How to Report Settlement Violations to RESPA

Violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act are subject to various penalties, depending on what part of the law has been violated. People who violate Section 8 may be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to one year. Also, they may be liable for other damages.

To report violations, write to: Director, Interstate Land Sales/RESPA Division, Office of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Room 9146, 451 7th St. S.W., Washington, DC 20410.

Be sure to identify the violator by name, address and phone number and provide your own name and number for follow-up. Requests for confidentiality will be honored. If your complaint involves loan servicing, including escrow account questions, you must first ask your lender in writing for an explanation and refund. Make sure you label the letter as "a qualified written request under Section 6 of RESPA." A sample letter can be found on HUD's Web site at www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/res/respa_hm.cfm.

Under the law, the lender must respond within 20 days and resolve the issue within 60. If the company fails to meet those deadlines, write to HUD.

--Lew Sichelman

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