Mortgage company holds money to fix ruined house – WFTV

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla .– Six months after Hurricane Irma, a Daytona Beach woman still cannot return to her destroyed home. The insurance company paid for the repairs, but now their mortgage company will not release the money.

Todd Ulrich from Action 9 met April Lavan outside the townhouse that she can’t call home.

The hurricane ripped off the roof, causing the ceilings to collapse. Months later, all major repairs are still pending.

“Because my mortgage company won’t return my check, it’s pretty straightforward,” Lavan said. She blames her lender, Ditech Financial, and says the company is holding its insurance settlement hostage.

Her insurer wrote a check for $ 50,000, but it took two signatures, Lavan’s and Ditech’s, so she called the lender.

“We’re going to approve it, cash it and get your money back to you,” Lavan said three months ago.

Lavan partially paid for a new roof herself and hired a general contractor, but said it was impossible to get Ditech’s approval.

She received a letter from Ditech listing all the documents she needs to release the insurance check. According to Lavan, they’ve done all of this at least twice.

Lavan says it was not possible to get answers from Ditech.

“Pretty slapped in the face when you’re trying to get your money back, which is yours,” she said.

Mortgage companies are included in insurance paychecks to ensure they are spent on repairs.

But real estate lawyer Karen Wonsetler told Action 9 that lenders can’t delay the process, so consumers must send a formal notice. “I did everything, I’m up to date on my loan, you don’t have the right to withhold funds,” Wonsetler said.

Ditech Financial includes Green Tree Servicing, which paid a $ 63 million federal settlement for abused borrowers trying to keep their homes.

Lavan is recovering from a hip replacement and currently lives with his brother. She wants this nightmare to end: “I want my house fixed and I want to come home. “

Several days after Ulrich contacted the lender’s head office, Lavan received a FedEx letter from Ditech including a check to cover the initial repairs.

Action 9 has heard similar complaints about other lenders overwhelmed with hurricane insurance repairs. Experts say unreasonable delays can be a breach of contract, so document every contact you have with the lender.

Ditech provided Action 9 with the following response:

“I understand that you or someone on your team contacted customer service last week regarding an insurance payment for April Lavan from Daytona Beach. I received an update late yesterday that a FedEx envelope was mailed to customer on Monday and was received yesterday with checks to cover roof repairs and some interior repairs.

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