Affordable Housing News

Are your NMA Master Books up to date?

Posted by NMA on Nov 2, 2016 9:36:18 AM

NMA’s revision services team has been working hard to get the latest editions of our Master Books written, published, and shipped to you!

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA Public Housing Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administration regulations, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, annual and interim reexaminations, and proration of assistance for mixed families, among other areas of program administration
  • Implementation guidance on the final rule as described in Notices PIH 2016-05 and PIH 2016-06
  • Updates regarding the use of arrest records in denials and terminations per Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Financial Management and Reporting Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Clarifications for HAP funding allocations based on the 2016 appropriations act, in addition to other updates as specified in Notice PIH 2016-04
  • Modifications to audit requirements to account for the redesignation of regulations to 2 CFR Part 200
  • Clarifications on the use of administrative fees per Notice PIH 2015-17
  • Revised reporting procedures for executive compensation as delineated in Notice PIH 2015-14
  • Changes to requirements regarding portability as set forth in the streamlining portability final rule
  • Modifications to account for the updated VMS user manual
  • The addition of several new exhibits to illustrate and explain financial concepts and processes
  • Insertion of additional citations and references to substantiate source material
  • Other modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

Questions about your revision services subscriptions? Contact Laurie Durrett in our accounting department and she’ll be happy to assist you.

NMA revision services provide a yearly update to your NMA Master Books and model policies with explanations and guidance regarding the most current HUD rules and regulations. To stay updated on the latest program information, try a free 30-day trial subscription to the PIH Alert. Email sales@nanmckay.com to get started.

Topics: books and revision services, criminal records, fair housing, portability, Program News and Notices, recertification, rent calculation, streamlining, utilities

Congratulations to Sheron Stepney!

Posted by NMA on Aug 2, 2016 11:28:04 AM

Congratulations to Sheron Stepney at the East St. Louis Housing Authority, the winner of our #ThrowbackThursday contest! She shared a fantastic #NMAthrowback from 2001 on our Facebook page and has won an NMA Master Book of her choice. Thanks to everyone who participated!

NMA’s Master Book series is a complete program guide providing you with detailed explanations on how to apply the latest rules and regulations for the public housing and housing choice voucher programs.

These books clarify tough HUD regulations and are a valuable asset to anyone working in the affordable housing industry. NMA's revision services team has been working hard to get the latest editions of our Master Books written, published, and shipped to you.

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA HCV Executive Management Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administration regulations, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, annual and interim reexaminations, and inspection protocol, among other areas of program administration
  • Changes to account for the final rule on streamlining portability, issued August 20, 2015
  • The addition of a new section on required PHA policies and policy development, with a focus on the consolidated plan, the PHA plan, the assessment of fair housing (AFH), and the administrative plan
  • Updates regarding the use of arrest records in denials and terminations per Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA HCV Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Several changes regarding inspection requirements brought about by the final rule on streamlining administration regulations, issued March 8, 2016
  • Further clarifications on the streamlining rule as described in Notice PIH 2016-05, which provided implementation guidance on various aspects of the rule
  • Other clarifications and corrections to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance, including topics such as lead-based paint and inspection accuracy

Got questions about the final rules on streamlining administrative regulations and portability? Don’t miss Nan’s legislative update at the The Housing Conference next month, where she’ll discuss acts of Congress, regulation changes, and what’s ahead for 2017.

Topics: books and revision services, criminal records, fair housing, inspections, portability, Program News and Notices, recertification, streamlining, utilities

Senate passes HOTMA

Posted by NMA on Jul 15, 2016 12:20:35 PM

Senate passes HOTMA

Last night the Senate voted to approve the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). The bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives in February, is expected to be signed into law next week. The bill has received widespread support from industry groups and advocacy organizations.

The new law contains a number of changes to program rules for the public housing and housing choice voucher (HCV) programs, homeless and veteran programs, and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

Here is a brief synopsis of major HOTMA changes. Remember that HUD must complete the formal rulemaking process before changes take effect.

