Disaster Information for Homeowners

Authored By: Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida


My house was damaged and I cannot live in it - do I need to pay my mortgage?

You must pay your mortgage even if your house is damaged and you cannot live in it. However, check with your lender since many companies may offer a grace period of several months to delay payments (although interest may continue to be added)

What if I cannot pay my mortgage?

If you have income and you want to keep your house, you may be able to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, the homeowner proposes a plan of how (s) he will repay regular mortgage payments and all other living expenses, and also pay an amount every month toward the mortgage arrears. If you think you may want to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should consult an attorney.

What if I live in a condominium?

If you live in a condominium or pay maintenance to any type of homeowner’s association, you still need to pay your maintenance fees even if your homeowners’ association is not fixing the common areas or you do nor like the way they are doing the repairs. You should attend the homeowners’ association meetings to voice your concerns, and talk with other homeowners and members of the board about your complaints. A group of you may want to seek legal advice. However, if you just stop paying maintenance, you could lose your home to foreclosure. 

I have homeowner's insurance, but was told it will take months for an adjuster to look at my house and longer for a check to be issued - am I eligible for any type of assistance because my house needs lots of expensive repairs and I'm not sure I can live there until it's fixed?

If you have homeowner’s insurance, you will most likely be eligible for money for living expenses while you cannot live in your house. You need to contact your insurance company. If you did not have homeowner’s insurance you may be eligible for assistance under the Individual and Family Grant Program to pay for necessary repairs to essential parts of your home. You may apply for IFG by telephone at 800-621-3362 (hearing or speech impaired 800-462-7585).

I have homeowner's insurance - how do I make sure I am paid fair value for my losses?

Don’t make extensive repairs before a claims adjuster arrives. If you have to make emergency repairs to prevent further damage, keep a file with all your receipts and take pictures before and after the repairs to submit with you claim. Don’t throw out damaged furniture or other expensive items. Make a list of everything you want to show the adjuster. When you are contacted by the adjuster, make sure (s)he is licensed. Ask to see the license. If you are uncertain, call 1-800-227-8676 or 1-800-342-2762.

I lost my job because of the disaster and I am unable to make my mortgage or rent payments. Will FEMA make payments until I can return to work?

FEMA assistance is limited to home repair, personal property repair and rental assistance for temporary housing; we are unable to assist with mortgage or rent payments if you stay in your damaged home.

If you lost work as a result of the disaster, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). You may contact your local unemployment office or Workforce Commission for additional information regarding DUA benefits. You may also contact your mortgage lender or landlord to explain your circumstances and situation to see if special arrangements can be made.

** The printable brochure contains an error and FEMA is unable to assist with mortgage payments.  The above information is from the FEMA website

Updated: April 19, 2017 

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