The CA Quarterly Review (Spring 2023)
THE NEWS QUARTERLY FOR OWNERS AND AGENTS OF THE PERFORMANCE BASED CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION FOR Ohio & washington DC
- From the Desk of DeAnne Foy, General Manager of Contract Administration
Welcome to the Spring Edition of the CA Quarterly Review!
Ahhh, Spring, my favorite time of year. I am hoping the warm weather persists and we don’t get snow in April.
In the words of Vince Lombardi, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
The PBRA program has had a twenty-three-year track record of success. We provide housing for approximately 124,000 residents due to the collaborative effort of three organizations; HUD as contract oversight monitor, AHSC with our partners at CGI for contract administration, and our crucial owners and agents who provide safe residences. We each have our roles to fill, and we all have respect for one another in these roles.
It is said that an organization is only as good as the people who work for it, and this is certainly true here. I am often in awe of AHSC and CGI staff members for their knowledge and understanding of the PBRA program and HUD policy. This is achieved through extensive training and experience. These employees have a deep commitment to helping others and carrying out our mission. Their efforts are greatly appreciated.
On the political side, the Biden Administration’s FY24 budget was released. It includes $7.5 billion for new Project-Based Rental Assistance. However, with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, it is unlikely the budget, in its current form, will be enacted.
Enjoy the warm days and freshness of Spring!
General Manager of Contract Administration, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
- Get Ready for Spring Cleaning—Records Retention Requirement Reminders.
As we enter the spring months, now is the perfect time to conduct a thorough spring cleaning of your files. In order to facilitate your ‘out with the old, in with the new’ spring attitude, here are some reminders about record retention requirements.
Applicant File Retention – HUD Handbook 4350.3 Chapter 4, 4-22
Applicant Files must be maintained from the time the application is accepted, through the wait list period and for three years after the applicant is removed from the waist list.
- The current application must be retained as long as applicant is active on the waiting list.
- If the applicant was removed from the waitlist, then the application, supplement to application (HUD 92006), initial rejection notice, applicant reply, copy of the owner’s final response and all documentation supporting the reason for removal must be retained for three years.
- After an applicant moves in to the property the application and supplement to application (HUD 92006) must be maintained in the tenant file for the term of tenancy plus three years.
Resident File Retention – HUD Handbook 4350.3 Chapter 5, 5-23
Resident files (all documentation) must be maintained for the term of tenancy plus three years thereafter.
- Owners must keep the following documentation in the resident file:
- All original, signed HUD 9887s and 9887As;
- A copy of signed consent forms;
- A copy of the EIV Income Report, the HUD 50059 and any other documentation obtained supporting rent and income determinations; and
- Any third party verifications
Retention of EIV Reports – HUD Handbook 4350.3 Chapter 9, 9-14
- The Income Report, Summary Report and the Income Discrepancy Report along with any supporting documentation must be retained in the resident file for the term of tenancy plus three years.
- Any tenant provided documentation to supplement the Social Security Administration or National Database of New Hires data must be retained in the resident file for the term of tenancy plus three years.
- Results of the Existing Tenant Search must be retained with the application:
- If the applicant was not admitted, it must be retained with the application for three years.
- If the applicant was admitted, it must be retained in the resident file for the term of tenancy plus three years.
- The master file containing the New Hires Report, Identity Verification Reports, Multiple Subsidy Report and Deceased Tenant Report must be retained for three years.
Once the retention period has expired for all of the above listed requirements, owners must dispose of the data in a manner that will prevent any unauthorized access to personal information (shred, burn, pulverize, etc.). It is recommended to review the above requirements once a year to ensure unnecessary documentation is being kept and stored on-site.
Many residents may reside at a property for multiple years and this will cause the resident file to become quite large. Owners may choose to move/reduce the files sizes located at the property; however, it is recommended to keep all move-in documentation along with the most recent five years’ worth of recertifications. If file documentation is removed from the property it must be kept in secure storage, the documentation cannot be destroyed. It is recommended to include this policy in an owner/agents written management procedures.
