Tighter Deadlines for Response to Qualified Written Request Letters, Harder Penalties for Failure to Respond
The Qualified Written Request (QWR)
The Qualified Written Request is a letter sent to a mortgage servicer to which they are required to respond with certain information, such as the actual owner of the mortgage and other specific items requested in the letter. More regarding the specifics of qualified written request letters can be found here.
Qualified Written Request Letters: What's Changing?
On January 10, 2014, servicers' obligations to respond to QWR letters are changing as follows:
- Servicers must acknowledge receipt of the QWR in writing within 5 business days (i.e., no weekends or holidays) rather than 20 days;
- Servicers must return a substantive response to the QWR within 30 days (minus weekends and holidays) rather than the previous 60 days;
- Servicers may request a 15-day extension to this 30-day deadline (which they need merely notify the correspondent of in writing in order to receive);
- Servicers will now be liable for statutory damages of $2,000 for violations rather than the previous $1,000, in addition to actual damages, if any.
What Does this Mean?
These changes are reflective of consumer law reforms in the wake of the mortgage meltdown enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, as well as in keeping with the spirit of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created by Congress in order to police mortgage servicing malfeasance. What these changes mean is that, if you submit a QWR, you should receive the information you are seeking more quickly, and this will enable you to take action more efficiently if you believe that you are suffering from a mortgage servicing abuse or violation. In the context of Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, in which mortgage servicers must file proof of claim and other documentation with the bankruptcy court in order to prove that they are right party to be paid from the filing debtor's Chapter 13 payment plan, these changes will enable your bankruptcy attorney to more accurately review these documents for false statements and other defects as they are filed by mortgage servicer creditors. If you are a Michigan resident and would like to explore your options for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy with an experienced Michigan bankruptcy attorney, please contact us at (866) 674-2317 or click the button below to schedule a free, initial consultation.
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