January 22 2018, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued a waiver for four additional counties — Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura — in California impacted by wildfires, allowing damage inspections to be conducted by home construction services beginning January 18, 2018. This waiver is in addition to the two previous waivers issued by FHA on October 24, 2017, and November 2, 2017, respectively, of its policy on the timeframe 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 certain counties in the state of California impacted by wildfires.
- 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 situations in certain counties in California have stabilized to the extent that further damage to the properties appear unlikely, despite FEMA not having closed its Incident Period for the PDMDAs in these four areas. However, mortgagees should continue to monitor FEMA’s website to ascertain the latest information on these PDMDAs as additional municipalities or counties could be added to them 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.
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