Can I Use HAP if My Underwater Property is Rented?

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

Homeowner's Assistance Program HAP - Copyright Margaret Woda.  All rights reservedQ.  I rented my Bowie MD home when I got PCS orders from Fort Meade to Fort Bragg because I couldn't sell it for enough to cover the mortgage.  Now that my home is a rental property, will I still be eligible for the Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program known as HAP?

A.  Yes, you can use HAP if the property is rented, provided it was your primary residence at the time you received PCS orders.  


There are some additional requirements, as well:

  1. Your permanent reassignment to a new duty station or home port must be outside a 50-mile radius of your former duty station or home port.  
  2. Your reassignment must have been ordered between 1 February 2006 and 30 September 2010.
  3. Your property must have been purchased before 1 July 2006.
  4. You must have a decline of at least a 10% home value from the date of purchase to date of sale.
  5. You must not have previously received these benefit payments.

In addition to active duty military personnel with PCS orders, HAP is also available to some civilian government employees, surviving spouses of military personnel, and wounded military personnel.

The best way for you to confirm your HAP eligibility is to download the application packet and complete the application.  Be sure to carefully read all instructions, complete your application, and then mail it to the HAP Field Office in Savannah, Georgia, the district responsible for Maryland.  It's not necessary to wait until you have an offer on your home... in fact, it's a good idea to get started right away even if your home isn't on the market for sale yet.

You will need to know the current market value of your property, and that's where I come in...  researching that information for you is a service I'm happy to provide without any cost or obligation.  Contact me by phone (301-346-2923) or email ( if you believe you may be eligible to sell your Maryland home with HAP.


The information in this blog post should not be construed as legal advice, since the author is not an attorney. 
More information about HAP is available on the official website for the
Department of Defense Homeowner's Assistance Program.



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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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Comments (30)

Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022 of my wife's buyers actually rented from the HAP seller for 3 months until they closed the escrow..

Feb 15, 2011 03:43 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Sounds like you are the suburban Maryland HAP expert.  That program is one that I have never really understood.  I don't work with a lot of military relocations.

Feb 15, 2011 04:21 AM
Gayle Henderson
RE/MAX Excalibur - Scottsdale, AZ
Your Terravita Resident Specialist

I am just learning about the program and the documents I have read reference the Department of the Army, however, I am assuming that it goes through all military branches- what about National Guard?  Are they included as well and any websites or additional information you would be willing to pass on would be greatly appreciated.

Feb 15, 2011 05:39 AM
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Yes mam. I just closed on one in December that was rented. It was not an issue at all. It was my very first HAP deal and was awesome!! One of the easiest transactions I have done in a while.

HAP is a great program for our military members.

Feb 15, 2011 08:37 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Randy - Congratulations, that's good news!

Barb - These folks have suffered a lot in this housing market.  I think Americans owe it to them to help in this situation, given the sacrificies they make for us every day.

Mariana - The website is very helpful, but Cindy Jones is has really been my go-to resource.  She's used it successfully many times.

Feb 15, 2011 08:45 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Kristi - I have two HAP listings now that are both rental properties, and I don't anticipate any problems.

Chris Ann - I'm working on it.

Gayle - Why don't you check out the HAP website, especially the FAQ section.

Bryant - Glad it worked out for your client.  It IS a terrific program!

Feb 15, 2011 08:49 AM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA

Hi Margaret, Congratulations on this great post and explaining the HAP program. This is important to anyone that works with relocating active veterans.

Feb 15, 2011 12:30 PM
Jeanne Kozak
RE/MAX In Action - Martinsburg, WV
REALTOR and Broker/Owner in WV and VA

Thanks for the information, very complete and easy to understand, I will keep that in my office for future needs

Feb 15, 2011 03:35 PM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

William - It is.  I'll bet you have plenty of use for it in San Diego!

Jeanne - They have a wonderful website that explains the program in great detail.

Feb 15, 2011 08:54 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Margaret-thanks for the shout out.  I've been fortunate to work with a number of military families using HAP benefits. I know you will also give anyone in your area great advice and service to help them take advantage of the benefits.

Feb 15, 2011 11:19 PM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Cindy - It's only fair, because you ARE the HAP expert.  Anyone who does an activerain search for HAP will find you, not me. 

By the way, we already have a potential buyer for the referral you sent me... 'waiting on the paperwork to get it listed before the buyer chooses another HAP home in the same community.

Feb 16, 2011 12:41 AM
Karen Butler
RE/MAX Coastal Properties - Fort Walton Beach, FL
Eglin AFB/ Fort Walton Beach /Destin Relocation

That is correct information.  Glad to see it. I live between 2 military bases in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and have done several HAP closings.  In fact I have one coming up in a couple of weeks.  Learned something new and will be posting that shortly.

Apr 16, 2011 11:46 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Karen - Thanks for your comment.  And welcome to Activerain!

Apr 16, 2011 01:38 PM
Dawn Harmon, San Diego Realtor, Broker/Owner
Pacific Homes & Estates - San Diego, CA

how does HAP handle HOAs that are in arrears?  Is the seller responsible for that or will HAP allow the buyer to bring current? 

Apr 24, 2012 01:12 AM
Dawn Harmon, San Diego Realtor, Broker/Owner
Pacific Homes & Estates - San Diego, CA

also, can the HAP forms be docusigned? 

Apr 24, 2012 01:15 AM
Jennifer Burnham
Keller Williams Realty - San Diego, CA

This is a great program - when there is funding.  I always have my clients apply (if they meet the criteria) and cross their fingers.  As an active duty Navy spouse myself, I LOVE that there are so many dedicated Military Relocation specialists that actually take the time to learn and really understand all of the benefits / rules / language of being in the military.

Thank you!

May 11, 2012 12:06 AM
Wayne Long
Columbus Ga Real Estate, LLC - Fort Benning - Phenix City - Fort Benning, GA
Homes for Sale In Fort Benning Ga
Thanks for the clarifications on this program! Very clearly written.
Oct 15, 2012 10:06 PM
Kevin McGourty
Realty ONE Group - Phoenix, AZ

Good post. Glad the gov't is assisting military personnel so that they are not feeling the full impact of this (criminal) economic meltdown.

Mar 05, 2013 04:34 AM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Dawn, that's one of the charges a homeowner is responsible to cover.  And yes, they can be docusigned.  But honestly, the last I heard they were running out of money... I'd have to check the current status of funding.

Jennifer, I hear you on the funding!  I'm a Navy wife, too, and love working with my military clients.  Maybe we should talk sometime.

Wayne, it's a little outdated... not sure of today's status w/ HAP.  But it IS a great program!

Kevin, the funding for this program has been limited since the beginning.  I hope they're still doing these.

I'm not sure why this post has suddenly attracted so much interest. It was very timely when written in February 2011, but I haven't done a HAP transaction in recent months.



Mar 05, 2013 10:34 AM
Sheree Holsey
Sold Buy the Sea Realty - Hampstead, NC
I am Happy to Help You Find your Way Home!

Excellent post. Thanks for sharing!

Feb 24, 2014 08:57 AM