Revisions to the calculation of annual and adjusted income

  • After the initial year of assistance, prior-year income use is mandatory. Adjustments will be available to reflect current income
  • Exclusion of imputed asset income, unless net assets exceed $50,000
  • Increase in the allowance for elderly and disabled families from $400 to $525
  • Deduction for medical expenses which exceed 10 percent of annual income (changed from 3 percent)
    • Hardship exemptions required

Changes impacting the public housing and HCV programs

  • Requirement to provide a preference or priority for financial assistance to U.S. citizens or nationals before any alien who is otherwise eligible for assistance
  • Revisions to inspection requirements for the HCV program, including authorization for permitting families to occupy a unit prior to inspection (where the unit has been inspected within the past 24 months and no life-threatening deficiencies were found)
  • Imposition of an asset cap of $100,000
  • Optional termination of tenancy for public housing residents whose annual income exceeds 120 percent of fair market rent for two years
  • Changes to rules governing interim reexaminations
    • Interim decreases required only if rent will decrease by 10 percent or more
    • Interim increases required if rent will increase by 10 percent or more

Other HOTMA changes

  • Options to increase the allowable percentage of project-based vouchers (PBVs) and to extend PBV contract terms
  • Requirements for HUD to provide PHAs with
    • Data on local utility consumption for use in determining utility allowances
    • Guidelines for minimum heating requirements in public housing

Click here for a Congressional summary of HOTMA or here for the full text.

Got questions about HOTMA? Don’t miss Nan’s legislative update at the The Housing Conference this September, where she’ll discuss acts of Congress, regulation changes, and what's ahead for 2017.

Topics: HOTMA, inspections, over-income families, PBV, Program News and Notices, recertification, rent calculation, seniors and elderly, utilities, veterans, voucher reform legislation

NMA's 2016 model policies shipped to subscribers!

Posted by NMA on May 26, 2016 10:55:58 AM

We're pleased to announce that the 2016 editions of our model policies have shipped out! All revision service customers should receive these within a week or so.

2016: For 2016, the NMA Model Administrative Plan and Guide has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, the earned income disallowance, annual and interim reexaminations, inspection protocol, among other areas of program administration
  • Further clarifications on the streamlining rule as described in Notice PIH 2016-05, which provided implementation guidance on various aspects of the rule
  • Updates to policies on the use of arrest records per Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Clarifications regarding the definition of tuition, as specified in Notice PIH 2015-21
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2016: For 2016, the NMA Model Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) and Guide has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, the earned income disallowance, annual and interim reexaminations, calculating rents for mixed families, grievances, and the community service requirement, among others
  • Implementation guidance on the final rule as described in Notices PIH 2016-05 and PIH 2016-06
  • Further clarifications on the community service requirement found in Notice PIH 2015-12
  • Modifications to policies on phasing-in flat rents per Notice PIH 2015-13
  • Updates on the use of arrest records as described in Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Revision of the definition of tuition specified in Notice PIH 2015-21
  • Discussion in the model ACOP instruction guide on over-income families following the letter to executive directors issued September 3, 2015
  • Other minor changes and clarifications throughout to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2016: For 2016, the NMA Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Revisions regarding Notice PIH 2015-12 on the community service and self-sufficiency requirement (CSSR)
  • Modifications concerning the redesignation of 24 CFR Part 85 to 2 CFR Part 200
  • Updates to relevant references, including regulatory updates for the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, issued March 8, 2016
  • Other corrections and modifications for clarity and ease of reading

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, the earned income disallowance, annual and interim reexaminations, and inspection protocol, among other areas of program administration
  • Further clarifications on the streamlining rule as described in Notice PIH 2016-05, which provided implementation guidance on various aspects of the rule
  • Changes to account for the final rule on streamlining portability, issued August 20, 2015
  • Updates regarding the use of arrest records in denials and terminations per Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Revisions for Notice PIH 2016-02 on enhanced voucher requirements for over-housed families
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

Questions about your revision services subscriptions? Contact Laurie Durrett in our accounting department and she'll be happy to assist you.

NMA revision services provide a yearly update to your NMA Master Books and model policies with explanations and guidance regarding the most current HUD rules and regulations. To stay updated on the latest program information, try a free 30-day trial subscription to the PIH Alert. Email sales@nanmckay.com to get started.

Topics: books and revision services, community service, criminal records, EID, flat rent, HQS, inspections, over-income families, PIH Alert, portability, Program News and Notices, recertification, rent calculation, streamlining, utilities

HUD publishes new guidance on streamlining final rule

Posted by NMA on Apr 12, 2016 12:52:19 PM

govt-columns.jpgThe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published a 33-page notice containing guidance for implementing the streamlining final rule. The streamlining rule was published on March 8 in the Federal Register. Notice PIH 2016-05 is dated April 7, 2016.

