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Are you fighting with your mortgage company about how much you owe? Maybe you were behind in your mortgage and attempted to catch up, but your mortgage company is saying you owe more than you think you owe. Maybe you are in foreclosure - and thinking about filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the overdue balance, fees and costs the mortgage company is saying you owe seems high to you. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly referred to as "HUD", has a suggestion that could help you. 

HUD is responsible for, among other things, regulating the real estate and mortgage industry to make sure it complies with the requirements of RESPA. RESPA - or the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act - is an act designed to protect homeowners from unscrupulous lenders and real estate professionals, as well as educating consumers about their rights when buying a home, or financing or refinancing a home. If you are thinking about purchasing a home, or refinancing a home, you should consider reviewing the HUD website: www.hud.gov (simple, huh?).

If you are having a dispute with your lender about what you owe, you might want to consider sending your lender (mortgage company) a Qualified Written Request - often referred to as a "QWR". A QWR is a letteryou send to the lender, outlining the reasons why you believe the lender's account balance is wrong. It is best to be specific in your letter, and give the details necessary for the lender to respond. For example, do not simply state that the amount owed is incorrect. Give an example as to why you believe it is wrong, such as "you charged us a late fee for our January, 2008 payment, but our check was cashed by you on January 14, 2008, one day before it is considered late according to our mortgage. HUD actually provides you with a sample QWR here.

So what happens when you send a lender your QWR? The lender must follow the rules of RESPA: 1. The lender must respond to you, in writing, within sixty (60) days. 2. During those 60 days, the lender cannot report negative activity to credit bureaus. 3. The lender's written response must include specific information as to why the lender believes its accounting is correct, or it must inform you that it corrected the problem. 4. The lender must provide you with the name and telephone number of an employee who has the ability to answer any questions you may have about your dispute (don't you hate those letters that have a person's name, and a P.O. Box - but no phone or fax number?). Once you receive the lender's response to your QWR, if you are still not satisfied, you should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can help you file a complaint with HUD.