Friday, November 29, 2013

How to Write a Qualified Written Request Letter

By Michael Fuller, Portland Trial Attorney

Writing a Qualified Written Request (QWR) letter to your mortgage loan servicer is simple.

How QWR Letters Work


Consumers write QWR letters to mortgage servicers to request information about the servicing of first mortgage loans. "Servicing" includes payment schedules, escrow amounts, and interest rates.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (12 USC § 2601 et seq.) generally requires mortgage loan servicers to let you know they've received your QWR letter within five days. Within 30 days, they must take action on the request. For the next 60 days, you're protected from negative credit reporting. 

QWR letters generally do not cover questions about mortgage fraud, robo-signing, the location of the original inked loan documents, or general requests for information. Read Morequity v. Naeem (N.D. Ill. 2000) for more information.

How to Write a QWR Letter Under RESPA


Here's a sample letter I use:

Send the request to your mortgage loan servicer's customer service address, located on your statement. If you're writing to a National Association bank, you can cc: its address with the Federal Reserve System. For non-bank mortgage loan servicers, you may also cc: the entity's registered agent by searching your state's business registry

Sent by Certified Mail on November 29, 2013

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., c/o CEO John Stumpf, 101 N Phillips Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Please take action in response to the following RESPA qualified written requests: 

1. I believe my first mortgage account servicing is in error because... Please review the following documents evidencing the servicing error... Please respond with specific information about your investigation of the servicing error, including...

Michael Fuller, SSN, Loan No., Home Address

What if the Mortgage Loan Servicer Doesn't Respond to the QWR?


Consumers are entitled to compensation for damages resulting from RESPA violations.

Actual Damages


Actual damages generally include economic losses like higher interest rates and QWR expenses incurred after a deficient response.

Actual damages may also include emotional harms like stress, anxiety, and frustration.

The November 26, 2013 Marais v. Chase opinion by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals clarifies the types of damages available to consumers resulting from RESPA violations. The opinion makes clear consumers should plead damages with as much specificity as possible when drafting a small claim or lawsuit complaint.

Statutory Damages


Courts may award statutory damages of up to $2,000, in addition to actual damages, in cases of patterns or practices of non-compliance with RESPA.

Know Your Enemy


Finally, before you write your QWR letter, read this bank lawyer's letter.

 The letter advises mortgage loan servicers how to avoid liability under RESPA.

The letter will help you identify what information is most likely to trigger your servicer's attention to fix its error.