The notice includes a three-page narrative followed by 15 attachments, each addressing a separate provision of the streamlining rule. Each attachment describes the applicable regulation, the programs to which the rule applies, a background and description of the change, whether the change is mandatory or discretionary, and the effective date for the change.

In the narrative portion of the notice, HUD discusses the requirement for revisions to an agency’s administrative plan and/or admissions and continued occupancy policies (ACOP). PHA policies must be revised prior to the implementation of discretionary changes. Each PHA must also determine whether policy revisions constitute a significant amendment to the agency plan, and if so, must follow the agency plan amendment process before implementing the change. Furthermore, the notice states that a PHA must begin the process of revising its administrative plan/ACOP/agency plan as soon as possible so that modifications may be implemented in a timely manner.

The notice’s 15 individual attachments contain implementation guidance for regulatory changes to the following program areas:

  • Verification of social security numbers
  • Definition of extremely low-income families
  • Exclusion of mandatory education fees
  • Streamlined annual reexaminations for fixed sources of income
  • Earned income disregard
  • Family declaration of assets which do not exceed $5,000
  • Utility reimbursements
  • Public housing rents for mixed families
  • Self-certification for the community service requirement
  • Public housing grievance procedures
  • Biennial inspections and use of alternative inspections
  • HQS reinspection fees
  • Exception payment standards as reasonable accommodations
  • Regular and interim reexaminations
  • Utility allowance schedules

HUD followed that guidance with Notice PIH 2016-06, “Administering the Self-Certification Flexibility when Verifying Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement (CSSR) Compliance.” The notice provides clarification of the self-certification option introduced in the streamlining final rule, specifically regarding tenant notification and validation requirements.

Under the streamlining rule, agencies adopting a policy permitting self-certification of community service compliance must notify residents of the option. The notice contains revised versions of Attachment A (Entrance Acknowledgment) and Attachment B (Annual Renewal) containing the required language. The attachments are examples and are not HUD-required forms.

The notice directs PHAs that plan to accept self-certifications to develop standardized forms which must include:

  • A statement that the resident has completed the number of hours listed and this statement is subject to penalties of perjury
  • The number of hours and type of activity (community service or self-sufficiency) that the resident completed
  • The name of the organization or person for which the activity was completed
  • The address of the organization or person
  • The phone number of the organization or person, and
  • A contact person in the organization or the person for which the activity was completed

PHAs that adopt a policy for accepting self-certification must validate a sample of the certifications through third-party documentation. The required sample size, based on a universe of residents who submitted self-certifications, is shown in Appendix C to the notice. For example, a PHA with a universe of 27 self-certifications must validate at least 21 self-certifications. Validation procedures must follow the verification requirements of Notice PIH 2010-19.

As explained in the notice, PHAs must update their community service policies prior to accepting resident self-certifications, and may only accept such certifications prospectively.

For residents under lease at the time the PHA amends its policies, the PHA must review annual compliance and obtain third-party verification for that lease cycle. However, for any subsequent lease cycles beginning after the PHA has adopted the policy change, the PHA may accept resident self-certifications for those periods. A PHA may not accept resident self-certifications for tenants subject to a work-out agreement until the resident has completed, and the PHA has verified through a third party, that the resident has completed the required hours.

Our technical writers and subject matter experts are currently working on a revision to both our model ACOP and model administrative plan. Because the streamlining final rule includes several new policy options, we will be issuing a special mid-year revision rather than having customers wait for the standard annual revision. We were in the process of formatting the revision when HUD released these two clarifying notices, and are now going back to rework our revisions. This has pushed our timeline back a bit.

Once the revision is done, we’ll be releasing it in two ways: we will announce on our website and in the PIH Alert when electronic copies are available to be emailed by request, and we will also offer copies on CD through the mail. I anticipate that the electronic copies will be ready in about three weeks. Once you see our announcement, you can just request that we email them to you. If you’d prefer to get them through the mail, those will take longer since you have to wait for us to print CDs and ship them, probably about a month from now.

We have also reviewed all our seminars and updated them with new guidance as needed.

HCV seminars updated for the streamlining final rule:

Public housing seminars updated for the streamlining final rule:

Multifamily seminars updated for the streamlining final rule:

Thank you to all our subscribers and students. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with the NMA team by emailing sales@nanmckay.com or calling us at (800) 783-3100.

Senior trainer Samantha Sowards has been a part of the NMA team since 2008. As NMA’s manager of curriculum development, Samantha oversees publications from concept and creation through the ongoing revision process, including NMA Master Books, model policies, and handbooks.

