This is the final part of our multi-part series on protecting your rights through the Florida Fair Lending Act. We hope you have found this information useful. To check out the previous installments, check out the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth parts at their respective links here.
(13) LATE PAYMENT FEES.—A lender may not charge a late payment fee for a high-cost home loan except as provided in this subsection:
(a) A late payment fee may not be in excess of 5 percent of the amount of the payment past due.
(b) A late payment fee may only be assessed for a payment past due for 15 days or more.
(c) A late payment fee may not be charged more than once with respect to a single late payment. If a late payment fee is deducted from a payment made on the loan and such deduction causes a subsequent default on a subsequent payment, no late payment fee may be imposed for such default. If a late payment fee has been imposed once with respect to a particular late payment, no such fee shall be imposed with respect to any future payment which would have been timely and sufficient, but for the previous default.
This one is pretty clear. It limits late fees to five percent of the past-due payment. It forces lenders to wait until a payment is 15 days late before they can charge late fees. Also, it prevents them from “double-dipping” and charging you twice for the same missed payment.
(14) MODIFICATION OR DEFERRAL FEES.—A lender may not charge a borrower any fees or other charges to modify, renew, extend, or amend a high-cost home loan or to defer any payment due under the terms of a high-cost home loan on a minimum of one modification, renewal, extension, or deferral per each 12 months of the length of the loan.
Lenders cannot charge fees to modify a loan or to defer payments.
If your mortgage contains any of these dirty little tricks, contact a lawyer. You can gain substantial benefit from seeing the banks punished for breaking the law. The penalty for violating this law is the lender gives up the rights to any interest on the loan, meaning you only have to pay the original principal, as outlined below:
(1) Any person or the agent, officer, or other representative of any person committing a material violation of the provisions of this act shall forfeit the entire interest charged in the high-cost home loan or contracted to be charged or received, and only the principal sum of such high-cost home loan can be enforced in any court in this state, either at law or in equity.
Check your mortgage terms to ensure that your loan is on the up and up. If it is not, if your loan forces you into any of the aforementioned traps, know your rights and defend them.