Working with FEMA – What to Know About Post-Disaster Contracting
It would be an understatement to say that extreme weather has been the story of this summer. For a span of nearly a month, our country has been in the grips of the anticipation and,then, the disastrous effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The impact of these storms to Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico totaled in the billions and will be felt for many years to come.
While the recovery continues for people in these areas, others are seeking business opportunities. Homes and businesses need to be rebuilt and contractors can help with that. The standard channel for a home or property owner to acquire funding to make repairs is through making a claim with their insurance company. As an alternative to filing an insurance claim, individuals have an opportunity to apply for financial relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA provides grants and loans to business and property owners that can be used to hire contractors to make necessary repairs. Many contractors are hoping to connect with people who are using FEMA funds to get project work. These projects are appealing because the contractor knows he or she will get paid. However, there are a number of constraints to be aware of before working on a FEMA-funded project. As a matter of fact, it’s wise to seek advice from a Tampa construction lawyer before entering any contract.
The FEMA Rules
FEMA provides up to $33,000 for repairs not covered by insurance. This total is not a blank check. FEMA governs the use of the funds closely and states that they are to be used to get a structure back to a “safe and sanitary condition.” This is important to understand as property owners may request plans for a full restoration of their structure, which the funds are technically not designed to do. With this in mind, it’s always good to have a Tampa construction lawyer review the contract and provide the proper guidance.
FEMA contracts are also subject to the Truth In Negotiations Act guidelines, meaning that contractor must report project expenses.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.