Mortgage company cashes homeowner’s check meant for roof repair

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Donald Smith only plans to fix his roof leaking after it was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

This is what his insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance, wants him to do. Because of this, the company agreed to pay him $ 17,715.01 to replace the roof. They wrote a check, but Smith still can’t get the money.

“I’m frustrated and angry,” said Smith.

Smith’s check was also made out to his mortgage lender, Ditech Financial. Florida law also requires a mortgage company to be listed on the check if there is a mortgage. Typically, the company will confirm the check and send it back to the homeowner.

In this case, Smith sent the check to Ditech – it was not approved – and then he heard nothing. It turns out that the mortgage company deposited the check and used the entire amount on Smith’s mortgage.

“My mortgage was not in arrears,” he said. “In fact, I pay a month in advance.”

A citizen spokesman asked how the mortgage company could cash the check without Smith’s approval.

Smith said the lender then told him he could have money to fix the roof, but only a little at a time and only after giving them records of who was being hired, including the company’s tax identification number.

“My roofing company told me they had never heard of it,” said Smith.

8 On Your Side’s Better Call Behnken is working to get answers for Smith. We left Ditech several messages and called state officials.

A representative of the lender promised to get to the bottom of the matter.

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