HUD Archives: News Releases
October 11, 2002
HUD EXPANDS EFFORTS TO LOCATE HOMEOWNERS DUE REFUNDS
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today
stepped up efforts to locate homeowners owed $250 million in Federal Housing
Administration (FHA) premium refunds. The Department awarded Walker and Company
LLP a contract, not to exceed $2,588,981, to assist the FHA in finding the more
than 348,000 homeowners who are owed money.
Refunds are owed to homeowners for upfront mortgage insurance fees paid to
the FHA. When homeowners pay off their loan within five years, a portion of
the unearned upfront premium is returned. In fiscal year 2002, HUD processed
and returned more than 650,000 Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) refunds
for more than $680 million.
"It should not cost a homeowner to get money that is rightfully theirs. Our
goal is to find that 10-12% of homeowners that we have been previously unable
to locate," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. "If HUD owes you money, we are
going to do more than ever before to locate you and get you your refund."
HUD collects an upfront premium payment on all loans closed in the FHA's Mutual
Mortgage Insurance Fund, the Department's most active single-family home loan
program. More than six million home loans are currently insured under this program.
HUD has been successful in locating and paying the majority of homeowners that
are due refunds through its own mailing effort, an Internet site and a 1-800
number. However, the Department has been unable to contact some of the homeowners
because their mortgage company did not provide HUD with a correct mailing address
or because the homeowners have moved and are no longer at the mailing address
in HUD's records.
If cases remain unpaid for two years, information about the cases is placed
on lists that are made available to the public under the Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA). Currently, the FOIA lists contain information about 148,000 cases
with unpaid refunds totaling more than $100 million.
Under FOIA, individuals and companies, called third-party tracers, request copies
of the lists of unpaid homeowners. They then use various techniques to find these
homeowners and, for a fee, assist them in acquiring their MIP refunds. Tracer
fees normally range from 10 to 30 percent of the refunds. HUD is not a party to
the transactions between the homeowners and the tracers, and homeowners do not
need to go through tracers to receive their refunds.
The new contract will save many of the homeowners the unnecessary expense of
obtaining their refund through a tracer.
Homeowners who believe they may be owed a refund can access the HUD Web page
at www.hud.gov. Click on "Buy a Home" and then click on "Refunds." The Wed page
"Does HUD Owe You a Refund" will appear. Fill in your name or FHA case number
and click the search button. The entry will be compared against the HUD database
to scan for a refund. If your name is on the list, you can call (800) 697-6967
to get your refund. If your name is not on the list, but you believe you are
owed a refund, you can use the same number to determine your status.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly
among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans,
supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living
with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as
well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD
and its programs is available on the Internet.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010