Proposed Legislation Would Alter FEMA Disaster Assistance Policy for Condos and Co-ops

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in CAI, Insurance, Legal Decisions, Legislation, Superstorm Sandy

By Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.

As reported in the New York Times, legislators from New Jersey and New York will introduce a bill in Congress shortly seeking to alter a longstanding Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) policy and require that FEMA qualify condominiums and cooperatives for federal disaster assistance.

Under the current FEMA policy, co-ops and condominium associations are considered “business entities” that do not qualify for FEMA assistance, which can include up to $30,000 per household. After the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, thousands of homeowners were surprised to learn that their condos and co-op were largely barred from federal disaster assistance given to similarly situated single-family homes. Presently, while individual homeowners may apply for FEMA grants to restore the interior of their units or their individual homes, a community association may not request a FEMA grant to repair a common roof, remove debris or replace vital operating systems destroyed by a natural disaster. As a result, countless condominiums and co-ops have not been able to obtain grants for damages to roofs, siding, decks and other common areas.

While FEMA officials were sympathetic, they based their rejection on the Stafford Act, a federal disaster law that excludes co-ops and condos. The proposed legislation, if enacted, would alter the Stafford Act to make residential condominiums and co-ops eligible for FEMA assistance and remove the $30,000 cap for assistance.

The Community Associations Institute (“CAI”) is continuing its efforts to include community associations in this legislation. You can follow CAI’s efforts here.

For more information on this or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of our Community Associations attorneys. For breaking news or updates on new blog posts, follow us on Twitter at: @njcondolaw.

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Hanson to Speak on Superstorm Sandy Claims at the 2013 New Jersey Cooperator’s Condo, HOA and Co-op Expo

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Insurance, Legal Decisions, New Jersey Cooperator, Speaking Engagements, Superstorm Sandy

Hill Wallack LLP Partner Gerard H. Hanson, Esq. will be speaking during a seminar titled “Superstorm Sandy: Protecting Your Community by Pursuing Your Claim” at the 2013 New Jersey Cooperator’s Condo, HOA and Co-op Expo, on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. This seminar, which will be held at 1:00pm – 2:00pm, in Seminar Room 1, will discuss how to protect your association by avoiding common pitfalls in pursuing damage claims. Learn to navigate the complicated claims process in order to maximize recovery in the least  amount of time. A question and answer portion will follow the presentation.

Presenting with Jerry Hanson will be Alan Garfinkel, Esq. of Katzman Garfinkel & Berger, who is one of the nation’s leading authorities on Natural Disaster law.

For more information or to register to attend, click here!

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