The 203(h) Home Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Program

Written By: Glenn Michaels

Whenever there is disaster somewhere in the United States and the President of the United States declares that area a "Federal Disaster Area”, FHA’s 203(h) program is available to all residents in the areas declared by the President as a federal disaster area.

The 203(h) program falls under the same program as the 203(b) except the eligible participants can obtain 100% financing. The 203(b) is limited to 96.50% financing. The 203(h) program works in conjunction with the 203(b) program.

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The rules for a 203(h) are not too difficult to grasp, below are the basic rules:

President – federally declared disaster
Good for a displaced owner or displaced renter
Rebuild at the same site (not rehabilitation)
Purchase another home with 100% financing
Original home must have been located in an area that has been designated by the President as a federally declared disaster.
Home must have been destroyed or damaged to such an extent that reconstruction or replacement is necessary.
Home rebuilt on the existing property or a new home residence in another area.

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The 203(h) program cannot be used to rehabilitate a home. Borrower can be an owner or renter.

1. Documentation includes valid driver’s license, voter registration card, or utilities bills.
2. Must have been a permanent resident of a destroyed or damaged residence in the Presidentially declared major disaster area.
3. Damage documentation includes insurance report, inspection report with photographs providing evidence of the damage.
4. Must apply for the 203(h) within one year of declaration.
5. One unit homes only! No 2 – 4 unit homes allowed under this program.
6. Units in an approved condominium project.
7. Property must meet HUD’s minimum property standards and minimum property requirements.
8. Maximum mortgage limited to statutory limits of the area.
9. No down payment required and the seller can give a 6% sales concession.
10. Refinancing using the 203(k) Rehabilitation Program under the 203(h) Disaster Circumstances – Damaged Residences
a. Exempt from one year requirement.
b. Eligible for 203(k) regardless of age.
c. 100% financing is not available.
11. Financing of closing costs are not permitted.

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In my area that was impacted by Super Storm Sandy home owners and renters were able to utilize the 203(h) program. Yesterday, a number of tornados and floods were in various parts of the United States and if the President declares those areas federal disaster area they too can obtain 203(h) financing.

About The Author

Glenn Michaels - As an NAMP® Opinion Editorial Contributor, Glenn Michaels is a mortgage underwriting instructor for CampusMortgage ( As a BBA & FHA DE Underwriter, Glenn is a Pace University graduate who also graduated from New York University’s School of Mortgage Finance. Glenn has conducted numerous training classes and has worked in the mortgage banking industry for 38 years. If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:

Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMU® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMU® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMU® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMU®. Nothing contained in this articles should be considered legal advice.