Proposed Federal Legislation Aims to Broaden FEMA Disaster Assistance for Community Associations
FEMA is a federal program that assists homeowners and municipalities with recovering from disasters. FEMA funds are available for restoration of a single family home in the event of a disaster when insurance proceeds are exhausted or the damage was not insured. FEMA funds may be used for roof repair, HVAC repair, electrical box repair, entry and egress restoration, etc. in a single family home. Current FEMA legislation only allows for funds to be utilized to repair the interior of a condominium unit.
The introduction of a new bill – the Federal Emergency Management Agency the Disaster Assistance Fairness Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives will expand FEMA Disaster Assistance to Community Associations. The bipartisan legislation is being led by Representatives David Rouzer (R-N.C.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.).
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, Sec. 101. Congressional Findings and Declarations (42 U.S.C. 5121) states in part:
(a) The Congress hereby finds and declares that (1) because disasters often cause loss of life, human suffering, loss of income, and property loss and damage; and (2) because disasters often disrupt the normal functioning of governments and communities, and adversely affect individuals and families with great severity; special measures, designed to assist the efforts of the affected States in expediting the rendering of aid, assistance, and emergency services, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of devastated areas, are necessary.
Under current law, the Federal Emergency Management Agency inconsistently interprets regulations, thereby preventing community associations from qualifying for federal disaster response and recovery programs. H.R. 3777 will amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to provide assistance for common interest communities, condominiums, and housing cooperatives damaged by a major disaster, and for other purposes.
The bill changes two elements of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act: (1) It makes essential common elements of a community association, which includes a roof, exterior wall, heating and cooling equipment, elevator, stairwell, utility access, plumbing, and electricity, eligible under FEMA’s Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program; (2) It makes community associations eligible under FEMA’s requirements for the removal of debris in the aftermath of a major disaster.
Rita Khan is the Digital Marketing Manager at Hirzel Law, PLC. She has over 15 years of experience in property management with the last five years managing condominium and homeowners’ associations. Ms. Khan holds several designations and certifications such as Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS) and Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM) from the Community Associations Institute (CAI), Accredited Residential Manager (ARM), Accredited Commercial Manager (ACoM), and Certified Property Manager (CPM) from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Portfolio Supervisor (CAPS) from the National Apartment Association (NAA), Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) from Scrum Alliance, Professional Certified Marketer Marketing Management (PCM) from the American Marketing Association and Certified Digital Marketing Professional (CDMP) from the Digital Marketing Institute. Ms. Khan currently serves as the Chair of the CAI-Michigan Social Media Committee and is an active member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), where she serves as a member of the IREM Foundation Board of Directors, NextGen Advisory Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors for the IREM Michigan Chapter. She may be reached at (248) 986-2290 or email@example.com.