Topics: books and revision services, community service, EID, eligibility, final rule, HQS, inspections, occupancy, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation, streamlining, Trainers and Consultants, utilities

HUD publishes final rule on streamlining admin regs

Posted by NMA on Mar 1, 2016 2:10:52 PM

In a press release this morning, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it will soon be publishing a final rule streamlining administrative regulations for the public housing (PH), housing choice voucher (HCV), and multifamily housing programs.

The streamlining final rule combines changes in the 2014 and 2015 appropriations acts, elements of HUD’s 2013 temporary compliance options, and other streamlining changes. As you may recall, PIH published the proposed streamlining rule last year on January 6, 2015, and an interim rule on flat rents September 8, 2015.

Today's 99-page final rule includes revisions to the proposed rule and finalizes the regulations contained in the interim rule. Among numerous other changes, the streamlining final rule:

  • Adopts two separate “dates of admission” for the HCV program, specifically the date of voucher issuance and the date of lease-up, for the purposes of verification of social security numbers.
  • Does not allow for the use of actual past income that was included in the proposed rule, based on public comments that suggested it would have minimal streamlining benefits.
  • Provides for a streamlined income determination for any fixed source of income, even if a person or family with a fixed source of income also has a non-fixed source of income, and requires that a full reexamination and redetermination of income must be performed every three years.
  • Revises the earned income disallowance (EID) so that the benefit now applies for a straight 24-month period and PHAs are no longer obligated to track the number of months due to employment starts and stops. For families currently enrolled and participating in EID, the previous requirements will continue to apply. HUD will publish a separate notice with more information about the new administrative requirements.
  • Authorizes PHAs to obtain third-party documentation of assets under $5,000 every three years.
  • Provides PHAs with the option of making quarterly utility payments for reimbursements totaling $45 or less per quarter. If the PHA opts to do so, it must institute a hardship policy for tenants.
  • Includes some but not all of the proposed changes to public housing grievance procedures. PHAs are no longer required to consult resident organizations before appointing a hearing officer, nor must they retain a redacted copy of each hearing decision to be made available to prospective complainants. In place of that requirement, they must maintain a log of hearing officer decisions. However, PHAs must still prepare a summary of any informal settlement, and either party to a grievance may request, at their own expense, that a transcript of a grievance hearing be prepared.
  • Clarifies that if an alternative inspection method is used in the HCV program that employs sampling, PHAs may rely on that method only if HCV units are included in the population of units forming the basis of the sample.
  • Specifies that PHAs may charge a reasonable housing quality standards (HQS) reinspection fee only if an owner states that a deficiency has been fixed and the deficiency is found during reinspection to persist, or if a reinspection conducted after the expiration of the timeframe for repairs reveals that the deficiency persists. It also specifies that any such fees collected must be used only for activities related to the provision of tenant-based assistance.

A prepublication copy of the final rule is posted here. It will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Keep up with housing industry news, trends, and notices with a subscription to NMA's PIH Alert. You'll receive a daily email filled with up-to-the-minute program changes, requirements, and assistance. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: appropriations, EID, final rule, flat rent, hearing officer, HQS, inspections, Notice PIH 2013-03, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, rent calculation, streamlining, utilities

HUD follows flat rent rule with supplemental guidance

Posted by BEMuser on Sep 10, 2015 8:55:26 AM

falt rent rule Yesterday HUD posted Notice PIH 2015-13, "Changes to Flat Rent Requirements — FY 2015 Appropriations Act." The nine-page notice follows Tuesday’s publication of the interim rule on "Streamlining Administrative Regulations for Public Housing: Revisions to Public Housing Flat Rents." In addition to providing supplemental guidance and clarification on the interim rule, yesterday's notice replaces Notice PIH 2014-12.

As we previously reported, the interim rule provides PHAs with two alternatives to the current requirement for setting flat rents at 80 percent of the applicable fair market rent (FMR). First, PHAs may establish flat rents based on 80 percent of an FMR representing a smaller geographic area. This second FMR would be either the small area FMR (SAFMR), issued for metropolitan counties, or the unadjusted rents, for counties not covered by an SAFMR. Yesterday's notice explains the term “unadjusted rents” as follows:

The unadjusted rent is the FMR estimated directly from the American Community Survey (ACS) source data that HUD uses to calculate FMRs before HUD applies its state non-metropolitan minimum rent policy.

