In recent months, I have noticed 2 address-related problems for people facing mortgage foreclosure:
1. Mortgage companies changing correspondence address listings in their computer records to a different street number than the mortgaged property address; and
2. US Postal workers flagging homes receiving foreclosure correspondence as “vacated.”
As to the first problem, with record level foreclosures and frequent reassignments of mortgage accounts, it is not surprising that a mortgage company or servicing agent could make the honest mistake of entering an address incorrectly. However, this is very difficult for you, the homeowner, to catch such a mistake until after the fact. The cynic in me sees this as a rather questionable error. Foreclosure avoidance notices (with strict deadlines) going to the wrong address? Suddenly the homeowner has no ability to respond, because he/she never got the notice? It seems very suspicious, if not down right mailicious. And if the mortgage company shuts down your online access to your account in the process of a default on payments, it can be very difficult to stay informed about the status of your loan other than by mail deliveries.
As to the second problem, if your mail is delivered while you are at work, you may not realize that postal workers monitor addresses to determine if a property is vacated or if a resident may have moved. When you go through foreclosure, you will get various solicitations from “foreclosure rescue” companies along with legitimate mail from the major foreclosure law firms and your mortgage company. Post Office employees recognize these return addresses and start to question whether you still live at your home. In particular nowadays with so many monthly bills being sent via email, if the majority of your incoming mail is foreclosure-related or junkmail, and if your mail carrier hasn’t seen you at home during delivery hours, a well-intentioned worker may take it upon him or herself to decide you do not live there anymore. Next, they will start returning mail addressed to you. And you are none the wiser.
My advice for the first problem is the same as for the second: get to know your US Post Office letter carrier! Stop him or her some day and introduce yourself. Let them know that you do live there. If they find something going to your zip code that has the wrong street number on it, they may redirect it to you. And if they know you’re still in the home, they won’t go adding you to their “moved” list.
There is no end to unforeseen problems when it comes to surviving foreclosure. When in doubt, it cannot hurt to make a friendly introduction of yourself to your neighborhood letter carrier.