by Broderick Perkins
(3/29/2012) Erate Exclusive - Q: I received a bill from my city or county saying that my mortgage servicer did not pay my taxes. What can I do?
Q: I disagree with my servicer about the amount they say that I owe. What can I do?
Q: My mortgage servicer says I never submitted my payment but I did. What can I do?
A: In all three cases, if an initial phone call doesn't bring immediate results, write a "Qualified Written Request (QWR)" to your mortgage servicer to officially document your concern, get action and prevent the servicer from reporting negative information to credit bureaus until your complaint is resolved.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says a QWR is written correspondence that you or someone acting on your behalf can send to your mortgage servicer to ask for information relating to the servicing of your loan or to dispute errors about your mortgage.
Your mortgage servicer could be your mortgage lender or another company that services your mortgage by sending you statements, managing your escrow account, handling complaints and providing other related services.
Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires that mortgage servicers acknowledge QWRs within 20 business days and must try to resolve the issue within 60 business days.
What's in a QWR letter?
According to HUD and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), here's how to craft your QWR letter.
Address the letter to your mortgage servicer's customer service address on your disclosure statements. Include your loan number as the subject, the person's name on the loan, and the property's address, along with your own address, if they are different.
Include the statement: "This is a 'qualified written request' under Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
Leave your emotions out of the letter, describe your issue, question or complaint and any action you think the lender should take. Be succinct, but include all the details.
Attach any copies of documents related to the issue.
Describe any previous efforts you may have taken to resolve the issue, phone calls, email, non-QWR letters.
List your contact information, including a day time number where you can be reached.
Finish the letter with: "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."
QWR letter details
Send your QWR letter, along with copies of related, but unmarred documents via return receipt certified mail to your mortgage servicer's customer service address. Do not include the letter with your mortgage or escrow payment. Do not send in your mortgage statement or envelope with scribbled remarks related to your issue.
Sending a QWR not only documents your complaint and puts the servicer on notice that you know your rights, it also prevents the servicer from sending negative information to credit reporting agencies during a 60-day period, beginning when your mortgage servicer receives your QWR. Hence, the return receipt, certified mail, which gives you a record of the date and time your servicer received your letter.
Avoid QWR writing services that charge a fee. You, or someone you trust acting on your behalf, can write a QWR for free using HUD's sample QWR letter or by following guidelines above.
Continue to make all your required mortgage and escrow payments until the request is resolved.
Your mortgage servicer's response must include the name and telephone number for the individual, office, or department of the servicer who can provide you with additional assistance if you have any questions.
The RESPA rule only applies to first mortgages. For other mortgages, or if you haven't received an initial response in 20 days, or a resolution in 60 days, contact your servicer directly and/or file a complaint with the CFPB online or call CFPB at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372). You can also call 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) to be connected to a HUD-approved housing counselor.
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