3 Ways the Federal Relocation Assistance Program Can Help Displaced Homeowners

Getting word that you’re losing your home to a government project through eminent domain sets off a long, complex chain of events, and at the end of it all, you’ll be in another house or apartment. Both the State of Minnesota and Federal Relocation Assistance Programs are designed to help homeowners and renters find and pay for a new home when the government determines it needs to acquire your current one via negotiated acquisition or by eminent domain. Here is how the program might be able to help you.

1. Personalized help throughout the process.

Shortly after you get notice that the government is buying your property, you will be assigned a relocation counselor. The counselor helps you navigate the home-buying process. You’ll likely meet with your counselor in person. He or she will help you find a new home or apartment and help facilitate your move.

2. Assistance with replacement housing costs.

The largest benefit the Federal Relocation Assistance Program provides is financial assistance for your new home or apartment. The government is required to help you find and pay for new housing that is comparable to your current home or apartment. This assistance is not taxable by the IRS.

Homeowners may be entitled to a purchase supplement on their new homes if comparable properties are worth more than their current homes. If the government purchases your home for $200,000, for example, but comparable homes are going for $210,000, you would be entitled to a supplement of $10,000. The government will pay up to $31,000 in purchase supplements.

If you’re renting, you are entitled to rental assistance to help you find and pay for a new rental property. You are also entitled to down payment assistance if you choose to purchase your own home rather than rent.

3. Reimbursement or payments for moving costs.

Once you’ve found a new home, the government will help pay for your move. You’re entitled to help with professional moving costs as well as necessary storage costs. Costs for packing and unpacking, utility hook-up, and moving appliances are all reimbursable.

You can choose to receive payment in two different ways. You can pay for your move up front and then submit your receipts for reimbursement. Or, you can elect to receive fixed payments for your move based on the size of your home or apartment. Either way, you should not have to pay for your move yourself.

Though the State and Federal Relocation Assistance Programs are designed to help you, you may feel the assistance you receive is not sufficient. If this is the case, you have the right to appeal the decisions of your relocation counselor and the sum of your replacement housing and moving costs. To do so, it is wise to seek the advice of a reputable eminent domain attorney who can guide you through the process. For help, contact Jon Morphew and the Morphew Law Office, PLLC at 612-790-9189 today for a free consultation.

Brynne Turner