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HUD publishes final rule on streamlining admin regs

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.

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