Happy Spring cleaning!
- Proposed Changes to the HAP Contracts
The information in this article was initially published by Federal Register. You are strongly encouraged to read the Federal Register notice in its entirety, as this article is only a summary.
As an Owner/Agent, you are likely aware of the type of HAP contract your property is currently under. Properties who are currently under an Option 2 or 4 contract, are under a Basic Renewal Contract. Properties who are currently under an Option 1 contract, are under a Mark up to Market Contract. Properties who are currently under an Option 3 contract, are under an Interim Full or Interim Lite Contact, or perhaps under a Full M2M Renewal Contract. And properties under an Option 5 contract, are under a Preservation Renewal Contract.
However, on 2/2/2023, HUD released a proposal that would essentially reduce the complexities associated with administrating the different types of contracts. HUD is proposing a single standard renewal contract for all projects renewing under section 524. Per the federal register notice, “HUD sees a clear benefit to moving toward a single program regulatory structure and a single program contract that sets forth all contract terms”. HUD recognizes the impact that this will have on an owner’s decision-making process on whether to request a renewal. For this reason, the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs (MFH) is calling for public comments concerning this initiative.
If you are new to the Request for Public Comment process, this is when you have a chance to voice your concerns and provide input on new policies being introduced. MFH will not only consider all public comments within the initial 40-day period but will also issue a subsequently proposed rule after considering those said comments, to allow another public comment period on the proposed standard program regulation.
Please visit the Federal Register link above to find details on how to submit comments by mail or electronically. On this site, FMH included several subject areas to consider and comment on such as:
- HUD’s intention on making it a requirement to establish a HUD-controlled Reserve for Replacement account. Owners will also be required to submit annual financial reports to ensure compliance with the RfR requirement.
- To provide clarity and transparency, HUD intends on including in the regulation a subpart on HUD enforcement.
- HUD expects to incorporate into the regulation tenant rights equivalent to current rights that apply to tenants residing in projects assisted under RAD PBRA HAP contract.
- For projects within MFH’s portfolio eligible for renewal under section 524 of MAHRA, when owners are to renew, HUD intends on requiring renewal by means of the single standard program contract. Owners will be subject to the requirements laid out in the standard program regulation.
FMH would also like your input on additional items that may be beneficial to include such as:
- In terms of rehabilitation, should the standard program regulation address requirements when a project is undergoing rehabilitation? Examples include rehabilitation planning, tenant relocation, use of a pass-through, etc.
- As for vacant units, should HUD include incentives to encourage owners to re-lease vacant units quickly such as vacancy payments? Are there programmatic changes HUD might consider encouraging this result?
- Should the regulation be comprehensive, addressing all aspects of the program, ranging from renewal, management, occupancy, enforcement, and nondiscrimination accessibility for persons with disabilities and equal opportunity requirements?
If you indeed have comments on any of these topics, please note, comments must be submitted no later than April 3, 2023.
- COVID-19 Antigen Test Kit Ordering Portal for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly
The information in this article was initially published by hud.gov.
Good news Owner/Agents! The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are making COVID-19 antigen test kits available to Section 202 Housing for the Elderly properties free of charge. Owners and site-based staff at these properties can register to order test kits on a weekly basis to be delivered directly to their properties. Nice right?
So, what properties are eligible to receive these free test kits? Properties serving older adult residents that have current or past Section 202/8 or Section 202 Capital Advance and/or rental assistance from HUD. These properties are eligible to receive free test kits.
When registering a property, keep in mind that registrations and ordering should be done on a property-by-property basis. If you are an owner or manager of multiple properties, you must register each property separately. Also, when registering, you must provide your iREMS number and that iREMS number is used to confirm the property name and address. If the property name and address doesn’t match the iREMS number, the registration will not be approved.
If you are wondering how may kits you should order, 1 package contains 45 test kits and each kit includes 2 tests. Properties should not stockpile or order test kits in advance but should order enough test kits to cover the number of kits needed for their residents on a weekly basis. So, if a property has 45 residents, you may anticipate using 90 tests per week which is 1 package. This is reasonable.
