When attempting to get information from a lender or servicing company, homeowners can take advantage of their legal opportunities under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to send a Qualified Written Request (QWR). A QWR is meant to help borrowers raise disputes with their mortgage servicer and have those issues resolved in a timely manner.
Homeowners, however, may not know what questions to ask of the lender, or why they are requesting certain documents or records relating to the loan and its servicing. Most questions revolve around various disputes that borrowers may have with a creditor, including amounts owed, dates when payments were made, and the nature of the relationship between the company collecting payments and the true owner of the loan.
For instance, borrowers may wish to request a complete payment history including the dates that payments were made, as well as the amount the lender claims it receives. Also requested could be a breakdown of how the payment was applied, whether to principal, interest, taxes, property insurance, late fees, suspense accounts, or any other charges.
For homeowners facing foreclosure, a breakdown of all charges and fees on the account could be disputed, for which a QWR may be appropriate. Borrowers could request that all of the arrears and charges relating to the foreclosure be itemized and justified by the servicing company. This can be an especially difficult request for the bank to fulfill, as many often just make numbers up for delinquent accounts.
Any change in the monthly payment should also be carefully scrutinized and disputed if the homeowners did not specifically agree to it. Even if they did, if the amount does not look correct, it may be worth disputing and having the servicer check into the account. Homeowners can request the mortgage company to explain how the new amount due was calculated and why it was increased.
When an account is delinquent, servicers may often receive payments from homeowners but not credit them to the payoff. Instead, they are placed in a separate suspense account that simply holds funds that may eventually be credited to the loan, but which are not helping the borrowers get current with the loan. Homeowners can request an itemization of the expense account in order to discover the current balance and why funds were placed into it.
As with any foreclosure situation, there will be a whole range of issues that are specific just to that particular case. Thus, the issues described above should not be taken as an exhaustive list of QWR questions at all. Homeowners will inevitably run into their own issues when attempting to stop foreclosure, and they will be able to craft their own Qualified Written Request letter to the servicing company in order to attempt to resolve any disputes.
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