Buying a home is an exciting experience, but it is also an expensive and complicated one. There are many steps in the process and piles of documentation to read through and understand before signing. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is intended to protect homebuyers from dishonest financial companies and other parties in the purchase and loan process by ensuring they are well-informed about the procedures and specific costs involved in buying residential real estate.
RESPA requires certain disclosures to be made to buyers during the buying and settlement process, including how much mortgage loans will cost them, their rights when it comes to disputes and other things. The law also prohibits specific actions from lenders, loan servicers, title companies, realtors and other parties involved in residential real estate transactions that could increase costs to homebuyers. Additionally, it sets out deadlines for loan servicers to correct errors or provide information about mortgage loans to homeowners who make qualified written requests, and it also protects borrowers by limiting how much money lenders can require in escrow accounts.
When mortgage servicers, lenders and others don’t comply with the requirements, they may be guilty of violating RESPA. If this has happened in your case and it has cost you money or caused you other harm, you may have a legal remedy.
Contact Plantation Real Estate Attorney Carlos M. Amor for Help with a RESPA Violation
RESPA, which became effective in 1975, has been amended and added to by the U.S. Congress several times since then. The Act contains many complex regulations that can be hard to understand. If you are unsure whether your lender or another party involved in your residential real estate transaction or servicing of your loan violated RESPA, experienced real estate attorney Carlos M. Amor can investigate your situation and advise you about your rights and options you may have for holding the violating party accountable.
To arrange a consultation, call him today at (954) 453-7200. For your convenience, Carlos M. Amor offers free consults, by phone, via video meeting, or in person.
What Are RESPA Violations?
RESPA regulates all federally related mortgage loans. RESPA violations are any act or non-action in relation to those loans that is not in compliance with the consumer protection regulations. It applies to lenders, mortgage brokers, servicers of home loans, title companies and other parties in residential real estate transactions and mortgage servicing.
As a homebuyer, you may have no idea whether a RESPA violation is even occurring, which is not surprising, given the enormous complexities of the residential real estate transaction process. For this reason, it is beneficial to consult with a well-informed real estate attorney during the home-buying process. A skilled real estate attorney can recognize whether a violation is occurring or has already occurred that is costing you money. Attorney Carlos M. Amor can review all your loan documentation for inflated, duplicate, or hidden fees. Or if you have notified your loan servicer about errors and it has not corrected them, or you have requested information about your loan that has not been provided, he will advocate for your interests.
What is an Example of a RESPA Violation?
Inflating closing fees, overcharging for services, adding hidden fees, and taking kickbacks for business settlement referrals are some examples of the more common violations of RESPA by unscrupulous companies and individuals. A kickback is giving or accepting a monetary fee or other items of value in exchange for referrals. Loan providers, realtors and others in real estate who pay or receive kickbacks are breaking the law and can face harsh penalties, including fines and potentially imprisonment.
Another violation of RESPA is when proper disclosures are not made to borrowers during residential real estate transactions. Just a few examples of disclosures that must be made include:
- A Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs when applying for a mortgage loan
- A fee statement showing all actual fees that will be charged at closing
- Initial and annual escrow statements.
Additionally, when loan servicers do not respond to notifications of errors or requests for information from borrowers about their mortgage loans, this may also be a RESPA violation, as long as the notification or request for information was made in writing. Servicers have specific deadlines they are required to meet when borrowers dispute errors or request information.
Deadlines under RESPA for Error Disputes and Information Requests
You have the right to get information about your loan in a timely way and to have errors investigated. To protect yourself should your servicer be unresponsive, requests should be made in writing. Once you have sent a letter requesting information or that an error be corrected, servicers must respond within the following number of days:
- Your servicer must let you know by mail that it received your letter within five business days of its receipt.
- The company must either send you the information you requested or respond to your allegations of an error within 30 business days. If they need additional time to appropriately respond, they are required to inform you in writing.
If you contacted the servicer because you believe they improperly started foreclosure proceedings against you, the servicer generally must respond to your notice before a foreclosure sale is held. If you are being threatened with foreclosure and need to understand your options to avoid losing your home and whether you have any defense against foreclosure by claiming a RESPA violation, reach out right away to arrange a free consultation with Plantation attorney Carlos M. Amor. He has extensive background assisting homeowners in all phases of the foreclosure process.
Why Work with Attorney Carlos M. Amor if You Suspect a RESPA Violation
RESPA violation attorney Carlos M. Amor is well-versed in the regulations that protect homebuyers. He understands how to recognize when a RESPA violation may have occurred and how to hold unethical parties accountable for them. Attorney Amor has years of experience in residential real estate litigation cases and transactional matters in Florida and can be counted on to give your issue the serious attention it deserves.
How Do I Report a RESPA Violation?
You can report a RESPA violation to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is the government agency tasked with enforcing RESPA regulations. The bureau will investigate the complaint and work to get you a response, typically within 15 days, from the financial company you are making it against. You can learn more about the complaint filing process with the CFPB here. The bureau also collects data related to RESPA violations in order to detect patterns and help ensure better compliance in the future.
If you wish to file a legal claim related to a RESPA violation that has caused you harm, contact real estate attorney Carlos M. Amor. Depending upon the facts involved, you could be entitled to monetary damages. You have a limited amount of time to file a claim, so do not wait if you are considering legal action. The statute of limitations to bring a claim is three years from the date the violation occurred.
Reach out to Carlos M. Amor today to schedule a free consultation by calling (954) 453-7200. Attorney Amor offers free consults, by phone, via video meeting, or in person.
What Kind of Damages Can I Get for a RESPA Violation?
What damages you may be able to get will depend upon the facts in your case. You may be able to get compensation for your actual losses, which are what the lender, loan servicer or other party’s actions cost you. Statutory damages of up to $2,000 per RESPA violation may also be awarded in cases where the company has a pattern or practice of noncompliance with the law. Damages may also include payment of your attorney’s fees.
Every case is unique. Once you meet with RESPA violation attorney Carlos M. Amor, he can evaluate your matter and advise you about your options for a legal remedy and potential damages you may be able to get. You are not alone when you need help with a legal issue involving a real estate transaction or mortgage loan issue. If after evaluating your situation, attorney Carlos M. Amor believes you have a case against your lender or other party, he will fight hard to get you a satisfactory resolution.
Reach Out to a Knowledgeable RESPA Violation Lawyer
Hardworking Plantation Attorney Carlos M. Amor Will Protect Your Rights and Interests
As previously noted, RESPA regulations are highly complex, and you might feel unsure whether or not this consumer protection law was violated in your situation. If you believe an abuse of RESPA may have cost you money in your real estate transaction or otherwise harmed you, do not wait to get knowledgeable legal help from an effective Florida real estate law firm who has in-depth understanding of RESPA and other laws intended to protect homebuyers. Call Carlos M. Amor at (954) 453-7200 today to schedule a consultation. Attorney Amor offers free consults, by phone, via video meeting, or in person.