New Condo Mortgage Guidelines After The Florida Condo Disaster

February 24th, 2022

building disaster

There are new 2022 condo mortgage guidelines. There have been several announcements regarding condominium deferred maintenance recently by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We also have to pay attention to guideline changes announced by the various banks that we sell loans to.

Ever since the horrific disaster in Surfside Florida on June 24th 2021 the government agencies and the banks we sell mortgages to have started to incorporate questions related to condominium maintenance into the condo questionnaire. When the building collapsed due to deferred maintenance, it cost people lives and changed condo mortgage guidelines!

CONDO DOCUMENTATION

A condo questionnaire is a document that a mortgage lender sends the property manager of a condominium. It asks several pages of questions related to the budget and management of a condominium. A new condo questionnaire has been created by the agencies and adopted by all of the various lenders.

Some property management companies have pushed back against answering some of the maintenance questions, which is necessary to approve the condominium and is required to approve the loan for a mortgage borrower. These property management companies don’t want to be responsible for assessing and making judgment calls on building maintenance.

GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS

Fannie Mae addressed their requirements in their Lender Letter 2021-14. https://singlefamily.fanniemae.com/media/29411/display.

  1. As a best practice, the lender should review the past six months of a project’s HOA meeting minutes. And obtain information about any maintenance or construction that may have significant safety, soundness, structural integrity, or habitability impacts on the unit or the project. References to items such as improvements, renovations, inadequate reserve funding, budget deficits, negative cash-flows should be researched. Determine if these items are related to deferred maintenance or other conditions that impact the safety, soundness, structural integrity, or habitability.
  2. It has been recommended that we mortgage lenders review any available inspection, engineering, or other certification reports completed within the past five years. We are identify deferred maintenance that may need to be addressed. Condo projects engaged in construction defect litigation or other material litigation are ineligible for a mortgage.

Freddie Mac addressed this Bulletin 2021-18. Their guidance is very similar, click here to see it.

  1. Mortgages secured by units in Condominium Projects in need of Critical Repairs, as defined above, are not eligible for sale to Freddie Mac. Acceptable sources of documentation to determine if a project needs Critical Repairs may include but are not limited to:
  • Homeowners association (HOA) board meeting minutes
  • Engineer’s reports
  • Reserve studies
  • List of necessary repairs provided by the HOA or management company, and
  • Other substantially similar documentation

If we are unable to obtain answers to the new questions regarding deferred maintenance, the items listed above will be required instead. And underwriting and/or management will be required to review and determine if deferred maintenance is present.

The new condo questionnaire required by Fannie Mae can be found at the following link. It will give you an itemization of the type of questions they’re looking for answers to: https://singlefamily.fanniemae.com/media/15656/display

TAKEAWAYS – 2022 condo mortgage guidelines

First, it’s going to take longer to get condo loans approved. You may not to be able to close a 21 day purchase loan because it is going to take much longer to receive the necessary documentation to approve a condo going forward.

Second, there may be times when a lender is unable to get sufficient documentation to make a judgment call on a building’s maintenance, deferred or otherwise. And they may not be able to approve a loan due to lack of required documentation.

Contact me if you have a specific condominium that you would like to ask a question about. Or if you have a special specific condo mortgage guideline question please reach out. It has now suddenly become more complicated to get a mortgage for a condo, and this will likely be in place for quite a while.

Brian Martucci is a loan officer for Capital Bank Home Loans, a division of Capital Bank, N.A. He has been in the mortgage industry since 1986 and has served in a number of roles, including loan processor, loan officer, mortgage broker, branch manager, and vice president. Brian Martucci – NMLS# 185421. His opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Capital Bank Home Loans or Capital Bank. Capital Bank, N.A.- NMLS# 401599. Click here for the Capital Bank, N.A. “Privacy Policy”.

3 Responses to “New Condo Mortgage Guidelines After The Florida Condo Disaster”

  1. Michael Knoch says:

    We applied for a refinance loan thru mr.cooper mortgage which holds the mortgage for a condo we own at the residences at sabal point in Longwood,Florida.Everything was okay until it got to the point of the condo mgt.company refusing to fill out the questionnaire required.It would seem to me that if you don’t want to fill out the questionnaire then what are you hiding.

  2. What is a seller to do? says:

    What can a seller do if the HOA management company named ECAM refuses to submit a letter to the agent that will be sent to the lender, stating no structural issues have been found in the sellers unit/building ? Closing is tomorrow but may be delayed AGAIN because ECAM in Destin Florida refuses to submit documentation to the agent, so she can send it to the lender and close? Doesn’t an HOA management company have an obligation to submit requested documents in a timely manner? This is the 2nd scheduled closing that may not occur b/c ECAM is not providing the letter.

    Thank you !
    850-830-9330

  3. brianm says:

    I’m so sorry I missed this when you originally posted it. It went to our website’s spam folder. Hopefully this all got resolved. But I have heard there are some management companies that are worried about liability and will not state anything about structural issues. In that case, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have instructed lenders to ask for six months of the condo board meeting minutes, to review what the discussion has been and if there’s anything structural related in those meeting minutes. Then they can make the loan if they don’t see anything structural related in those discussions.

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