Enhanced voucher minimum rent calculation for families whose income increases after a significant decrease

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance regarding enhanced voucher minimum rent calculation for families whose income increases after a significant decrease.  This guidance supersedes PIH Notice 2001-41.

Tenants are eligible for enhanced vouchers when there is prepayment of a mortgage on a HUD-subsidized property, voluntary termination of an insurance contract for a HUD-subsidized property, termination of a project-based Section 8 contract or preservation of affordable housing under the Flexible Subsidy program.  Enhanced vouchers have a higher payment standard and have a minimum rent of at least the amount the family was paying at the time of the eligibility event.

If a family with an enhanced voucher has a decrease in income of at least 15% from the family income on the date of the eligibility event, the rent calculation changes to the percentage of income that the family was paying for rent at the time of the eligibility event.

If the family’s income subsequently increases to an amount where minimum rent established by a percentage of family income is more than the original rent, the family’s enhanced voucher minimum rent will revert to the original minimum rent (that is the minimum rent before the family’s income decreased).

Housing authorities must apply this change at the earlier of the families first regular reexamination following the issuance date of this notice, or an interim reexamination as a result of increase in family income.  This change to the family’s rental share is applied prospectively only.  (PIH Notice 2019-12, May 23, 2019.)

Treatment of ABLE accounts in HUD-assisted programs

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance regarding treatment of ABLE accounts for HUD-assisted programs.  ABLE accounts are savings accounts to provide for qualified disability expenses for the beneficiary.  For determining eligibility and continued occupancy, HUD will disregard the amount in an ABLE account.  The entire value of an ABLE account is excluded from the household’s assets.  Actual or imputed interest on ABLE accounts is not counted as income.  Distributions from ABLE accounts are not counted as income.  Wage income directly deposited into an ABLE account does not count as income.  Contributions from a third party directly to an ABLE account do not count as income.

The guidance applies to Housing Choice Voucher program, public housing, Project-based Section 8, Section 202, Section 811, Section 236 and Section 221(d)(3)(4)(5) properties.

Housing Authorities and owners should verify the name of the designated beneficiary of an ABLE account and state program administering the account to verify that the account qualifies as an ABLE account.  (PIH Notice 2019-09 and H Notice 2019-06, April 26 2019.)

Demolition and/or disposition of public housing property

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance regarding demolition and/or disposition of public housing.  A public housing authority must apply to HUD to demolish or dispose of public housing property.

For disposition of public housing property, the application must be based on at least one of three reasons: 1) The conditions in the area surrounding the project adversely affect the health or safety of residents or the feasible operation of the project, which can be supported by either conditions that present serious obstacles ion maintaining the under as healthy and safe housing an why the housing authority cannot cure or mitigate those conditions in a cost-effective manner or lack of demand for the units; 2) disposition allows for the development of other properties that will be more efficiently or effectively operated as low-income housing; 3) disposition is in the best interest of the residents and the housing authority, which can include unit obsolescence, very small (50 or fewer units) housing authority, comprehensive rehabilitation or replacement through rental assistance demonstration, improved efficiency or effectiveness through on-site development of low-income housing or scattered site units that are no longer sustainable.

For non-dwelling and vacant land, the housing authority must certify that the property exceeds the needs of the project or disposition of the property is incidental to, or does not interfere with, continued operation of the project.

Disposition at below fair market value requires a finding of commensurate public benefit, which HUD determines on a case-by-case basis.  Generally, the disposed property is developed for affordable housing serving low-income families.

For demolition of public housing, HUD reviews demolition requests in accordance with the following criteria: 1) substantial physical issues of the building or units; 2) the location of the units causes obsolescence, including physical deterioration of the neighborhood, change in neighborhood from residential to industrial or commercial, or environmental conditions of the cite jeopardize residential use; 3) other factors that impact the marketability, usefulness or management of the units that seriously impedes operation of residential use.

In any 5 year period, a housing authority can demolish the lesser of 5 units or 5% of the total public housing units without HUD approval.

As part of HUD’s approval of an application for disposition or demolition, a housing authority may be eligible for tenant protection vouchers.  The housing authority must apply to HUD separately for tenant protection vouchers.

Other requirements for disposition or demolition include that the housing authority should not re-rent units while HUD is consideration an application unless it is necessary for community needs or other reasons consistent with the public housing authority plan, and that the housing authority certifies compliance with applicable civil rights requirements.

If residents are relocated because of demolition and/or disposition, the housing authority must follow the requirements in 24 CFR 970.21 instead of the Uniform Relocation Act.  However, if CDBG or HOME funds are used in subsequent acquisition, rehabilitation or demolition, the project may be subject to the Uniform Relocation Act, including relocation assistance and one-for-one unit replacement.  (PIH Notice 2018-04, March 22, 2018.)

Manufactured home space rental with Housing Choice Voucher

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance about using Housing Choice Vouchers for manufactured home space rent.  A Housing Choice Voucher now covers monthly payments to amortize the cost of purchasing a manufactured home in addition to space rent, utilities and owner maintenance and management charges for the space.  Monthly payments toward purchasing of the manufactured home include principal, interest, property taxes and insurance, and debt service costs.  Any increase in debt service costs from refinancing while living in the manufactured home are excluded.

If the HAP amount exceed the the rent to the space owner, the housing authority can either pay the remaining balance to the family or pay the remaining balance to either the lender or the utility supplier or both if they are willing to accept HAP payments.

The family is obligated to promptly report any changes in the loan payment amount.

The housing authority must recalculate the manufactured home space rent HAP at the first regular reexamination after April 18, 2017.  (PIH Notice 2017-18, September 7, 2017.)

HUD Lead Safe Housing Rule Guidance

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance to public housing authorities (PHA), Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) property owners and Project-Based Voucher (PBV) property owners regarding required actions when a child in a family receiving public housing, HCV or PBV assistance is identified as having an elevated blood level (EBLL).

The guidance identifies various actions that must be taken when a child under age 6 is identified with an EBLL, including notifying HUD, notifying the local health department if necessary, verification of the case if necessary, environmental investigation, control of the lead hazard within 30 days, notifying other residents and ongoing monitoring.  For public housing, the PHA is the responsible party.  For PBV, the property owner is the responsible party.  For HCV, the PHA is the responsible party but the property owner is responsible for certain response activities.

The guidance also reminds owners of PBV properties that receive more than $5,000 annually per unit in assistance that they must ensure that units built prior to 1978 receive a lead risk assessment, regardless of whether there are children under age 6 in residence, that occupants are informed of the result of the risk assessment, that identified lead paint hazards receive interim controls and that there is clearance by a certified risk assessor before re-occupancy.  PBV owners must also monitor and maintain any remaining lead based paint and hazard controls with annual visual inspections and reinspections with testing every two years.  (PIH Notice 2017-13, August 10, 2017.)


Accessibility in Special Occupancy Parks

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has issued guidance about application of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability laws to Special Occupancy Parks, which include recreational vehicle parks, incidental camping areas and tent camps.  HCD states that Special Occupancy Parks that are open to the public “likely” qualify as public accommodations and “thereby may be subject to” the Americans with Disabilities Act, the California Building Code, the Unruh Act, and the California Disabled Persons Act.

This means that Special Occupancy Parks must comply with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, including accessibility requirements for day use areas, nature trails, parking spaces, bathrooms and pools.  (Information Bulletin 2017-04, July 25, 2017.)