Letters of Map Change

If a property owner thinks their property has been inadvertently mapped in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), they may submit a request to FEMA for a Letter of Map Change (LOMC).  A SFHA is defined as the area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. A LOMC reflects an official revision/amendment to an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map. If the LOMC request is granted, property owners may be eligible for lower flood insurance premiums, or the option to not purchase flood insurance.

In some cases, LOMAs are granted because the property owner can show through, use of an elevation certificate, that the lowest adjacent grade of their structure is above the base flood elevation.  A surveyor or engineer will need to fill out the elevation survey for a Letter of Map Amendment.  Here are some tips on hiring a surveyor.

In other cases, a portion of the property is in the SFHA but the structure is not.  A LOMA with an out as shown determination (LOMA-OAS) may be granted if adequate documentation can be provided.  For more information about LOMA-OAS, please see this fact sheet.

The Online LOMC is an internet-based tool that allows applicants to easily request a LOMA. It is a convenient way for applicants to upload all information and supporting documentation and check the status of their application online. Users can submit LOMA requests through this tool instead of filing the MT-EZ paper form via US mail.

The simplest and fastest method of all to remove a property from the floodplain may be to explain to the lender that there is a dispute about the flood zone determination and to ask that the zone determination be rechecked. Try this method first, before going to the time and trouble of a Letter Of Map Change.

For additional information about LOMCs, possible reimbursement of premiums or converting your policy to a PRP, view or print the Online LOMC Fact Sheet or contact the DWR Floodplain Program.