Flood bills change

BISMARCK Landlords could receive state loans to help rebuild flooded properties under a change to the Rebuilders Loan Program approved by North Dakota legislators Monday.

The bill now goes to the governor for consideration.

To qualify for up to $30,000 in loan assistance, the owner of a rental housing in the Souris Valley must have been the owner at the time of the 2011 flood and the number of households in the property rebuilt must remain the same as before the flood. That property can consist of one or more rental dwelling units, none of which is occupied by the owner, and excludes hotels, motels and other commercial properties.

As with the existing loan program for homeowners, the interest rate would be 1 percent for up to 20 years. Unlike the homeowner program, there is no deferral of principal and interest for two years.

If the governor signs the bill, the change would take effect immediately, and property owners would have until Sept. 30 to apply. Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot, introduced the bill.

The Legislature established the Rebuilders Loan Program after flooding in 2011. It is open to residents in Ward, Renville, McHenry and other counties that received presidential disaster declarations.

Also on Monday, the House passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Karen Krebsbach, R-Minot, that allows residents of Federal Emergency Management Agency temporary housing units to receive Rebuilders loans to purchase their units. The application period would run through September.

The House amended the Senate bill to enable homeowners who received an initial $30,000 loan to borrow up to another $20,000 from the fund. The Bank of North Dakota would accept these supplemental loan applications between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. Because of the amendment, the bill now goes back to the Senate.

Flood-related bills killed in the North Dakota House would have given an income-tax credit to flood victims and would have forgiven a third of Rebuilders loans after five years if borrowers were current in their payments.