Frustrated with your mortgage servicer? Write a letterby Tim Manni
On this blog, the comments from readers frustrated with their mortgage servicers never seem to stop rolling in. By now, most of you are likely familiar with the complaints we’ve been hearing for years.
Whether it’s HAMP trial payments that extend past the stated three months (often continuing for a year or even more), or an unexplained denial from one of the government’s housing-preservation efforts, the crux of most of our comments deal with a frustration over the lack of communication between borrower and servicer.
Well, there’s a way to enhance your communication with your servicer: write them a letter. A ”qualified written request” allows the borrower to initiate communication with their servicer on a variety of issues.
“This is a vehicle for the borrower, the consumer, to initiate a complaint action,” said Brian Sullivan, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “If they have a complaint with their loan servicer, they should absolutely seek a remedy — and the way to do it, at least initially, is this qualified written request process.”
Once the letter is sent, servicers must acknowledge the request within 20 business days, and attempt to take action within 60 days. A qualified written request is another way for borrowers to document their ongoing communication with their servicers. While the letter is not a guarantee that your servicer will give you want you’re looking for, it’s mechanism to get your voice heard.
Here’s a sample of a qualified written request, provided by HUD:
Attention Customer Service:
Subject: [Your loan number]
[Names on loan documents]
[Property and/or mailing address]
This is a “qualified written request” under Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
I am writing because:
- Describe the issue or the question you have and/or what action you believe the lender should take.
- Attach copies of any related written materials.
- Describe any conversations with customer service regarding the issue and to whom you spoke.
- Describe any previous steps you have taken or attempts to resolve the issue.
- List a day time telephone number in case a customer service representative wishes to contact you.
I understand that under Section 6 of RESPA you are required to acknowledge my request within 20 business days and must try to resolve the issue within 60 business days.
REMEMBER: This letter SHOULD NOT be included with your mortgage payment, but should be sent separately to the customer service address.
You SHOULD continue to make the required mortgage and escrow payment until the request is resolved.
You may bring a private right of action under Section 6, if you suffer damages due to the lender’s servicing of the loan. See the RESPA statute and regulations.