Visit hud.gov to see if your property is eligible to receive these kits, to find your iREMS number if you are unsure, and for detailed instructions on how to register and order COVID-19 test kits for free!
- HUD Issues Unique Entity Identifier Notice
The information contained in this summary was originally published by HUD on January 26, 2023 via HUD Notice 2023-01.
The federal government is transitioning from using the Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Number System (DUNS) to the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI).
HUD is unable to allocate funds for an ownership entity or grantee that has not yet registered its UEI with the federal government’s System for Award Management (SAM.gov). This initial change of discontinuing the use of the DUNS and instead using the UEI was implemented back on April 4, 2022.
Owner/agents are encouraged to read the full HUD Notice as it also provides information on resources that are available to assist with the transition, and discusses any TRACS implications.
- TRACS User Certifications and Training Requirements
HUD recently revised the TRACS External User Access/User Recertification/Security Awareness Training Guide, which outlines HUD’s initiative to ensure that 100% of affordable housing stakeholders receive the required annual Information Security Awareness Training and role-specific training, prior to gaining access to the Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System (TRACS) and Multifamily Access exchange (iMAX) applications for new and current user(s) and coordinator(s).
Each year, TRACS Coordinators must certify TRACS Users when those Users still need access to TRACS. In 2023, the deadline for TRACS Coordinators to certify users was Friday, March 13th. A delay in this process could be detrimental to the property’s certification and voucher processing.
There are two types of TRACS and iMAX users: a Coordinator and a User. Coordinators usually perform functions related to administrative activities including activating a new user and assigning the user’s role and access to the applicable property. On the other hand, a user is someone other than the coordinator who has registered for a user ID from HUD and has been authorized to access TRACS voucher and/or certification data for assigned properties.
Security Awareness Training must be completed annually for both Coordinators and Users.
Additionally, a TRACS Rules of Behavior (ROB) must be accepted annually to maintain TRACS access. TRACS and iMAX applications will present users with a ROB for acceptance upon initial access to the systems, and then again annually thereafter.
Signed TRACS Rules of Behavior and Security Awareness Training certifications must be maintained for all Users/Coordinators. These files are subject to review by HUD or the Contract Administrator during oversight and monitoring responsibilities, and must be made available upon request.
If you have questions related to the security training, send an email to the Multifamily Housing Helpdesk at TRACS@hud.gov.
- The Importance of the Property Walkthrough
What security measures have you taken to ensure that maintenance equipment and inventory items are secure? Are your vacant units move-in ready? What actions have you taken to reduce energy consumption?
During a reviewer’s On-site Review, one vital task is the property walkthrough. These questions and many more can simply be observed during a thorough property walkthrough. The walkthrough provides the Reviewer the opportunity to make observations that are a necessary part of their review, and it provides the property Owner/Management Agent the opportunity to showcase the condition of the property.
The property walkthrough is a part of the On-site Review and is done with fidelity in order for the Reviewer to get a clearer picture of how the property is being run. The following are the potential areas that may be reviewed during a walkthrough:
Two vacant units (if available)
- Maintenance area
- Management office
- Hallways, elevators, stairs, etc.
- All building exits/entrances (including fire exits)
- Interior and exterior common areas
- Exterior of building/s
- Garbage area/s
- Parking lot
- Laundry room (if applicable)
- Property grounds
It is important for both the Reviewer and O/A to remember that an MOR cannot be adequately completed without a property walkthrough. Both parties certainly want to ensure that the property is correctly represented in the MOR Report. In addition, the property walkthrough is a great opportunity for the O/A, and maybe even a member of the maintenance staff, to share some information about the property with the Reviewer!
