Financial Assistance is available in the form of a 0% interest Deferred Payment Loan (DPL). The DPL does not need to be repaid to the town until the property is sold or upon transfer of ownership. The Deferred Payment Loan amount is secured by a lien filed with the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. This prevents speculation and allows owners to remain in their homes after rehabilitation without additional monthly debt. For owner-occupied structures, if a sale/transfer is to an immediate heir, the funds may not need to be repaid; however, the lien will stay in effect. At the time of a sale, a new mortgage (refinancing) or transfer of ownership to a "non-interested party," the Deferred Payment Loan will be paid back in full.
Program assistance is offered at the following levels:
- Up to 100% of project costs for qualified owner-occupants of properties with one to four (1-4) units who have incomes at or below 50% (low-income) of the area's median income (see Webster Housing Rehabilitation Program Income Limits below)
- Assistance of up to 75% of the project costs will be provided to owner-occupants of 1-4 unit buildings who are moderate income (with household income of more than 50% but less than 80% of the median income). Owners will be required to contribute 25% of the construction costs.*
- Matching 50/50 assistance for the project costs for owner-occupants of multi-family properties of up to seven (7) units. This level of assistance is available when the owner's income exceeds the moderate income limits but the building qualifies based on tenants' income. A majority of the buildings units must be occupied by lower income households.
*Those households unable to contribute the owner share may be granted a waiver if they are unable to contribute their portion. This waiver will be granted only after a hardship is documented to the Program.
For multi-unit properties, other requirements are affordable Rental Agreements with tenants and for some properties, an Affordable Housing Restriction. Investor Owner Properties (non-owner-occupied) are not eligible for assistance at this time.
Every owner-occupant of rental property consisting of up to 4 units shall be required to sign a Rental Agreement to maintain rents at affordable levels for a minimum of fifteen (15) years after the completion of the project unless the loan is paid in full by the owner-occupant prior to this time.
Affordable Housing Restrictions
For owner-occupied buildings of 5-7 units, and Affordable Housing Restriction (AHR) will be placed on the property, which will be in effect for fifteen (15) years. The AHR requires the owner to maintain affordable rents for the 15 year period and this agreement "goes with the land," meaning that it will remain in effect even if the property is sold.
The Program has a Housing Rehabilitation Specialist who assists property owners to determine the repairs needed and to select contractors to perform the work. The Rehab Specialist also conducts inspections during construction to ensure that the work is completed according to the specifications for the job.
A property is eligible for assistance if:
- It is located within the Town of Webster Center Target Area. Webster properties located outside the target area will be eligible for emergency repairs only.
- It is in good standing with the Tax Collector for payment of real estate taxes and water/sewer payments. Properties that are delinquent or in mortgage default, in the process of foreclosure or affected by bankruptcy proceedings are ineligible to receive assistance.
- It is "substandard" as defined by the presence of one or more major code violations.
- It contains seven (7) or fewer residential units
- It has a majority of the units occupied by low and moderate income households. For a single family property, the dwelling unit must be occupied by a lower income household; for a 2-unit property at least one of the units must be occupied by a lower income household; for properties with 3 to 4 units, a majority of the units must be lower income households.
- The property has hazard insurance in place that provides coverage equal or greater than the assistance provided by the Program.
- If located within the 100-year flood plain, it has flood insurance in place. If this additional coverage must be purchased, the first year's premium is an eligible Program expense.
Building code and serious maintenance problems are the first priority of the Program. The scope of work allowed under the program includes the correction of existing code violations, preventative maintenance, and other reasonable items requested by the owner and approved by the Program Staff. Sever-hood ups, in areas where property owners have access to, but have not been able to take advantage of, can be provided as part of the rehabilitation program.
Ineligible items include luxury items (e.g. swimming pools, hot tubs), general renovation/home improvements and work to non-residential structures (e.g. sheds, garages, etc.) or the grounds with some exceptions.
Correction of code violations that are determined necessary by the program's Housing Rehabilitation Specialist will be non-negotiable items in the scope of work to be undertaken through the Program. Properties which have potential historical significance must be rehabilitated in accordance with the requirements of the State Historic Preservation Office.
For cases which do not involve lead paint, asbestos removal, historic preservation or handicapped accessibility work, the project cap will be $30,000 per unit. In cases where lead pain or asbestos removal is included in the project, the cap shall be $35,000 per unit, should these special conditions required increase the project's cost. Also, the project cap for properties needing work to modify units for accessibility or which are historically significant will be $35,000 per unit. An eligible property owner shall only receive the amount of funds that the condition of the property warrants.