FHA Disaster-Related Policy Waiver for Four Additional Counties in Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Areas in California

Announcement from FHA:

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a waiver for four additional counties in California impacted by wildfires, allowing damage inspections to be conducted beginning November 02, 2017. This waiver is in addition to the waiver issued by FHA on October 24, 2017, of its policy on the timeframe for completing the inspection of properties prior to closing, or submitting the mortgage for FHA insurance endorsement in the Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Areas (PDMDAs) in certain counties in the state of California impacted by wildfires.

  • For mortgages in process secured by properties in a PDMDA that have not closed or are pending endorsement, mortgagees must follow the guidance contained in the Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 1 (SF Handbook) Section II.A.7.c, Inspection and Repair Escrow Requirements for Mortgages Pending Closing or Endorsement in Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Areas. FHA’s current policy requires that a damage inspection be performed following the close of the Incident Period as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • FHA believes that the situations in certain counties in California have stabilized to the extent that further damage to the properties appear unlikely, despite FEMA not having closed its Incident Period for the PDMDAs in these four areas. However, mortgagees should continue to monitor FEMA’s website to ascertain the latest information on these PDMDAs as additional municipalities or counties could be added to them until the Incident Periods have closed.
  • These waivers do not affect mortgagees’ obligations to exercise prudent lending practices and ensure that mortgages they submit for endorsement fully comply with FHA’s property eligibility requirements, as well as any property condition requirements related to claims processing. Read the California “Wildfires” waivers.

Mortgagees can find more information about FHA’s PDMDA policies, as well as the 203(h) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Program and the 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program, on the FHA Resource Center’s Online Knowledge Base.


Reminders for Housing Counselors:

All HUD participating housing counseling agencies impacted by recent disasters are encouraged to review the Disaster Resource Page for Housing Counselors and the Housing Counseling Disaster Recovery and Emergency Preparedness Toolkit located on HUDExchange. It contains disaster recovery and emergency preparedness resources specifically for housing counseling programs. The toolkit provides immediate access to Disaster Recovery Flyers, the Housing Counseling Disaster Program Guide and other HUD, FEMA, and other helpful resources. Also, please visit HUD’s Disaster Recovery Resource Webpage for even more information.

HUD Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) staff will be reaching out to Housing Counseling Agencies in the impacted areas to assess their operational and capacity status.

Housing Counseling Handbook 7610.1, Chapter 5-11, B. 3-d, requires when any aspect an agency’s purpose is impaired and can no longer comply with programmatic requirements, regulations or grant agreement (e.g., not functioning due to a disaster or emergency) the agency must notify their HUD Point of Contact (POC) within 15 days.

If your agency needs assistance on reports, grant documents, deadlines and similar issues in the aftermath of the recent disasters, please contact your HUD POC for help.

If your agency’s operational status is impacted by a disaster, it is important to let your clients and partners know of changes in operating hours, locations and services.  Please place appropriate messages on your agency voicemail(s), email(s) and social media. In areas experiencing a loss of power and communications please also consider posting signage with contact and status information at your office or other appropriate emergency service centers within your community.

Please send your questions to housing.counseling@hud.gov.  Please type “Disaster Assistance” in the subject line.


FHA Insured Mortgage Program Disaster Training for Housing Counselors:

Originating FHA-Insured Forward Mortgages in Major Disaster Areas Pre-Recorded Webinar: This pre-recorded webinar covers two of FHA’s key programs that can be used to assist in recovery efforts following a major disaster. Content includes a detailed review of the eligibility and underwriting requirements for originating FHA-insured forward mortgages in Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster Areas, or other major disaster areas, using FHA’s 203(h) Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Program and 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program. Presented by HUD-FHA.

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