- HOTMA Final Rule
The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) contained fourteen sections that affect the public housing and Section 8 rental assistance programs. This final rule revises HUD regulations to implement Sections 102, 103, and 104 of HOTMA which make sweeping changes to the United States Housing Act of 1937, particularly those affecting income calculation and reviews. Only Sections 102 and 104 are applicable for Multifamily Housing, however. One of the main purposes of the statutory provisions in HOTMA is to streamline administrative processes and reduce burdens on PHAs and owners of housing assisted by Section 8 programs. This final rule is effective January 1, 2024. All provisions for Multifamily Housing programs will become effective on January 1, 2024. Owners must implement the revised regulations for all tenant certifications of income effective January 1, 2024 and after.
Here is a snapshot of the two applicable sections:
- Section 102—changes requirements pertaining to income reviews for public housing and HUD’s Section 8 programs
- Section 104—sets maximum limits on the assets that families residing in public housing and Section 8 housing may have and directs public housing agencies (PHAs) to require that all applicants, for the recipients of assistance through HUD’s public housing or Section 8 programs, provide authorization for PHAs to obtain financial records needed for eligibility determinations.
Along with the changes and revisions that this Final Rule will put into effect, several definitions have either been added or revised. Here is a snapshot of those new and revised words:
Health & Medical Care Expenses
Net Family Assets
Summary of Changes
Here are some key points from the HOTMA Final Rule. These points are not all-inclusive but highlight some of the changes that will be taking place as of January 1, 2024.
- The HUD-9887 consent form will now only need to be signed once during tenancy by each family member over the age of 18 (the form will no longer have a 15-month expiration). After all applicants or tenants over the age of 18 in a family have signed and submitted a consent form once on or after January 1, 2024, family members do not need to sign and submit subsequent consent forms at the next interim or regularly scheduled income examination.
- The elderly/disabled family deduction will increase from $400 to $525—both this deduction and the dependent deduction will be adjusted for inflation on an annual basis moving forward.
- The threshold for unreimbursed health and medical care expenses and/or attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses is changing from 3% to 10% of a household’s total gross annual income.
- There will be new hardship exemptions for unreimbursed health and medical care and reasonable attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses and child care expenses to help counteract the new 10% threshold.
- The Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) will no longer be required to be used to verify tenant employment and income information during an Interim Recertification.
- O/As will need to conduct interim recertifications when a family’s income increases/decreases by 10%.
- Owners will not be considered out of compliance for minor errors in rent calculation (no more than $30 per month in monthly adjusted income—or $360 in annual adjusted income).
- The imputed asset threshold will be raised from $5,000 to $50,000, so O/A will not need to calculate the imputed amount of assets until assets value over $50,000.
- When all net family assets have a combined value of $50,000 or less, the family is to include on its self-certification that the combined value of net family assets do not exceed $50,000, and the amount of actual income the family expects to receive from the family’s assets. This amount is to be included in the family’s income. The O/A may rely on this self-certification to serve as verification for both assets and the amount of actual income the family expects to receive from such assets.
- New restriction on the eligibility of a family to receive assistance if the family has assets in excess of $100,000.
- O/A must use a family’s income from the preceding year, taking into account any adjustment due to an interim recertification; therefore, O/As are no longer projecting long-term income for annual reviews.
While these changes may seem overwhelming at first, it is important to remember that HUD is implementing these updates/changes to ensure that families are provided with the best assistance possible, there is consistency across the board, and O/As are not unduly burdened with administrative tasks.
As part of these changes, HUD will be updating forms HUD-50059, HUD-50059A, HUD-9887, HUD-9834, and HUD Model Leases. All of these updated forms will be published to HUDCLIPS. TRACS specifications are being finalized and will be published to the MFH TRACS webpage when complete. Lastly, the MFH plans to update HUD’s Occupancy Handbook (HUD Handbook 4350.3) to reflect HOTMA.
- New Resources for Advancing Housing Protections for Survivors of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking
On February 1, 2023, HUD announced new resources to aid in housing protections for victims under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These resources include the following:
- A new VAWA website;
- A Notice outlining HUD’s enforcement authority under VAWA; and
- Up to $5 million in funding to provide VAWA training and technical assistance.
