As Floridians surveyed the damage after Irma, a 10 News viewer wrote our Hurricane Help Hub to ask about deferring mortgage payments after a natural disaster.

She had heard that mortgage companies are required to offer payments deferrals in areas under a presidential emergency declaration, such as Florida.

It turns out that many people in Florida are eligible for mortgage relief because of Irma, but not everyone.

According to Department Housing and Urban Development spokesman Jerry Brown, anyone whose loan is backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie May is eligible for some kind of relief. That includes suspending payments for up to 12 months or waiving late fees and penalties.

Many loans are backed by these two companies. You can use an online tool to check if you have a Fannie or Freddie-backed mortgage.

Look up Fannie Mae loans: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup
Look up Freddie Mac loans: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/

Brown said homeowners who have loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration are also eligible for relief. These loans are commonly known as FHA loans.

If you qualify for relief under these criteria you should call your loan servicer to discuss options.

If your mortgage is held by another private company there are not any federal laws or regulations that require them to offer disaster relief.

That being said, it’s still worth giving your loan servicer a call if you can’t make a payment. Brown said many will still offer some kind of assistance even if they’re not required to do so.