EUPHEMISMS AT WORK
For more than 20 years, our government has taken a hands-off approach to regulating Wall Street Banks and the banking servicing industry. Finally, in 2014, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s enactment of mortgage servicing rules meant to curb the widespread abuse, victimized homeowners were finally given a chance to fight back. One of the key provisions in this regard is the “Notice of Error Rule.” In keeping with its gloves-on approach to trying to rein in the massive corruption, what the CFPB refers to euphemistically as an “error,” most people would call out-and-out fraud.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
Despite its name, the Notice of Error Rule can be a powerful weapon in the hands of the informed homeowner who’s been kicked around by a mortgage company. Call it what you will, but the Rule allows the consumer to call the company out on its misconduct, and demand that it stop and make restitution for costs/damages suffered. Importantly, it doesn’t end there. The Rule also permits homeowners to sue the company for the recovery of those damages and collect attorney fees should the company blow off the request to correct the error.
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
As with many laws however, making the Notice of Error Rule work for you requires strict compliance with its provisions. The first thing a wronged homeowner must do is give the mortgage company written notice of the claimed error it allegedly committed — thus, the term “Notice of Error.” Most effective use of the rule requires a good working knowledge of the do’s and don’ts of the rules so that the notice can point with clarity to the exact provisions violated.
Laying out the facts constituting the error in a detailed way is critical to success, too. This conveys a strong message to the company that you know what you’re talking about and that you mean business. The Notice of Error Rule can be the abused homeowner’s best friend!
Daniel McGookey, author of Consumer Mortgage News, is a lawyer of 36 years. His firm, McGookey Law Offices, LLC, has offices in Columbus, Lorain and Sandusky, and represents homeowners with real estate and mortgage issues throughout Ohio.