Better Call Behnken: Mortgage company cashes homeowner’s check meant for roof repair

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Donald Smith just wants to fix his leaking roof after it was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

That’s what his insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance, wants him to do. That’s why 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 am frustrated and angry,” Smith said.

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

In this case, Smith sent the check to Ditech – it was not endorsed – and then he heard nothing. It turns out, the mortgage company deposited the check and put the whole amount towards Smith’s mortgage.

“My mortgage was not behind,” he said. “In fact, I pay a month ahead of time.”

A spokesman for Citizens questioned how the mortgage company could even cash the check without Smith’s endorsement.

Smith said the lender then told him he could have money to fix the roof, but only a little bit at a time and only after giving them documents on who is hiring, including the company’s tax identification number.

“My roofing company told me they have never heard of this,” Smith said.

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

A representative for the lender promised to get to the bottom of what happened.

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