Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Guidance for Debris Removal in Community Associations

Important Facts

  1. Community associations will not be reimbursed by FEMA for debris removal.  Localities (i.e. Mexico Beach, Panama City, Tallahassee, etc.) must remove the debris for FEMA reimbursement.

  2. Localities must have legal authority to remove debris.

  3. Community associations must submit a right of entry indemnification form to the locality.

  4. The state Emergency Management Act may provide the localities with the legal authority they need to remove debris from private communities impacted by Hurricane Florence.


As community associations brace for hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, there are a few key steps communities may take to increase the possibility of getting assistance from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for recovery efforts.

Community association residents are most likely concerned with debris removal.

  1. Debris removal from private property requires prior FEMA approval. It is highly unlikely community associations will be reimbursed for expenses if they do not use the proper channels.

  2. Your community should be in touch with your local county or city and you should ask them what your community needs to do to ensure debris will be removed from your community following the disaster.

    • If your locality asks for authority to access your private property (association-owned streets), you may complete and submit to them this form.


Piles of disaster debris may lines streets in numerous community associations in the Hurricane Florence impact areas as residents return to salvage belongings and rebuild homes. A priority of associations must be the prompt and proper removal of this debris.

In general, federal funds may NOT be used for debris removal from private property, such as a community association, without prior FEMA approval. It is highly unlikely community associations will be reimbursed by FEMA for debris removal expenses unless proper channels are used to authorize the work. 

Community Association Steps to Remove Debris

In addition to communicating with your residents, below is a list of steps you must take with your local municipality, so they will remove debris in your community and qualify for reimbursement by FEMA.

  1. The community must be in contact with the local municipality; city/town manager, mayor, council, etc...  This contact must happen immediately.

  2. Provide the locality with an example of a resolution they may pass to meet the legal obligation of removing debris. (Download template here).

  3. Complete and submit the FEMA right of entry indemnification form to the locality.  This meets a FEMA requirement for reimbursement.

  4. Provide the locality with the language from the North Carolina Emergency Management Act (see below) which appears to offer authority in this time of crisis.

FEMA provided specific guidance for debris removal on private roads for Hurricane Michael. Click here for FEMA's specific guidance.  

FEMA may deny your request for debris removal services in your community association by classifying the association as a private community or business. If your community is denied federally-funded debris removal assistance, request an immediate review of the denial by regional FEMA officials and inform your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators of FEMA's denial. Contact your Member of Congress by clicking here.

If FEMA denies your appeal and will not approve debris removal from community association streets, verify with county and FEMA officials that debris within the community may lawfully be moved by a private contractor to the closest public street or other designated location for removal by the county.

Be patient.

Visit and for updates.

State Emergency Management Agencies 

© 2019-2020 Community Associations Institute