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Bill Would Make Co-ops and Condos Eligible for Full Disaster Relief

New York State

Disaster Relief

A bill before Congress would make common elements in co-ops and condos eligible for federal disaster relief.

Dec. 10, 2019

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler – a New York Democrat who, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is overseeing the presidential impeachment hearings – has somehow found the time to co-sponsor a piece of legislation that has nothing to do with Donald Trump but has huge implications for co-ops, condominiums, and homeowners’ associations (HOAs). 

The Disaster Assistance Equity Act (H.R. 5337) would make two significant changes to the existing Disaster Relief Act. It would make common elements in co-ops, condos, and HOAs – such as roofs, exterior walls, elevators, plumbing, and heating and cooling equipment – eligible for emergency relief under the Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program; it would also make co-ops, condos, and HOAs eligible for federal funds for debris removal after a major disaster. Under the existing law, only single-family homeowners qualify for such relief. 

"Seven years ago, thousands of New Yorkers and other Americans were shocked to learn that the Federal Emergency Management Agency's eligibility rules left them with no way of restoring their homes in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy," Nadler said. "Since that time, common interest communities across the country have faced similar hardships. This is simply unacceptable. A natural disaster doesn't care what type of home you live in, and FEMA should treat all homeowners equally.” 

The bill is co-sponsored by three other New York congressmen and one apiece from North Carolina and South Carolina, two states that have been savaged by recent storms. 

"Superstorm Sandy devastated New York’s coastal communities and businesses, and too many New Yorkers learned the hard way that FEMA was unable to treat all homeowners equally,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Democrat representing eastern Long Island. “Condos, co-ops, and homeowners’ associations don’t have the same access to federal disaster assistance as single-family homeowners, which made it difficult for all Long Islanders to rebuild their homes and their lives. I’m proud to come together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make the necessary reforms to ensure all Long Islanders are able to recover after a natural disaster."

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