Homeowners who have questions about their mortgage loans or wish to dispute an error with their servicer have a useful tool at their disposal: a qualified written request (“QWR”).
A QWR is a requirement for loan servicers under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”). QWRs are written requests to loan servicers to dispute an error in a mortgage loan. For example, if a homeowner believes that their loan servicer has not properly credited their account with a mortgage loan payment, they can notify the servicer of this through a QWR.
QWRs are useful not only for fixing errors, but also for obtaining important information about their mortgage loan. A homeowner can request that the mortgage servicer notify them of which entity owns the loan and request a copy of the promissory note (the contract that the homeowner entered into for the purchase of the home). Believe it or not, this information is not always easy to find, and a QWR is a useful means of getting this information.
A QWR needs to be in writing, and should be sent separately from a regular loan payment to the servicer. Loan servicers often have separate addresses for QWRs (which can often be found on their websites). If you cannot find this address, you can call the servicer and ask where it should be sent to. A QWR should always be sent using certified mail, so there is proof that the servicer received the request.
When preparing a QWR, avoid making a “laundry list” of documents that you are looking for. Case law suggests that a loan servicer does not need to respond to a long list of requested documents, but instead, merely needs to address a borrower’s specific concerns. The best practice in a QWR request is to state your reason for writing the letter and request any relevant documents related to the inquiry. For example, I always ask for a validation of the underlining debt; specifically a copy of the promissory note and any documents showing how this instrument has been sold during the life of the loan.
A borrower can sue a loan servicer for its failure to comply with a QWR. With this in mind, borrowers should keep detailed records of their QWR letter and proof that it was sent.