If you get behind on your mortgage, it can result in late fees and even a negative mark on your credit. Explaining the circumstances that led to your missed payment positions you to ask that potential action against you -- such as penalties and credit bureau reporting -- be waived.
Structuring Your Letter
When you write to your mortgage lender, make sure you’re addressing the letter to the right department. Call your lender’s customer service number and ask where to direct your correspondence. The company may have additional forms or paperwork you have to fill out when requesting a waiver, so ask about that as well.
Print a copy of the letter and keep it with your mortgage records.
What to Include
Follow standard business letter formatting and reference your account number in your correspondence. Launch right into your request with your opening sentence and include pertinent dates and details.
Example: “I’m requesting that fees and credit reporting of my missed mortgage payment from February, 2015 be waived.”
If you have paperwork from the lender showing that a late payment has been assessed, copy it, highlight the charge, and include a copy with your letter.
Offer an Explanation
Example: “I changed banks in January and overlooked my mortgage automatic payment option. I have rectified the situation and assure you this mistake will not occur again in the future.”
Example: “I recently changed jobs and had a longer-than-anticipated time period between paychecks. I reduced household expenses in an effort to make ends meet, and am now back on track with all financial obligations.”
Use a Compelling Close
Conclude your letter with a positive statement about your relationship with the lender.
Example: “I have been a customer of this company for 15 years and this is my first missed payment. I hope you’ll consider that history while reviewing my request.”
If you don’t hear from your lender before your next billing cycle, check your statement to see if the fees have been waived. If they haven’t, contact the lender and follow up by phone. Whatever the lender’s response, ask them to put it in writing so you have a copy for your files.
If your lender won’t waive your late fee, ask if there are any other damage control options available. If you’re late, still within the grace period, but you know you’ll miss a payment, you may have the option to skip a payment and have it tacked on to the end of your mortgage.
Lenders aren’t likely to wave late fees very often. If you’re facing financial difficulties and having trouble paying your bills, ask about options such as refinancing, temporary forbearance, a loan repayment plan or loan modification.
Lisa McQuerrey has been an award-winning writer and author for more than 25 years. She specializes in business, finance, workplace/career and education. Publications she’s written for include Southwest Exchange and InBusiness Las Vegas.