After Superstorm Sandy hit us late last October, everyone knew that the future of maintaining a residential home close to the water was not going to be the same. One of the earliest signs of the changing reality for coastal home owners was FEMA’s designation of flood zone lines further inward. This act forces thousands of people to buy flood insurance and further compels them to elevate their homes three feet above sea level at the risk of facing staggering insurance rates.

As homeowners prepare to meet these new regulations, a bipartisan City Council effort has proposed legislation that would ensure quality control of the tricky and expensive elevation process, according to a report by NY1.

Council members Vincent Ignizio, James Oddo and Christine Quinn expressed the need for safety regulations and quality control in the house elevation process at a press conference yesterday. Ignizio and Oddo went on a fact-finding mission to New Orleans to meet with Louisiana officials on the best way to craft legislation that would protect homeowners and ensure safety when it comes to home elevation construction:

The councilmen took a picture of a house in Louisiana that was placed on tall stilts but did not have a staircase.

“Make sure you have a process in place and you have licensed people doing it. Because what you had in New Orleans was you had people come from all over the country,” Ignizio said. “It was your classic story of, ‘Hey this guy said he would raise your house for $50,000? I’ll do it for 20 grand, just give me the 20 grand, I’ll take care of it.’ And they would do a terrible job.”

Council member and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn, also stressed the importance of getting home elevation well regulated and supervised before a slew of work gets underway.

“We want to make sure that the elevation work is done safely and appropriately. Elevating a home is simply not lifting a house and putting it on stilts. It’s a complex process and proper measures have to be taken before and during the work to make sure it’s done in the safest way possible.”

As we previously reported, expenses will be high for homeowners looking to meet the new regulations.

According to the New York Times, a $250,000 home with a ground floor four feet below sea level, will have to pay a hefty $9,500 a year in flood insurance. By comparison, a home hoisted three feet above the flood line will only have to pay $427 a year.

 

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