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How to Get a Disaster Loan as a Homeowner, Renter

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on October 30, 2012 6:44 AM

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, disaster loans will likely soon be available through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

But just because they're called SBA disaster loans doesn't mean they're only for small businesses. Indeed, homeowners, renters, and even homeowner associations (HOAs) may be eligible for disaster loans, according to the SBA.

The federal agency actually offers different types of disaster loans for different classes of non-business applicants. These categories include:

Homeowners and Renters.

If you live in an officially declared disaster area, you will likely be eligible for a low-interest loan through the SBA, for example:

  • Up to a $40,000 loan for homeowners or renters to repair or replace personal items like clothing, furniture, vehicles, or appliances; and
  • Up to a $200,000 loan for homeowners to repair or replace their primary residence to pre-disaster condition.

There are some caveats, however. The loans can't be used for second homes and vacation homes; they also can't be used to make upgrades or additions, unless the local building code requires such additions.

The terms of SBA loans, including the size of a loan and repayment plans, are made on a case-by-case basis. For more details, check out the SBA's website.

Unit Owners in an HOA or Co-Op.

Like homeowners and renters, unit owners within a homeowner's association or other common-interest development like a condominium can also get loans of up to $40,000 to replace personal items like clothing, furniture, vehicles, and appliances; and up to $200,000 to repair their units.

For unit owners forced to move because their development will not be rebuilt, the SBA also offers relocation assistance funds. The SBA's website has more details on loans for HOA unit owners.

HOAs and Co-Ops.

HOAs can apply for SBA disaster loans of up to $2 million to repair and replace common areas and elements, but these loans can only be spent on repairs, not upgrades to the property.

Keep in mind that all SBA disaster loans of more than $14,000 require some form of collateral. For more questions about disaster loans in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, you can contact the SBA at (800) 659-2955.

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