

“A private transfer fee is unfair to the home buyer and home seller and only hurts the real estate industry, which is trying to make a recovery,” said Helm. “As a real estate broker, I know first-hand that most home buyers are unaware this fee even exists.”

The legislation has additional consumer-friendly provisions. For example, if disclosure is not made and the buyer discovers the private transfer fee after title to the property has been transferred, the buyer has the right to recover damages, such as the amount of the private transfer fee and legal expenses.

House Bill 442 now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature. Once enacted into law, Pennsylvania will become the 28th state to prohibit private transfer fees.

State Representative Sue Helm
104th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Andy Briggs


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