Speak Up

Hurricane victims are also victims of mortgage holders

Eight months after Hurricane Irma, many neighborhoods still have homes with tarp-covered roofs. Most homeowners received funds from their insurance policies, but the checks are made out to the mortgage holders. This is legal and in accordance with the mortgage clauses. What is outrageous, however, is the way many of the mortgage companies are treating the homeowners. Most refuse to turn over any funds until repairs are made.

Many homeowners do not have the funds to advance the $10,000 deposit roofing companies require. Meanwhile, the leaking roofs create issues with mold, plaster walls and ceilings falling in and rotting wood.

Some homeowners use credit cards to fund repairs, at high interest rates, while the companies hold their funds and pay them no interest. Meanwhile, homeowners are also paying interest on their mortgages. Some do not have access to high credit limits and can do nothing.

Those of us fortunate enough to have the money to front these repairs are faced with the ridiculous administrative burden of trying to get reimbursed for what we have spent. After eight months of hours on hold, listening to recordings, and getting the run around, we still could not get our money from our mortgage company. We submitted all the paid receipts and contractors’ licenses. We complied with all requests, and still no results. The mortgage balance on our home is less than half the value of the house, so it is obvious that common sense does not enter into the picture. We notified the Consumer Protection Agency. Within two days we had a FedEx envelope with part of our money.

We are drowning in bank regulations, but none of them help the hapless victims of hurricanes, who are now victims of many mortgage companies’ unfair practices.

Katherine Newman, Coral Gables

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