Proper Form

The following constitutes the opening form of a hardship letter.

It is important that you include the appropriate address of the bank and your correct account number. Call the bank if you need to – do not leave it blank. Also, do not just send the letter to the address on your mortgage statement, it is usually not the correct address to submit a hardship letter, so source the correct address.

Start of the Form

Step 1 – Header

January 1, 20XX

Joe Borrower
Jane Borrower
Address of Borrower
City, State, Zip

Bank Name
PO Box 00000000
City, State, Zip

Re: Account No. ___________________; Hardship Letter
Property Address: Address of Borrower, City, State, Zip

Step 2 – Persuasive Introduction

Dear Sir or Madam:

After the above formalities, in your opening paragraph (three to four sentences), you need to detail exactly why you are experiencing financial difficulties and are unable to make your full monthly mortgage payment. You want your lender to immediately understand your unfortunate financial status. Be upfront (but do not go into details yet). Do include exact dates if possible.

For example:

Due to a job loss on May 1, 20XX… I was temporarily unable…
Because of a past medical condition…
Due to a cut in pay on May 1, 20XX…
Because of a temporary business downturn in the local market, my business…
Due to a divorce on May 1, 20XX…

Step 3 – What are you seeking?

After your persuasive introduction, for your second paragraph, you should identify what assistance you desire. For example, “Because I am financially unable to pay the mortgage at its current amount, I request assistance through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). I want to stay in my home”.

It is important that you know your alternatives before you write your hardship letter. After identifying your request for assistance, it is generally recommend that you include something similar to the following: “Any other alternatives and solutions you could provide would be greatly appreciated.” As a lender requirement, it is vital that you include the language “I want to stay in the home” if that is your intention.

Step 4 – Narrative

For the next few paragraphs, you want to elaborate as to what happened. Include dates, events, persons, amounts, etc. Answer the questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.

For example, “On May 1, 20XX, our household income was cut approximately…”

Be honest and sincere throughout. You will be asked to provide supporting documents during the assistance process. If you are seeking a home loan modification, be sure to demonstrate how a reduction will enable you to make your new mortgage payments. The little financial information you provide here will need to be consistent with your financial worksheet that your lender will require you to complete at a later date. It is important that you do not omit the dates of the hardship as most banks require it.

Further, if you are delinquent on a previous home loan modification, you need to identify your previous hardship and then identify the new (or additional) hardship that caused you to become delinquent this second time.

Step 5 – Closing

Be sure to sign your name above your printed name (you may also want to write the date next to your signature).

The following closing will be sufficient:
“Please contact me at (555) 555-5555 if you have any questions. Thank you for your time and consideration.”


Joe Borrower

End of the Form