A lady came in yesterday to my law office in Houston, worried about going into foreclosure. She is the sole support of her family, which includes a husband who was laid off about a year ago, and four minor children. She actually had not missed any house payments.

She claimed that she had been paying them online, but that her mortgage company raised the payments, without telling her. By the time she realized it, she was $2500 behind, and Wells Fargo told her she was about to be put into foreclosure status.

The thing that really upset her, was that Wells wouldn't tell her why her payments went up, and in fact gave her conflicting stories. One time she called, they told her that her property taxes had increased. But she called the tax authorities, and they said no, your taxes are the same as last year.

Then she called Wells Fargo, and was told that her homeowner's insurance had increased, and that is what made her payments increase. So she called her insurance company, and they said yes, your insurance went up all of $200 per year, but that wouldn't account for such a big increase in your payments. Then she called again, and was told something else, which also turned out to be bogus.

So she asked Wells Fargo for some loss mitigation options; mind you, this lady is less than two payments delinquent. The letter from Wells Fargo says "it is not in the investor's best interest" to offer her loss mitigation, such as a plan to catch up. It turns out, she should be able to catch it up, by borrowing from mom if necessary, and not have to resort to filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which can help homeowners save their homes, if they have gotten behind.

And, I explained to her how to get information from her mortgage servicer Wells Fargo, by sending them a letter that can constitute a "Qualified Written Request" under the federal Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act" or RESPA. It's just a doggone shame, if you ask my humble opinion, that it has come to this in this country, that a mortgage lender is going to threaten to put a whole houseful of good people, including minor children, out on the street, when they can't even explain why the payments increased, and won't give the homeowner a chance to catch up.

If you are facing a foreclosure, and need help to stop the foreclosure and catch up, and you are a resident of the Houston Texas area, call my office at 713-772-8037 to set up a free first visit to meet with me. We can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure and let you catch up over as long as a 5 year period of time. If you qualify, we also help clients apply for loan modifications, which can greatly reduce your monthly payments and sometimes make it more affordable to live in the home.

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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