Mortgage servicers sometimes make serious errors when handling a homeowner’s mortgage loan account. Fortunately, federal law provides a way for you to make the lender correct the error or provide you with certain information if you believe that your mortgage servicer has made a mistake (or multiple mistakes) when managing your account.
Read on to learn more about how you can dispute a mortgage error or obtain valuable information from your mortgage servicer.
Mortgage servicers administer mortgage loan accounts. The servicer typically handles:
Your mortgage servicer could be the bank that owns your loan or it could be a separate company.
A federal law, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), provides a way for you to dispute errors with your mortgage servicer and/or obtain specific information about your account. The way to do this is to send your servicer a letter.
Under recent amendments to RESPA, your letter will be considered a “notice of error” or a “request for information.” There are different time limits for the servicer to respond to your letter based on which type of request you send.
If you send a letter to notify the servicer about a particular error that it made when managing your loan, the servicer must correct the error, provide notification of the correction, and give contact information for you to follow up -- or let you know that no error occurred along with the reasons for this conclusion.
Common types of servicer errors. With so many different duties and variables, there is a lot of room for error when it comes to mortgage loan servicing. Under the law, the following servicer errors (among others) can be addressed in a notice of error:
Time frame to acknowledge your notice of error. Your servicer must acknowledge a written notice that asserts a particular error within five business days.
Time frame to respond to your notice of error. How much time the servicer gets to respond to your notice of error depends on the type of error that you claim the servicer committed.
The servicer may generally extend the 30-day period by 15 days if, within the 30-day period, it informs you about the extension and tells you why there is a delay. (However, a 15-day extension is not allowed if your notice of error is about a payoff statement or certain errors pertaining to foreclosure.)
A request for information can be useful if you’re not sure whether or not the servicer made an error and you want to get information about your account to help you make this determination. For example, you may want to see the servicer's records regarding your payment history.
Time frame to acknowledge your request for information. If you send a written request for information, the servicer must acknowledge your inquiry within five days.
Time frame in which servicer must respond to your request for information. The servicer must generally give you the information you requested within 30 business days -- or explain why the information is not available, as well as provide you with the name and contact information of someone you can follow up with.
When the 30-day response period can be extended. The servicer gets 15 extra days to respond if it notifies you about the extension within the 30-day period and lets you know the cause of the delay.
When the servicer must respond sooner. The servicer must provide the information you requested within ten business days if you’re trying to find out the identify, address, or other contact information for the owner of your mortgage loan.
The servicer does not have to address your notice of error or request for information if:
However, the servicer cannot just ignore your notice, even if it fits one of the four criteria above. It must notify you within five business days after determining that it doesn’t have to deal with your notice or request, and give you the basis for the determination.
You can find a sample notice of error letter, along with useful information about what to include in the letter, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website at www.consumerfinance.gov. Search for the article called “How do I dispute an error with my servicer about my mortgage?” and follow the “sample letter” link.
To find a sample request for information letter that you can send to your servicer, go to the same website and search for the article called “How do I request information from my mortgage servicer about my mortgage loan?” Again, follow the “sample letter” link.
If you’re sending a notice of error and also want to request certain information, you can send a single letter. Or you can send your notice of error and request for information letters separately.