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Community Development Commission

Housing and Neighborhood Investment

Frequently Asked Questions about the Housing Rehabilitation Program

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The roof of my house leaks. Can you help? 

The Sonoma County Community Development Commission offers low interest loans to income-qualified owner-occupants of single family and mobile homes to make necessary repairs to their dwellings through the Housing Rehabilitation Program.  Loans are available to eligible property owners throughout unincorporated Sonoma County and to residents of Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Sonoma and the Town of Windsor.  Leaking roofs, furnaces, wiring, plumbing, windows, doors and anything that may threaten your health and safety are some other examples of things that can be repaired.

What if I have bad credit? 

In many cases, we can help anyway.  Talk to us about your situation.

What are the loan terms?

Three percent interest, 20 years, with no pre-payment penalty.

I already have a mortgage and I can’t afford another payment.

Having a mortgage is OK. Depending on your specific situation, we may be able to offer you a deferred payment loan, with no payments required during the life of the loan. The whole loan amount is paid back at the end of the loan term or whenever you sell your home

Are there other terms or conditions? 

Yes, they vary depending on the loan-funding source.  We can explain those to you once we determine which funding source suits your needs. 

How much can you lend me?

We can lend up to $50,000 for repairs to a single-family house and $24,000 for repairs to a mobile home.  Other factors can affect the loan amount.  We will explain those to you when you make an application.

How do I qualify?

You must own your home, meet the income guidelines and be current on your property taxes and/or mobile home registration fees.  You must also have homeowner’s insurance.  These are the basics qualifications.  We will explain other qualifications when you submit your application.

What are the income guidelines and who sets them?

HUD determines the income guidelines.  They change slightly every year. Please refer to the table on the Housing Rehabilitation Homepage for current income limits.

I have a single-family house and I have been cited for Building Code violations.  Can you help?

Maybe, depending on the violations.  Any code violations have to be fixed as part of the project.

Are there other repairs that are required to be part of the project, too?

Everything that presents a danger to your health and safety, and all code violations, cited or not, must be corrected.  If there are lead-based paint or asbestos hazards in the home, they must be addressed.

What else can be fixed on a mobile home?

Common projects often include re-roofing and gutter replacement, replacement of windows, and a new furnace and water heater.  Wall and ceiling repairs, structural repairs, re-blocking, handicap accessibility modifications, replacement of concrete walkways, porches, decks and stairs, painting and floor covering all may be eligible, depending upon the conditions.  Kitchen and bathroom rehabilitation may also be eligible, along with electrical and plumbing repairs.

What about on a single-family house?

The same kinds of repairs are available, plus concrete perimeter foundations and septic system upgrades or replacement.  Driveways, carports, and fencing may also be eligible.  We will go over the items once we have had an opportunity to meet with you and look at your home.

Wow! Is there any work that can’t be done?

We can repair or replace most of the basic elements of your home provided the repair is related to your health and safety. Luxury items, like dishwashers, skylights, Jacuzzi tubs, swimming pools and built-in barbeques cannot be included in the project. We typically don’t move walls, except for handicap accessibility, and there are strict limitations on building room additions.

Who determines what work is to be done?

You should make a list of items to discuss with us.  We will meet with you, discuss your needs and the loan requirements, review the condition of your home, and provide you with a proposed scope of work.  Ultimately, you approve the job description.

Who does the work?  Can I do it myself?

No, only a California licensed contractor can do the work.  We will conduct the competitive bidding process for you.

Do I have to use a Commission contractor or can I get my own contractor?

The Commission maintains a list of contractors whose background, character and references have checked out OK. They are invited to bid on projects that match the type of work they do. Your contractor can go through a simple process to be put on that list and bid on your project, too.

Does the Commission choose the contractor that does the work? 

No. You can choose any contractor that submits a reasonable bid.

Who pays the contractors?

Commission staff makes periodic inspections during the course of the project. Whenever the contractor submits a bill, we inspect the work to make certain that it is done correctly and everything that is billed for has been completed. The Commission sends the check directly to the contractor.

OK, if I apply today, how long will it take to get the repairs done?

That depends on the complexity of the project. The usual time frame is five or six months. Some projects go more quickly.

How do I get an application? 

Click on the application link above, or call us at 565-7553 to have an application mailed to you. 

Do you need a lot of paperwork from me?

We must verify your income, assets, home ownership, property taxes and insurance. There is a checklist of what is needed included in the application. Usually, it is pretty straight forward and we can help you if you need it.

I’ve heard that I have to sign my home over to the Commission. Is that true?

No, you remain the owner. As your lender, we are listed on the mobile home title as having an interest in the mobile home. On a single-family house, we record a Deed of Trust for the cost of the project. 

Is there ever anyone you cannot help? 

Yes, we really can’t help in an emergency situation. People whose income exceeds the limits set by HUD aren’t eligible. Properties with negatively amortizing mortgages or balloon payments and situations with certain non-occupants on the title cannot qualify. In limited cases, bad credit, a recent bankruptcy, or a poor mortgage- or space rent-payment history may disqualify an applicant. Don’t disqualify yourself. Talk with one of our staff about your situation when you apply and find out if we can help.