How do I determine the dollar amount for the 50% Rule?

There are two ways to determine the 50% rule threshold amount:

Option 1)

You may use the Lee County Property Assessor's assessment which has been adjusted to approximate market value.  Based on the retraction letter received by the Town of Fort Myers Beach from FEMA on February 17, 2023, two days after their initial letter, FEMA has recognized the Lee County property appraiser as the authority to assess real property values. The county property assessor’s office has been charged with deriving property valuations taking into consideration various factors. Accordingly, the Town will continue to use the “Tax Roll Value Letter” when it is an available option (generally available for single-family residential properties) on the website, or an independent appraisal of the pre-hurricane building market value submitted with a building permit application, to determine the pre-hurricane market value of properties in the Town of Fort Myers Beach. According to the Town of Fort Myers Beach floodplain ordinance, these are the two building valuation options available for determining if a building has exceeded the substantial damage or substantial improvement 50% threshold (i.e. the "50% rule").

To find this value, first visit the Lee County Property Appraiser’s website ( Type your property address into the Site Address line of the Quick Property Search area and hit Search:

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Click on the “Parcel Details,” link:

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On the next screen, click on the yellow “Tax Roll Value Letter” text (link) in the center of the page:

Next, find the “Building Value” in the table in the center of the first page:

Use half of this value (divide by 2) to determine the “50% rule” threshold for the building.

* Note: The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office website ( does not have a Tax Roll Value letter for every parcel, particularly larger multi-family residential, condominium, or hotel buildings, non-residential properties, and vacant land parcels. 

Many commercial properties are valued via the income capitalization approach. However, this valuation method is not an accepted method for FEMA’s 50% rule because it is based on how the property is used, and not the value of structure alone.

If a Tax Roll Value Letter is not available for your parcel, you should consult with one or more Florida-licensed property appraisers as soon as possible to obtain a private appraisal of your building value. You will need to include a copy of this private appraisal with your building permit application.

For more information, see LEEPA’s Hurricane Ian FAQ - Why does this parcel not have a Tax Roll Value Letter? 

Option 2) 

A private actual cash value (ACV) appraisal of the pre-damaged building value can be obtained by the property owner through an independent appraisal. This appraisal must be prepared and certified by a property appraiser licensed in the State of Florida. The appraisal must show the actual cash value of the building in its pre-damaged state, not the land or other improvements/accessory structures. Submit this appraisal with any building permit application for review.

Show All Answers

1. Am I in the jurisdiction of the Town of Fort Myers Beach if I have a Fort Myers Beach U.S. postal service address?
2. How long is my permit good for?
3. When is a permit required?
4. What happens if I choose not to obtain the required permits?
5. How do I submit my paperwork for a rebuild and obtain an issued permit?
6. Glass windows and doors--what is the requirement for replacement of windows and doors? Is there a requirement for a certain level of "hurricane" glass?
7. Where can I find the forms to submit a building permit application?
8. What is the current review period for building permits and how do I contact my reviewer?
9. PERMITS GENERAL (category)
10. How do I check the status of an existing building permit?
11. What are the requirements for a site plan?
12. Which permit do I get for a temporary power pole?
13. Where can I send my general building permit questions? (i.e. fence, remodel, single family home, etc.)
14. How do I extend my permit that is issued but about to expire?
15. Do I need a permit to Erect/ Replace a fence?
16. How much do permits cost?
17. How do I pay for my building permit?
18. How can I respond to a rejection letter that I received from one of the reviewers about my building permit application?
19. How can I submit my building permit application paperwork?
20. What happens if my permit expires?
21. What is a Notice of Commencement (NOC), do I need to file one, and how do file my NOC?
22. Should we get this far, what is the anticipated time frame for obtaining a building permit?
23. Are you currently issuing permits for repair of hurricane damaged homes, or will there be a delay before you begin to issue permits?
24. How close can a pool enclosure/pool be to a seawall?
25. Do I need a permit for a deck?
26. Do I need a permit for a Chickee hut?
27. Only drywall, baseboards, cabinets and finished flooring was damaged in our home. Do I need a building permit and repair/improvement cost form to repair these damages?
28. APPRAISALS (category)
29. Given that the appraisal is higher than the tax assessed value, will this trigger a requirement for a second appraisal?
30. Will an AVM "appraisal" be an accepted alternative appraisal method?
31. CONDOS (category)
32. What do I need if I live in a condo and want to replace my windows?
33. The bottom level of our building was severely damaged by the hurricane. Can ground level areas be rebuilt?
34. What is needed for minor Condo Renovations?
35. CODE (category)
36. How close can you get to a non-seawalled natural body of water (Rip Rap)?
37. What are the code requirements for construction in Fort Myers Beach?
38. What are the rules for swimming pool barriers in Florida and what are my responsibilities as a property owner?
39. CONTRACTORS (category)
40. Does the town have a list of registered contractors?
41. Do I need a contractor? What does it mean to be an "owner builder?"
42. Can you recommend an engineer/architect/contractor?
43. How does a contractor get registered with the Town of Fort Myers Beach?
44. DEMOLITION (category)
45. I’ve decided to demolish my building as it was substantially damaged. Will the city be removing my home?
46. How do I acquire a demolition permit?
47. I’ve decided to demolish my home. What is my next step?
48. ELEVATION (category)
49. Where do I find the elevation of my home?
50. Is it possible to elevate my existing building?
51. What is the “lowest floor” of a building and what is the elevation reference point which must be elevated above the minimum elevation?