The Federal Housing Administration understands the needs of those affected by the recent hurricanes. On November 9th the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a waiver covering all municipalities in Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Maria (Maria), allowing damage inspections to be conducted beginning November 9, 2017. This waiver is in addition to the waiver issued by FHA on October 24, 2017, of its policy on the time frame 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 municipalities in Puerto Rico impacted by Maria.
This includes all properties utilizing the 203k Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program.
- 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 situation in Puerto Rico has stabilized to the extent that further damage to the properties appears unlikely, despite FEMA not having closed its Incident Period for the PDMDAs in Puerto Rico. However, mortgagees should continue to monitor FEMA’s website to ascertain the latest information on these PDMDAs 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.
- The Puerto Rico “Maria” waiver is posted at: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/OCHCO/documents/sf_hb40001waiverPR2.pdf
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