Federal Aid And Tax Extension To May 11 Available To Massachusetts Homeowners Affected By Flooding

by Rich Vetstein on April 1, 2010 · 9 comments

in Insurance, Massachusetts Property Values, Massachusetts Real Estate Law

President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Monday night declared a “major disaster” exists in Massachusetts due to rainstorms and flooding that began earlier this month and continues. The 7 affected Massachusetts counties are Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester counties. Federal funds to homeowners in those counties affected by the recent flooding will be available. (Most flooding damage is not covered by standard homeowner’s policies, so this aid is very helpful to those hardest hit). The FEMA Massachusetts flooding resource page is here.

Also, the IRS and Mass. Department of Revenue announced tax filing extensions to May 11 are available to flood victims in the above affected counties. The extensions are automatic for all filers.

Very important:  If you are considering applying for aid, document all damage and repair efforts. Take photographs and video of the flooding and resulting damage. Keep copies of all receipts for sump pumps, air blowers/fans, equipment, contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. Keep copies of all estimates for repairs. Basically, treat this as any other insurance claim.

The federal aid package includes:

  • Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
  • Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
  • Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
  • Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance.  Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster’s adverse economic impact.  This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
  • Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence.  (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)

How to apply for assistance: Those in the counties designated for assistance to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov/ or www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free Teleregistration numbers will operate Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., on weekends – Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., until further notice.

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  • J. Marks

    My tenant at will (first floor apartment) has asked me to pay for damaged or destroyed items resulting from the basement flooding. I had the water pumped out the day after the flood and subsequently replaced two damaged hot water heaters.

    How can I find out what I am responsible for and what the tenant is responsible for?

  • Im not a homeowner but still felt the effects of the flood as far as lost wages and flooding at my place of residence which I rent. Does the tax extension apply to renters as well as homeowners?

  • Patrick Maddigan

    Bill & Rich

    Wells isn’t the only lender requiring re-inspections; we’ve seen it happening with a handful of other lenders already. This may require that the lenders reissue a GFE to the buyer(s), which hopefully will not serve to delay any closings.

  • It sure is Rich! Wells Fargo is the lender and they are requiring a re-inspection on the properties they are lending money on.

  • I was wondering if someone could provide me with information regarding my rights as a commercial building tenant with recent flooding in Fall River. Am I entitled to any assistance being that I have a complete loss of merchandise?

  • I was told today that a number of mortgage companies are going to require a re-inspection of properties that are under agreement to check for water damage before they are allowed to close!

    • Interesting Bill. The problem is that this is in essence the 50 year storm event, so it’s unprecedented. Just about everyone around my area here in Sudbury had water penetration, some who have never experienced a drop of water since they lived here.

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