Servicing Guide

Published November 10, 2020

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What are the servicing responsibilities related to publication costs?

Publication costs may be reduced through more efficient use of the print media. For example, in publishing a legal advertisement, the law firm must substitute a reference to the mortgage loan for the full legal description of the property — if doing so will not affect the validity of the foreclosure sale. Similarly, in some circumstances, costs may be managed by ensuring that an advertisement is not typeset or spaced in a manner that increases the costs with no apparent additional benefit. Online or alternative publications may be used to reduce the costs of publication, if allowed by applicable state laws.

Fannie Mae will reimburse the servicer, without prior approval, for costs paid to a newspaper to publish all required documents necessary to complete a typical, uninterrupted foreclosure action. In the event a foreclosure sale is rescheduled or the foreclosure is restarted and there is a subsequent sale date scheduled during the life of the default, Fannie Mae prior approval is required for additional publication costs associated with each new sale date. See also General Requirements for Default-Related Legal Costs for further details.

The servicer must also comply with the following requirements for publication costs.

The servicer must...
 

Require the law firm to retain receipts from the newspaper or publication as well as any receipts from any publication vendor.

 

Ensure that no costs for publication placement services, such as costs related to publication price negotiation, placement, typesetting, follow-up, or advertisement tracking, are passed through to the borrower, the servicer, or Fannie Mae.

Note: See Publication Placement Costs for Certain States for reimbursement of certain publication placement costs for specific states.

 

Ensure that only the actual cost of the newspaper or publication reduced by all discounts, rebates, refunds, commissions, and other similar items of any kind is passed through to the borrower, the servicer, or Fannie Mae.

 

Ensure that the law firm and any publication vendor used by the law firm are

  • passing along for the benefit of the borrower, the servicer, and Fannie Mae any available discounts, rebates, refunds, commissions, or other similar items of any kind; and

  • utilizing the lowest cost newspaper or other publication that meets the requirements of applicable law, taking into account the frequency of publication.

  Reimburse the law firm in a timely manner for excess publication costs related to postponed or restarted foreclosure sales regardless of whether Fannie Mae prior approval is provided unless the reason for the restart or the postponement is due to actual or alleged error or lack of diligence on the part of a law firm by the servicer.

For more information please see: E-5-07, Other Reimbursable Default-Related Legal Expenses

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