HUD will publish the unadjusted rents annually on its website. If neither a SAFMR nor an unadjusted rent has been determined for an area, PHAs must set flat rents based on the applicable FMR for the larger area.

Alternatively, PHAs may request an exception from HUD for a flat rent amount that is lower than either of the two FMRs. Such requests must include a market analysis and a demonstration that the lower flat rent is reasonable in comparison to similar unassisted units. The new notice clarifies that while HUD does not prescribe a particular formula for determining the market analysis, PHAs must compare the public housing unit to unassisted units in the area using the nine factors considered in rent reasonableness determinations for the voucher program:

  • Location, quality, size, unit type, age of the unit, and
  • Amenities, housing services, maintenance, and utilities the PHA will provide under the lease

PHAs utilizing exception flat rents must conduct a new market analysis, and obtain HUD approval, annually. PHAs that submit an exception request prior to the publishing of final fiscal year (FY) 2016 FMRs (likely in October 2015) will not be required to submit another exception request until HUD publishes final FY 2017 FMRs (likely in October 2016). Proposed FMRs for FY 2016 were posted last week on the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) FMR page.

The new notice also contains the following reminder regarding "over-income" families:

As flat rents are fully implemented, the higher rent levels will ensure that families with higher incomes pay an appropriate market-based rent. It is an important policy goal to provide scarce public resources to those most in need of deeply affordable housing. PHAs are therefore reminded that they have the discretion, in accordance with federal law and regulations (24 CFR 960.261; FR-4824-F-02), to establish occupancy policies that include the eviction of public housing tenants who are above the income limits for eligibility to participate in public housing programs. HUD encourages PHAs to provide a balance between the important goals of supporting the sustained self-sufficiency of families with the ever increasing demand for affordable housing units among families on their waiting lists.

The notice includes previously-issued HUD guidance on flat rents and utility allowances, rent increase phase-in requirements, and annual rent options.

Is your PHA in search of a proven methodology for ensuring that program participants are paying reasonable rents? GoSection8.com can help. Specializing in rent reasonableness, Go8 has served tenants, landlords, and housing authorities across the United States since 2004. Go8 can also assist public housing agencies with the new flat rent requirements. To learn more about how you can bring Go8 to your agency, email sales@nanmckay.com.

Topics: appropriations, flat rent, FMR, GoSection8, interim rule, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, rent reasonableness, utilities

The October 2014 revision of NMA's Model Admin Plan has shipped!

Posted by BEMuser on Feb 27, 2015 1:16:21 PM

Subscribers to our annual revision service can expect to receive the latest updates to the NMA Model Administrative Plan and Guide within the next week or so. If you have any questions about your subscription, please contact Laurie Durrett in our accounting department and she'll be happy to assist you.

Shortly after we completed our May 2014 revision of the NMA Model Administrative Plan and Guide, HUD issued two crucial pieces of guidance in the June 25, 2014 Federal Register: the HERA final rule and the implementation notice for the 2014 appropriations act. Because of the importance of this new information, we have decided to publish a second revision for 2014, which also provides updated policies for recently issued Notice PIH 2014-20. Major additions to the October 2014 revision include:

  • Extensive revisions regarding project-based vouchers (PBVs) as codified by the HERA final rule
  • A new set of policies covering the optional biennial HQS inspections authorized by the 2014 appropriations act
  • Other changes mandated by the June 25 implementation notice, including new requirements for utility allowances and a revised definition for extremely low-income (ELI) family
  • Updated language regarding nondiscrimination as outlined in Notice PIH 2014-20, which provides guidance on the equal access final rule
  • Other minor modifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

NMA revision services provide a yearly update to your NMA Master Books and model policies with explanations and guidance regarding the most current HUD rules and regulations. To stay updated on the latest program information, try a free 30-day trial subscription to the PIH Alert. Email sales@nanmckay.com to get started.

Topics: appropriations, books and revision services, equal access, fair housing, final rule, HERA, HQS, inspections, PBV, PIH Alert, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, utilities

PIH publishes final rule removing certificate program from the regs

Posted by BEMuser on Feb 17, 2015 9:25:11 AM

Today in the Federal Register, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a final rule removing obsolete references to the Section 8 certificate program from the regulations.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reviewed its regulations to identify regulations that are ‘‘outmoded, ineffective, insufficient or excessively burdensome.’’

Following its review, HUD determined that the certificate program regulations are obsolete and unnecessary because they govern a program that has been consolidated into another program, the housing choice voucher (HCV) program. This rule also makes minor editorial corrections to the regulations.

