What is overage shortage in a mortgage?

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When it comes to mortgages, there are various terms and concepts that borrowers need to understand. One such concept is “overage shortage.” In this article, we will delve into what overage shortage means in the context of a mortgage and how it can impact borrowers.

Understanding Overage Shortage

Definition: Overage shortage refers to a situation where the funds collected by a lender for the payment of property taxes and insurance premiums are insufficient to cover the actual expenses. This can result in a shortage of funds in the borrower’s escrow account, leading to an overage shortage.

Escrow Account: To understand overage shortage better, it is essential to know about the escrow account. An escrow account is established by the lender to hold funds collected from the borrower for property taxes, homeowners insurance, and other related expenses. The lender then uses these funds to make timely payments on behalf of the borrower.

Causes of Overage Shortage: There are several reasons why an overage shortage may occur. One common cause is an increase in property taxes or insurance premiums. If these expenses rise unexpectedly, the funds collected in the escrow account may not be sufficient to cover the increased costs, resulting in an overage shortage.

Another cause of overage shortage can be a miscalculation or error in estimating the amount of funds required for escrow payments. This can happen if the lender underestimates the expenses or fails to account for changes in tax rates or insurance premiums.

Impact on Borrowers

Shortage Payment: When an overage shortage occurs, the borrower is responsible for making up the shortfall in the escrow account. This means that the borrower may have to pay an additional amount to cover the shortage. This can be a significant financial burden, especially if the shortage is substantial.

Increased Monthly Payments: To prevent future overage shortages, the lender may adjust the borrower’s monthly mortgage payments. If the escrow account is consistently experiencing shortages, the lender may increase the monthly payment to ensure that sufficient funds are collected to cover the expenses.

Regulations and Protections: To protect borrowers, there are regulations in place that govern how lenders handle escrow accounts. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) sets guidelines for lenders regarding the management of escrow accounts and the handling of overage shortages. Lenders are required to provide borrowers with an annual escrow account statement, which details the account activity and any shortages or surpluses.


In summary, overage shortage in a mortgage refers to a situation where the funds collected in the escrow account are insufficient to cover property taxes and insurance premiums. This can result in a shortage of funds, which the borrower is responsible for making up. It is important for borrowers to be aware of this concept and understand their obligations regarding overage shortages.


1. www.consumerfinance.gov: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Escrow Accounts and Overage Shortages
2. www.federalreserve.gov: Federal Reserve – Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)
3. www.investopedia.com: Investopedia – Escrow Account Definition and How It Works