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Tackling housing issues

Are you experiencing housing insecurity?

Learn about your rights and available options to avoid foreclosure or eviction.

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Information for homeowners

Managing mortgage payments

If you can’t pay your mortgage or are worried about missing a payment, call your lender or loan servicer right away. Ask if they are willing to work with you on a way to make your payments more affordable – these are called “loss mitigation options” and they can include forbearance or loan modifications. Then, carefully study the terms of any offer they send you.

Understand your options for when you can't make your mortgage payments

Receiving homeowner’s insurance money

Many people hire contractors soon after a disaster to begin repairs quickly on their home or business. Before you do, check with your insurance company and your mortgage company or servicer about how and when the insurance funds are distributed. Many mortgage agreements require insurance checks to be made out to both you and the mortgage company or servicer. This means your mortgage company may release portions of the insurance funds as repair work progresses, instead of releasing all the funds at once.

More information

If you have a reverse mortgage

You’ll need to notify your lender or servicer about damage to your home, in writing. Provide a way they can reach you by mail, phone, or e-mail. Staying in touch with your lender or servicer can help you understand what to do next, especially when it comes to avoiding foreclosure.

If you have a reverse mortgage and are worried you cannot meet your ongoing obligations of occupying the home as your primary residence, keeping the home in good repair, and paying your property taxes and homeowners insurance on time, it is also important to contact your servicer.

You still need to keep up with your property taxes or charges. If the payments will be a struggle, talk to your local tax authority to see if you can pay in installments, extend the deadline, or have any late fees waived.

Get our guide for reverse mortgage borrowers who are dealing with natural disasters

Information for renters

Managing rent payments

Generally, if you’re able to continue living in your rental home, even if there is damage to it, you’ll need to keep up with your rent payments. Be sure to review your lease to understand how a natural disaster or emergency affects your rental agreement with your landlord.

See how renters can get help from FEMA disaster assistance

If you think you may struggle to pay rent, reach out to your landlord right away. You may be able to work out a payment plan or arrangement that works for you both. There may also be state-specific laws that apply to your situation.

If parts of the home are unusable, you can also contact your landlord to discuss reducing your rent. Notify your landlord in writing about damage to your unit and ask for an estimated timeframe for making the repairs. If you’re unable to live in your home—for example, if you can’t access utilities like water, gas, or electricity—that doesn’t necessarily end your lease. Generally, either you or the landlord must terminate the lease in writing. At that point, you can discuss having a portion of rent paid for that month and your security deposit returned. Your landlord can't use your security deposit to pay for damage caused by a natural disaster.

In general, landlords must provide their tenants with habitable premises. If you have trouble getting your landlord to make repairs or return your security deposit, talk to a lawyer or contact a housing services office in your state or local area.