Today's final rule standardizes the definitions of absorption, administrative plan, admission, applicant, budget authority, continuously assisted, housing quality standards (HQS), merger date, program, receiving PHA, and utility reimbursement. The rule affects the regulations in 24 CFR Part 982. It will become effective on March 19, 2015.

Topics: HQS, portability, Program News and Notices, utilities

HUD publishes proposed rule on streamlining admin regs

Posted by BEMuser on Jan 6, 2015 1:26:27 PM

Today in the Federal Register, HUD published a proposed rule aimed at streamlining administrative regulations for the public housing (PH), housing choice voucher (HCV), and multifamily housing programs. The rule combines changes in the 2014 appropriations act, elements of HUD’s 2013 temporary compliance options, and other streamlining changes. Comments are due by March 9, 2015.

2014 Appropriations Act Changes

HUD has issued interim guidance on the appropriations act changes in Notice PIH 2014-12 and in a Federal Register notice published on June 25, 2014. Today’s notice opens the formal rulemaking process for regulatory changes in the determination of PH flat rents, HCV utility allowances and biennial inspections, and the definition of extremely low income. HUD plans to publish a separate notice on the act’s provision for PHA consortia.

Temporary Compliance Assistance

The proposed rule would give PHAs the option to permanently adopt one or more of the streamlining strategies first offered in Notice PIH 2013-03 (and later extended by Notice PIH 2013-26). The options applicable to both the PH and HCV programs include:

  • Use of actual past income for rent calculations
  • Family self-certification of assets when total assets do not exceed $5,000 in value
  • Streamlined annual reexaminations for elderly and disabled families with fixed incomes

The proposed rule would also make permanent the PHA option of approving exception payment standards in the HCV program. PHAs could approve exceptions between 111 percent and 120 percent of fair market rent (FMR), bypassing the field office approval process.

Additional Streamlining Measures

Today’s notice also contains a number of proposed regulatory changes intended to reduce program costs and/or administrative burdens. The changes applicable to the PH, HCV, and multifamily programs include:

  • Revision of the rule on documentation of social security numbers (SSNs). The proposed rule would permit PHAs to defer documentation for children less than 6 years of age in applicant families for up to 90 days after admission, in cases where the child does not yet have an SSN.
  • Exclusion of mandatory fees from student financial aid, where applicable. While this change is categorized as applicable to all programs, student financial aid is currently excluded from annual income in the PH program.

Proposed changes applicable to the PH and HCV programs include:

  • A provision for issuing utility reimbursement payments quarterly, rather than monthly, when the quarterly total does not exceed $20.
  • Revisions to the regulations governing the earned income disallowance (EID). The proposed rule would limit EID eligibility to 24 consecutive months, eliminating the need for tracking the exclusion over a period of up to 48 months. The rule would retain the current 12-month full exclusion period, and would then offer PHAs the flexibility to phase in a rent increase by excluding at least 50 percent of increased income for an additional 12 months, for family members who remain continuously employed. Note: the current EID rules would remain in effect for participants assisted under the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

The notice also proposes the following changes applicable to only the PH program:

  • Substitution of flat rent for “public housing maximum rent” in the calculation of prorated rent for mixed families. The rule would also correct a calculation anomaly that causes prorated rent to decrease when a mixed family’s income exceeds the maximum rent amount.
  • The option of accepting resident self-certification of compliance with community service requirements.
  • Streamlining and simplification of grievance procedures.
  • A clarification that the number of vacant units eligible for operating subsidy is limited to 3 percent of total units, on a project-by-project basis.

Finally, the proposed rule includes the following changes applicable to the HCV program:

  • An option to limit move-ins to certain days of the month, such as the first. This option would reduce the need for prorated payments and would eliminate overlapping payments.
  • The option to charge reinspection fees to owners, when the owner reports that an HQS violation has been corrected but inspection reveals that the violation still exists. The optional reasonable fee could be charged to owners, but not to program applicants or participants.
  • Revision of the regulations governing utility allowance schedules. The proposed rule would permit PHAs to classify units as “attached” or “detached,” reducing the number of unit types for which allowances must be calculated.

Keep up with housing industry news, trends, and notices with a subscription to NMA's PIH Alert. You'll receive a daily email filled with up-to-the-minute program changes, requirements, and assistance. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: appropriations, EID, flat rent, FMR, HQS, inspections, Notice PIH 2013-03, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, proposed rule, rent calculation, streamlining, utilities

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