Enclosures, Non-Conversion Agreements, and Flood Vents

An “Enclosure” is formed when any space below the BFE is enclosed on all sides by any walls or partition. Any Enclosure (no matter how small) must have a minimum of two flood openings on two different walls. Grade on the inside face of the vent (under the house) must be at same elevation (or higher) than grade at the outer face of the vent. If grade elevation under the house is lower than the adjacent exterior grade, then it is considered by FEMA to be a prohibited residential construction basement. A compliant enclosed area below the BFE can be rendered non-compliant by installing features that are inconsistent with the limitations on uses. Examples of features that are not allowed below the BFE are:

  • Appliances
  • Heating and Air Conditioning equipment 
  • Ventilation 
  • Ductwork 
  • Plumbing fixtures 
  • Materials that are not flood damage-resistant materials 
  • More than the minimum electric service required to address life-safety and electric code requirements for vehicle parking, building access, or storage

Enclosures must be built with flood-resistant materials and equipped with flood openings that allow water levels inside and outside to equalize. These areas shall not be finished or used for recreational or habitable purposes.

When the Middletown Building Department issues permits for buildings with enclosed areas below the BFE, applicants are required to execute Non-Conversion Agreements. These agreements document the applicants understanding that the allowed use of enclosures is limited, that conversion to other uses is not allowed, and that modifying enclosed areas may render a building non-compliant with minimum requirements and result in higher NFIP flood insurance rates.

Construction that does not meet these requirements will not be granted a CO without a recorded Non-Conversion Agreement. A blank Non-Conversion Agreement can be found here. The steps to executing the agreement are as follows:

  1. When a project is complete and ready for the CO to be issued, the applicant shall have the form notarized by a notary.
  2. The Middletown construction official will sign the notarized form.
  3. The applicant will bring the signed form to Monmouth County for recording. 
  4. The applicant will bring the notarized and recorded document back to our construction office for the CO to be issued.