The website, which can be accessed here, contains frequently asked questions, links to applicable HUD forms (HUD-5380, 5381, 5382, and 5383), and additional resources. This site is a great resource for O/A’s to get clarification and to access HUD forms, but it is also be a great resource to provide to tenants.
The HUD Housing Notice was issued on January 20, 2023 and explains that HUD is further implementing the requirements laid out in the 2022 reauthorization of VAWA, by providing for the filing and processing of individual VAWA complaints with its Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and informing HUD’s covered housing providers of its authority to investigate potential violations of the applicable requirements in the housing provisions of VAWA. The FHEO will implement and enforce the housing provisions of VAWA consistent with, and in a manner that provides, the same rights and remedies as those provided for in the Fair Housing Act. In addition, HUD will engage in rulemaking and issue regulations, as appropriate, to fully implement the compliance review mandate of VAWA 2022. In the interim, as part of its authority to ensure that VAWA’s rights are fully enforced, consistent with, and in a manner that provides, the same rights and remedies provided by the Fair Housing Act, FHEO may investigate potential VAWA non-compliance, which it will do using the existing processes and approaches. Under these new VAWA requirements and implementations, there are six specific compliance items to consider:
- Compliance with requirements prohibiting the denial of assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights on the basis of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
- Compliance with confidentiality provisions;
- Compliance with the notification requirements;
- Compliance with the provisions for accepting documentation;
- Compliance with emergency transfer requirements; and
- Compliance with the prohibition on retaliation.
Lastly, the funding that HUD has secured will be awarded to Technical Assistance Providers (TA Providers) that will provide VAWA trainings, technical assistance and support to housing providers, grantees, and other stakeholders, to ensure that measures are being taken to educate staff on VAWA compliances.
- Member Spotlight – Kimra Campanella
Explain your position with CGI?
My position with AHSC consists of maintaining, and processing Contract and Rent adjustment renewals according to HUD requirements. In addition, I process the monthly HAP Request through the Voucher process. I also audit and process the special claims packages as submitted. I strive to maintain a good relationship with my client Owner/Agents on a daily basis.
In this role as a Contract Specialist, the CA is usually the first point of contact. It is important to me, to be a great representative of AHSC in all my daily functions and processes.
How long have you been with CGI?
I have been with AHSC for 14 Years as a Central Contract Specialist. To the clients, better known as their Contract Administrator.
What was your background prior to joining CGI?
Before joining Assisted Housing, I worked in Payroll services, and in the Banking Industry. I have worked in some sort of Accounting since my very first job as a teenager.
What are your hobbies? Things you enjoy doing after you leave the office?
After a long and successful day at work, I love to read, walk in the parks, and on occasion crochet or knit. In the summer months, I love baseball games at Progressive Field, and Fishing on the lake. But most of all, spending time with the Grandkids.
What brings you the most satisfaction in your day-to-day tasks?
The thing that provides me the most satisfaction in my working day is that I have helped others. Whether it be a client, or a fellow AHSC member. I am grateful that I can help make a difference in someone else’s day.
What is the best piece of advice that you could provide to an owner/agent?
The best advice I can provide to our clients is to feel free to reach out to your CA, give a call, or send an email. No question is too small. We are always ready to assist in making our processes seamless.
- Contact Center Posting/Information
Assisted Housing Services Corporation (AHSC) has created a Customer Contact Center poster that our Owners and Agents of Section 8 Multifamily Housing can post in their rental office. This poster will provide your residents with useful information, such as our business hours, contact information, and general issues that AHSC can assist with, including but not limited to:
- Answering questions about the calculation of a tenant’s rent
- Assisting with clarifying HUD Occupancy Handbook 4350.3 requirements
- Serving as a neutral third party to residents, property owners and management agents, and the general public
A downloadable version of the AHSC Contact Center Poster can be found on the AHSC Website following the links be-low. Or you can find a copy from the Owner/Agent Knowledge Center on the AHSC Website, under the Management and Occupancy tab.
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