February 26, 2021

Volume XI, Number 57

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Louisiana Business Report Article Discusses FEMA’s “Substantial Damage” Standard for Home Repair

Tom Cook’s article in the Baton Rouge Business Report provides helpful insight on the meaning and application of Federal Emergency Management AgencyFEMA’s “substantial damage” standard to Baton Rouge homeowners affected by the August floods. Cook explains that determining “substantial damage” is a bit of “a mystery,” and that online research of the term may prove bewildering.

In short, Cook explains that affected structures are inspected by FEMA representatives who estimate damage to said structures in terms of a damage percentage. Using the percentage rating, FEMA determines an overall building damage calculation. FEMA compiles these determinations of damaged homes and provides them to municipal building departments for use in determining whether to issue a building permit with or without raising the damaged home’s slab elevation–a potentially costly endeavor for affected homeowners.

Ultimately, Cook points out that “the final decision lies with the municipalit[ies],” which Cook describes as having “worked hard to make the process as painless as possible.” Under this framework, Cook believes that very few homes will be rendered worthless due to costly slab elevation requirements.

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© 2020 Jones Walker LLPNational Law Review, Volume VI, Number 334
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About this Author

Michael Rhea Commercial Litigation Attorney
Associate

Michael R. Rhea is an associate in the firm's Business & Commercial Litigation Practice Group and practices from the firm's Baton Rouge office. He is a 2012 graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, where he received his juris doctor degree and diploma in civil law, summa cum laude, and was named to the Order of the Coif. Mr. Rhea received his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and in Political Science from Louisiana State University. While achieving his bachelor's degrees, he also studied abroad in Granada, Spain.

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