How to Dispute Mortgage Servicing Errors
Mortgage servicers can make mistakes. When errors are made by mortgage servicers and they are not quickly resolved, they can escalate into larger problems for homeowners, including harassment by the lender and even threats of foreclosure.
If you suspect your servicer made a mistake, read on to learn the steps to discover whether your suspicions are true and how to dispute the mortgage servicing error. It should be noted that the mortgage lender that loaned you the money for your home and the servicer to whom you send your mortgage payments may or may not be the same company. Look at your monthly payment coupons or statements to see who your servicer is if you are unsure.
If your attempts to resolve the error are unsuccessful, consider contacting an attorney who focuses in helping Florida homeowners with complex mortgage errors. You have rights under the law as a homeowner—don’t let a careless mortgage company cause you undue trouble, including potentially trying to take your home.
How Do I Dispute an Error or Request Information About My Mortgage?
To dispute an error or request information about your mortgage, contact your mortgage servicer. You can call the company and possibly get help over the phone if the error seems minor. However, depending upon the issue, it may be in your best interests to write to your lender. By writing, you have a paper trail of your attempts to have the error corrected or to get the information you need. Mortgage companies are also obligated under the law to respond in a timely way to written error notices and information requests from borrowers.
To further protect yourself when you send a written error notice or request for information, be sure to address the error notice or information request letter to the exact address given by your mortgage servicer for this purpose. By doing so you may give them less of an opportunity to deny that they received your communication. If you send it to a different address within the company, it may never make it to the appropriate representatives who handle mortgage servicing error disputes.
Keep Records of All Communications
Be sure to keep a copy of the letter you sent and any response you receive. It can be helpful to create a file in which you keep all communications between yourself, and your mortgage servicer related to the error or information request. If you are unable to resolve the situation on your own, this file that shows your attempts to dispute the mortgage servicing error or get related information about your mortgage will be valuable evidence you can provide to your attorney.
If you call the mortgage servicer instead of writing, get the name of the person you speak with and make written notes about what was said. Include the date and time in the notes. If you do not feel comfortable with the responses you receive in your phone call, follow up with a written communication describing the mortgage error or the information you want.
What Should I Say in My Letter to the Mortgage Servicer?
The letter describing the mistake your mortgage servicer made is called a notice of error. If you want information about your mortgage, send a request for information letter. Whether you write a letter to dispute an error or to get information, it should include these things:
- Your name and contact information as shown on your mortgage statement
- The name of your spouse or other co-borrower if it is on the loan
- Full mortgage account number
- Very specific description of the error that the servicer made and the date of the error
- Clear description of the information you are requesting related to the servicing of your mortgage loan if that is the purpose of your letter.
Here are samples of letters from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). They are a starting point for writing a letter that you can tailor to your own situation.
When Can I Expect to Hear Back from the Mortgage Company?
Once the mortgage servicer receives your notice of error or information request, they have five business days to respond to you in writing, in compliance with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
RESPA is a federal law designed to protect homeowners from unscrupulous treatment by mortgage companies; you can read more about the law at the CFPB website. The servicer is not required to investigate the error or provide information within that time frame, but they must let you know that they received your letter. From there, the mortgage company typically has 30 days to address the error or provide the information you requested. If they need more time, they must let you know in writing that they require more time to look into the issue. In those cases, they are allowed an extra 15 days.
There are a couple of exceptions to this time frame. If the mortgage company started foreclosure proceedings against you in error, then the mortgage company must respond before the foreclosure sale or within 30 days, whichever comes first. If the company gave you an incorrect payoff balance for your mortgage, they must respond to your letter explaining this error within seven business days.
You can see that under the law there are strict deadlines to protect homeowners from mortgage servicers’ dragging out their responses for months. If you do not hear back within these time frames, you may wish to speak with an attorney who can assist you in communicating with the mortgage company and help ensure your rights are protected.
Situations When Mortgage Servicers Are Not Required to Respond
There are a few situations in which mortgage companies do not have to respond to error notices and information request letters from homeowners. They include when:
- The request for information is overly broad.
- The letter is about a previously reported error or information request.
- The letter is about a loan that was paid off or transferred to another servicer more than a year ago.
Although mortgage loan servicers are not required to resolve issues that fall into these categories, they must still acknowledge within five business days that they received your letter and tell you why they will not be addressing your concern.
Response from the Mortgage Servicer
You will either receive a written notice saying the error has been corrected, or the servicer may ask you for more information, or the mortgage servicer may provide a written explanation of why they did not find that an error occurred and tell you where you can learn more about the decision.
In cases where you’re requesting information, you could be provided the information you asked for. Or you may be told that it isn’t available, in which case, the servicer may tell you who you can contact to try and get the information.
What Happens If a Mortgage Company Makes a Mistake and Refuses to Correct It?
If you believe your mortgage company has made a mistake, but you receive a letter denying the error, reach out right away to an experienced real estate and foreclosure defense attorney. You have no time to waste, especially if the error could result in foreclosure proceedings on your home.
What Types of Mistakes Do Mortgage Servicers Make?
Human beings work at mortgage companies; and like people everywhere, they can make mistakes. These errors may result from simple carelessness or even a disregard for proper procedures and policies.
Here are some of the more common types of mistakes mortgage servicing companies may make:
- They might not correctly apply or credit payments.
- They might refuse to accept conforming payments.
- They might claim a payment was late and charge a late fee.
- They might charge unreasonable fees.
- They might fail to pay homeowner’s insurance or property taxes on time or at all.
- They might wrongly increase escrow payments or homeowners’ insurance payments.
- If you ask for information about your payoff balance, they might provide an inaccurate amount.
- They might tell you your mortgage has been paid off when it has not.
- They might fail to record your satisfaction of mortgage after you have made your last payment.
- They might unreasonably deny loan modification requests.
Unfortunately, sometimes a mortgage servicer may even begin foreclosure proceedings without providing you written notice of default or providing you with loss mitigation options as required by law.
Get Aggressive Legal Help to Resolve a Mortgage Error
Florida Attorney Carlos M. Amor Fights for Homeowners
Our Plantation attorney Carlos M. Amor can help you if your loan servicer is not responding to you or has denied your request to fix a mortgage error. He is both a skilled real estate lawyer and broker, with experience assisting Florida clients in disputes with mortgage lenders and servicers, including in foreclosure cases.
Attorney Carlos M. Amor offers free consults by phone, via video meeting or in person. Contact or call our law firm today at (954) 453-7200 to learn about your case.
ATTORNEY CARLOS M. AMOR
Carlos M. Amor is a skilled and experienced attorney and real estate broker. His legal practice in South Florida focuses on real estate litigation, real estate investments, tax deed and foreclosure auction purchases, traditional real estate transactions, short sales, foreclosure defense, and civil litigation. Carlos thinks “outside the box” and takes a practical approach to finding solutions that benefit his clients. [ Attorney Bio ]