If you are facing a mortgage payment that you cannot make or if you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, the first step you should take is to contact your lending company directly. Do not ignore the letters or phone calls from your lender. Foreclosure on a mortgage and the loss of a home is an expensive process. The longer you wait to make the call, the fewer options you will have.
Effective January 1, 2010, consumers who enter a loan modification agreement are entitled to the following protections under Florida law:
- Registration: companies and all employees conducting loan modification services must be properly licensed.
- No Upfront Fees: no upfront fees can be charged before the client benefits from the loan modification services.
- Written Contracts: a written agreement is required with specific language that explains the customers' rights under the law and lists the specific services and expectations of the contract.
The Office of Financial Regulation offers the following tips for consumers to identify potential fraud and avoid becoming a victim:
- Do your research! Check the regulatory requirements the profession adheres to and confirm the person you are working with has a professional license. Also, check if any complaints have been filed against the company or individual. Consumers can visit the OFR's public license search or call (850)-487-9687, to get current information on all OFR-issued licenses.
- Always get your agreement in writing and specify the services to be provided. Make sure you read and understand the agreement. You may wish to have a Real Estate attorney review the agreement prior to signing it.
- NEVER pay any upfront fees for loan modification services. It is illegal to charge consumers for any services until after they have been rendered.
- If you feel you have been victimized, file a complaint on the OFR website.
- Visit the Home Affordable Modification Program website for additional resources.