Build Responsibly/Protect Your Property

Before buying a property, be sure to check with the Monroe County Building Department for a permitting history. Once you purchase a property, you may be required, at your own expense, to make alterations to a property that did not obtain the proper permits.

Find out what permits are required

Substantial Improvement, Substantial Damage, and the “50 Percent Rule”:

The National Flood Insurance Program and Monroe County regulations require improvements to structures within a Special Flood Hazard Area must meet current construction standards including elevating the building to or above the 100-year flood elevation if the improvement is 50% or more of the market value of the property.

Substantial Damage 

This occurs when the cost of restoring the structure to the condition before the damage would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. (Note: The cost of the repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to its “before damage” condition, including labor.)

Substantial Improvement

Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or another improvement of a structure, for which the cost of equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement.

This term includes structures which have incurred "substantial damage," regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:

  • Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
  • Any alterations of a "historic structure," provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a "historic structure.

Ways to Protect Your Property

Protecting your property from flooding can involve a variety of actions:

  • Following building requirements
  • Floodproofing
  • Elevate your home/ utilities
  • Build with flood-resistant materials
  • Raise electrical system components
  • Install sewer backflow valves
  • Keep lawn waste and trash out of storm drains and waterways

Refer to FEMA P-312 Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting 3rd Edition (2014) for details on these protective measures.

FEMA form: Floodproofing Certificate

Note: Most of these actions, especially those that affect the structure of your building or their utility systems, should be carried out by qualified maintenance staff or licensed contractors. Please make sure to check with your insurance provider prior to making any modifications to your property and verify any reductions in premiums that may result from your proposed modifications.