If your mortgage company was supposed to pay your Cook County property taxes from escrow and you received a tax delinquency notice, it is most likely that:
- No tax payment had been tendered at the time the delinquency notice was printed.
- A tax payment was submitted in a way or format that could not be processed.
- The mortgage company paid on the wrong Property Index Number (PIN).
This section of the website offers instructions on how to address the problem of a mortgage company failing to pay.
- Review any statement from the mortgage lender indicating a tax payment has been made for the year in question. If the tax payment amounts does not match what was due for your PIN, this is a sign that your mortgage company may have used your escrow
money to pay on the wrong PIN. If your property includes multiple PINs, it may be a sign that your mortgage company failed to pay on one of those PINs.
- Whether or not you have such a statement from the lender, call the lender and ask the lender to tell you which PIN (or PINs) on which it paid. Do not offer a PIN. Ask on which PIN the company paid.
- If the company insists that it submitted a payment on time, you should request a copy of the canceled check or a disbursement sheet that indicates the date and amount of the payment and the PIN that was used to submit the payment.
- When these problems occur, it is important to remain calm, but firm. Many taxpayers report that the problems are resolved by being vigilant with the company -- making repeated calls, if necessary. Also, you may monitor for payment of your taxes at
this website by clicking Property Tax Overview and entering your 14-digit PIN.
- SAMPLE LETTER: If you believe no payment was made or that your funds were misapplied and submitted for the wrong PIN, you may want to file a written complaint under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (also known as RESPA). RESPA is the federal
law that regulates mortgage companies and their use of your escrow money. Lenders are required under RESPA to make timely and accurate payments and are forbidden from charging the homeowner/borrower for late penalties or erroneous use of escrow.
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) oversees enforcement of RESPA. The CFPB recommends that you send a letter to your lender separate from any mortgage payment. Below is a suggested format:
Sample Letter of Complaint to Mortgage Company
Attention Customer Service
[Mortgage Company Name]
[Mortgage Company Address]
[Mortgage Company City/State/ZIP]
Subject: [Your loan number]
[Names on loan documents]
[Property and/or mailing address]
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a "qualified written request" under Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).
I am writing because:
[Describe the issue or the question you have and/or what action you believe the lender should take.]
[Attach copies of any related written materials.]
[Describe any conversations with customer service regarding the issue and to whom you spoke.]
[Describe any previous steps you have taken or attempts to resolve the issue.]
[List a daytime telephone number in case a customer service representative wishes to contact you.]
I understand that under Section 6 of RESPA you are required to acknowledge receipt of my request within 5 business days and take action to resolve my inquiry within 30 business days.
Remember that borrowers' letters should include:
- the loan number;
- a reference to the "qualified written request under Section 6 of RESPA";
- the nature of the violation you believe has occurred;
- what action you want taken; and,
- how to reach you by phone or in writing so that the lender may respond to your complaint.
Under the law, the lender must acknowledge receipt of your inquiry within 5 business days and take action to resolve your inquiry (or otherwise respond if no action is necessary) within 30 business days. If the company fails to meet those deadlines, contact the CFPB. You should be sure to identify the lender by name, address and phone number and provide your own name, address, phone number and loan number for follow-up.
- RESPA complaint letters SHOULD NOT be included with your mortgage payment, but should be sent separately to the customer service address of your mortgage lender.
- You SHOULD continue to make the required mortgage and escrow payment until the request is resolved.
- You may bring a private right of action under Section 6 of RESPA, if you suffer damages due to the lender's improper servicing of your loan or escrow monies.
- You should always receive your property tax bill so that you may monitor the amount, exemptions, assessment changes, and the payment of the bill.
- Mortgage companies have access to an online system of submitting mass payments on multiple PINs — without copies of tax bills.
- As in all jurisdictions, mortgage companies operating in Cook County are responsible for correctly paying taxes on your property if you have an escrow with a mortgage company.
- In creating an escrow account for taxes or insurance, a mortgage company assumes responsibility, under federal and state laws, for obtaining and paying the correct property tax bill and insurance bill on time and in full.
- Mortgage companies are not billed for taxes by the Treasurer's Office, because:
- different loans may or may not include escrow for taxes;
- loans may be paid off or refinanced at any time; and
- loans are regularly re-sold between companies or paid by a new company after a merger or consolidation or the use by the company of a third-party tax payment service.