FEMA leaves Sandy-hit co-op owners rudderless

TRD New York /
May.May 02, 2013 09:30 AM

Thousands of co-op owners have been left without a crucial safety net in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as a longstanding Federal Emergency Management Agency policy considers co-ops as businesses and leaves them ineligible for federal aid, the New York Times reported. 

The agency does not provide aid to condominium and homeowners’ associations. But individual condo owners can receive FEMA assistance for their homes, as technically condos are considered personal property. In the case of co-ops however, owners sign leases for the rights to their units, rather than actual ownership, and this leaves them ineligible to receive federal aid.

Nearly 20 percent of the city’s housing units in the storm surge area were in co-ops, according to data from the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy seen by the Times. The city’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations told the Times that at least 120 co-op buildings, with 13,000 apartments, and 368 condominiums, with 7,000 units, sustained flooding and damage to ground floors.

FEMA officials told the Times that unless federal aid law was amended, the agency would not be able to act.

Lawmakers are pushing for an overhaul of the policy, arguing that the growing incidence of weather-related problems will exacerbate the burden that co-op owners face. Members of Congress from the region said that FEMA was discriminating against co-op owners through its rigid interpretation of the federal disaster law known as the Stafford Act. They added that they would make a push for new legislation, but in the meantime urged FEMA to ease up on its policy.

“There’s nothing in the Stafford Act that prohibits condos and co-ops from applying for FEMA aid,” Sen. Charles Schumer, told the Times. “To deny this is wrong.” [NYT]Hiten Samtani


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Aerin Lauder and 960 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Getty Images, Warburg Realty)

Cosmetics heiress buys $47M Fifth Avenue home

Andy and Kate Spade with 850 Park Avenue (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

Kate Spade’s UES co-op sells for $5.8M

101 West 23rd Street and E&M Management principal Daniel Goldstein (Credit: Google Maps and E&M)

“Something is rotten” at Chelsea co-op, owners say

110 Central Park South and Aleksandra Melnichenko (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Who’s buying what? Here are our top luxe resi sales

Lee Radziwill and her home at 160 East 72nd Street (Credit: Getty Images, Brown Harris Stevens)

Longtime home of Lee Radziwill, sister to Jackie O., sells for $4M

993 Fifth Avenue and Gilbert Harrison (Credit: Google Maps and GLC)

Retail exec sells Fifth Avenue co-op to Chanel heir for $19M

New York City co-operatives are increasingly adding new amenities to their buildings. From left: Trump Plaza, The Carlton Regency and The Dakota (Credit: Wikipedia, StreetEasy, iStock)

Keeping up with condos: How co-ops are closing the amenity gap

Princess Firyal of Jordan and 795 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Princess Firyal, Google Maps, and StreetEasy)

Duplex at the Pierre hits the market again, asking $60M

arrow_forward_ios