50% Rule - what?


If you are currently living in SW Florida or considering a purchase here anytime soon you’ll want to understand what this means.


The 50% rule is a FEMA rule that basically states that if the repairs needed to the house are over 50% of the home’s value (depreciated/actual value - not market value is my understanding) then you may be obligated to bring the house up to current Hurricane Codes. 


What could this mean? Well, the exact information is still being worked on here in the City of Cape Coral. They have made a couple of posts about it but nothing seems to be official…yet.


However, this could mean that the house’s elevation needs to be raised to higher levels. Especially if the home was built many years ago it could be several feet below the current flood codes. Perhaps the house will need to be lifted and fill dirt put underneath or perhaps the house will have to be lifted with a stilt structure under it? Or maybe it would have to be completely torn down in extreme cases. 


The roof will most likely not just require a new reroof but most likely hurricane straps, additional brackets, and nails to be brought up to code. 


Understanding these figures before you begin work or take on a new project is critical. 


Cape Coral Post Hurricane Ian 2022 House


You can check with local permitting departments for information. At the present time, the city of Cape Coral is suggesting anyone with a home built prior to 1981 to wait until the information is made available to the public before making any repairs. They are suggesting a date of Dec 1, 2022. You can read the article here https://www.capecoral.gov/newdetail_T3_R683.php

Here is that current verbiage 


“The City of Cape Coral advises residents who own a home built before 1981 not to make repairs until December 1, 2022. 

The 50% Rule, a regulation of the National Flood Insurance Program, requires structures with damage exceeding 50% of their market value to be rebuilt consistent with the current flood elevation and Florida Building Code. The City doesn't want residents to pay additional costs to repair structures before determining whether it has received 50% or more damage.

Cape Coral’s City Council is expediting the approval of an ordinance that may remove regulations, to make it easier on the homeowner when determining calculations for the 50% Rule.”



You can also learn more at FEMA as well. Here is a link to a pdf https://www.fema.gov/pdf/floodplain/nfip_sg_unit_8.pdf


Here is a link to an article put out by the Florida Association of Realtors as well https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2022/10/sw-fla-owners-surprised-femas-50-rule


Please keep in mind that this is a time-sensitive post meaning the information contained in it may change. (Dated Oct 25, 2022) We will work to update this post as information becomes more available.