LEE COUNTY, Florida – Homeowners who want to rebuild after Hurricane Ian might have to deal with a new problem.
The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office’s most recent estimate of the Tax Roll Value Letter, which was done in October 2022, will no longer be used by the Town of Fort Myers Beach.
This week, FEMA sent letters to the cities and towns in Lee County saying that the Property Appraiser’s estimates of the market value of damaged properties after Hurricane Ian were “very different.”
FEMA’s 50% threshold says that a home must be rebuilt to meet new flood codes if the repairs cost more than half of its market value. This is not a new policy, and FEMA does not decide what the market value is.
FEMA said in the letters that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires market values to “be based on the condition of the structure before the damage happened.”
In the letter, there was also talk about how the county property appraiser figures out the market value of a home. They said, “We can’t decide if these values are okay without knowing how these adjustments are being worked out.”
Lee County Property Appraiser Matt Caldwell denied that his office inflated market values to change the 50% rule threshold.
Officials in Fort Myers Beach tell property owners that if they want to figure out their 50% threshold amount after February 15, they should use the 2022 Building Cost Value when they search for their property on the LEEPA website, multiply that number by 1.2, and then divide that number by two to get their property’s threshold.