Q is for Qualified Written RequestA Qualified Written Request allows borrowers to obtain information from their servicer without having to file a lawsuit. You want to save your house and a foreclosure is looming but you’re pretty certain that the lender is claiming you owe more than you actually do. While not part of the bankruptcy code, 12 U.S.C. 2605 is a tool that may assist a debtor to keep their home with or without a bankruptcy filing.

It is common for a lender or mortgage servicer to claim that you owe more money than you think you do. Sometimes these accounting errors even cause you to default on your loan. Some of the common errors are:

  • Compounding interest when not allowed
  • Failure to make timely tax payments thus incurring late charges
  • Failure to properly apply payments made to your account
  • Improperly crediting payments you make
  • Charging impermissible late fees
  • Refusing to accept your payments because there is a difference in balance due and sum paid
  • Forcing insurance on you when you already have shown proof you carry it

Send a Qualified Written Request

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) provides for the Qualified Written Request (QWR). As Max Gardner says, “a reasonable QWR can provide the attorney for the Chapter 13 debtor with some of the very best discovery outside of a contested case or Adversary Proceeding.”The servicer must acknowledge your request within 20 work days of receipt and respond to your inquiries within 60 work days. You must include enough information in your request so that the servicer can identify your mortgage account. Usually an account number along with your name and the property address will work. You should also include any errors you believe occurred and clear requests for information.

Ask for a complete transaction history of the loan including all payments and charges. Also ask for the transaction codes and definitions so you can understand the history. You’ll also want any Pooling agreements; the name and contact information of a person to speak with about your account; the name of the current holder of the note; and copies of all correspondence, communication and collection documents related to your account. With this information you will be able to find out what is happening to your account and who owns your mortgage.

What If My Lender Won’t Respond?

There is also a provision in 12 U.S.C. 2605(f) that allows for reasonable attorney fees and costs if the lender or servicer fails to comply with your request.

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H is for Home Owner's Association Dues

What happens to my homeowner’s association (HOA) dues if I file for bankruptcy?

It depends. If you owe HOA dues from before you filed, they are discharged in the bankruptcy. If you don’t pay the HOA after you file, those dues will not be discharged.

Where it gets confusing for people is when the property is foreclosed. A foreclosure may take many months to complete. Until that foreclosure is completed and title is transferred the dues continue to accrue and all the dues that accumulated after the date of filing the bankruptcy petition remain due and payable by the debtor under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

If you are living in the condo until the foreclosure process is completed, you could pay the HOA dues each month and avoid the problem entirely.

If you have surrendered the property in the bankruptcy proceeding, you likely aren’t paying the HOA dues because you have to pay rent somewhere to live.

If you haven’t paid the dues during the bankruptcy will it be a problem for you?

It may not be. This situation often resolves itself in the debtor’s favor because the lender has to clear the title before selling the property. Once the lender pays the dues to clear the title the debt no longer exists. Since the debt claim is based on pre-bankruptcy agreements, which have been discharged, the lender may conclude it has no recourse against the debtor. This means they may not come after you for the HOA dues even though technically you may still owe a portion of them.

For more Bankruptcy H’s see:

Image credit: Leo Reynolds