In an effort to reduce the administrative burden on state and local governments, public housing authorities and private owners of HUD-assisted multifamily properties, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently posted on its website for advanced review a forthcoming new rule intended to ease its regulatory requirements under a number of the Department’s programs.
The new rule is intended to streamline a host of requirements and to provide greater flexibility for agencies responsible for administering HUD’s rental assistance programs.
How we got here
The 2014 Appropriations Act made changes to certain provisions of the 1937 Act, such as allowing for biennial physical inspections of certain assisted properties and permitting three alternative inspection methods to be used in certain circumstances, codifying in statute the definition of “extremely low-income,” and capping utility allowances at the lesser of the unit size on the voucher or the size of the unit leased by the family.
In addition, HUD has solicited recommendations in recent years on how to streamline program operations to reduce costs and enhance efficiency while still maintaining HUD’s core program oversight functions. You can access the entire 99 page report here.
It’s time for change
In a statement HUD notes, “the January 2015 rule proposed changes to streamline regulatory requirements pertaining to certain elements of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), Public Housing (PH), and various multifamily housing (MFH) rental assistance programs… and to reduce the administrative burden on public housing agencies (PHAs) and MFH owners.”
More succinctly, HUD’s new rule will impact tenant rental payments, rent determination processes, verification of Social Security Numbers for children of applicants, frequency of utility reimbursement payments, verification of assets and community service completion, grievance procedures, unit inspections, and utility payment schedules.
Additionally, HUD points out that the changes relax regulations on state and local units of government administering tenant-based rental assistance programs through HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program and Housing Opportunities for Person with AIDS (HOPWA) Program.
Why all of this means positive change
Lourdes Castro Ramirez, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing points out that, “This rule provides a number of much-needed flexibilities that will enable public housing agencies and other housing administrators to operate their programs more efficiently and effectively.”
Castro Ramirez went on to say that HUD will “continue to explore other areas to reduce administrative burden while ensuring grantees’ ability to provide housing assistance to low-income families in communities across the nation.”
HUD has long been at the forefront for instituting change that enables more low-income families an opportunity to purchase homes which ultimately is good for the housing market and even better for a city’s respective economy.