U.S. District Court judge dismisses all federal claims in would-be class action suits, and remands state claims to state court
SAN DIEGO, July 18 – Renovate America, a leading U.S. provider of home-improvement financing, announced today that a federal judge has dismissed all federal claims against the company and its government bond-issuing partners in three lawsuits that had sought but never been granted class-action status.
In addition to dismissing all federal claims against Renovate America, Western Riverside Council of Governments, San Bernardino Associated Governments, and the County of Los Angeles, U.S. District Judge André Birotte remanded all remaining state claims back to state court where they may or may not be reasserted.
Each of the complaints had asserted statutory violations under the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) primarily related to disclosures associated with Renovate America’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing option. However, the judge dismissed all the federal claims with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled.
Renovate America is the country’s largest provider of PACE financing, which empowers homeowners to make residential energy and efficiency improvements and pay for them over time at a fixed rate via an additional line item on their property taxes.
Renovate America Chief Legal Officer Scott McKinlay welcomed Judge Birotte’s ruling, saying, “Renovate America takes its commitment to compliance with laws, rules and regulations, and to consumer protection, very seriously, and we strive to exceed all applicable requirements and best business practices. We worked to make the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Know-Before-You-Owe disclosures for home mortgages the model for PACE financing, and get that enacted into law. We required those disclosures to be verbally confirmed in a live telephone call for every homeowner. We collaborate every day with our government partners to ensure that PACE effectively and responsibly meets its public policy objectives of energy and water conservation, and to develop innovative measures to help protect consumers in the home improvement marketplace. We look forward to continuing to work with consumer advocates, state legislators, and local governments to codify these and other consumer protections into law this year in California.”
About Renovate America
Renovate America offers a tech-enabled financing platform for home improvement and commercial retrofits that empowers communities to modernize and make their housing stock more efficient, while giving small businesses the tools they need to grow. In addition to financing home improvements through an unsecured lending product, Benji, Renovate America offers communities HERO financing. HERO is the leading residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in the U.S. and has been used by over 100,000 homes to make energy and efficiency improvements. It is estimated that HERO is on track to save billions of dollars in energy and water bills, and has created over 20,000 local trade jobs that cannot be offshored or automated. Renovate America has built the world’s largest green bond platform, with a volume of originations that enables securitization of HERO PACE bonds multiple times a year, attracting international investment to meet U.S. clean-energy objectives.