The CA Quarterly Review (Winter 2022)
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 Winter Edition of The CA Quarterly Review!
Wow, another year in the books! Time sure does fly.
I had the pleasure of attending the Ohio Housing Conference in November. The keynote speaker one of the days was Laura Vanderkam, Time Management expert and author. I was hoping she would have a magic formula for making time stand still, if only for a few minutes, but she did not. My main takeaway was that time is elastic, we can always make time to do the things that are priorities for us in the moment. A few of her many exceptional time management ideas include:
• Create a time log by the half hour to see how you spend your time. Maybe you can identify areas that can be rearranged to get more done.
• Allocate time on Friday afternoon to plan your next week.
• Invest in people by helping others grow professionally, it may benefit you or your team at some point in the future.
• Get out and network with people. There are a lot of people doing great work in affordable housing. Share best practices.
These are all very useful tips and I hope you will find them helpful in the new year.
I am extremely thankful to the many Owners and Agents who make providing affordable housing a priority in their lives. A lot of time and effort is exhausted, and it may seem unappreciated, but your efforts do not go unnoticed. HUD rules and regulations can be daunting, but know that we at AHSC, with our partners at CGI, are always here to help.
Have a wonderful New Year!
General Manager of Contract Administration, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
HUD Notice for PIH Carbon Monoxide Requirements
Have you made any New Year resolutions? As we begin 2023 and make our New Year resolutions, we want to look back and make sure that we have crossed off all our resolutions from 2022. One resolution that should be crossed off is installing carbon monoxide alarms or detectors in all federally assisted housing units.
On January 31, 2022, HUD’s Offices of Public and Indian Housing, Multifamily Housing Programs, and Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes posted a joint Housing Notice H-2022-01 requiring carbon monoxide alarms or detectors in their HUD-assisted housing programs starting December 27, 2022.
HUD is now enforcing compliance with the International Fire Code (IFC) 2018 standards on the installation of Carbon Monoxide alarms or detectors in all Public Housing (PH), Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), Project Based Voucher (PBV), Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202), and Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811) as of December 27, 2022.
The installation of these CO alarms or detectors is part of HUD’s continued efforts to provide decent, safe, and habitable housing for low-income tenants. HUD encourages PHAs and Owners to adopt standards at or above the standards outlined in the notice to ensure the health and safety of residents. You can access the notice here and a Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet here.
Property owners, managers, and residents all play an important role in preventing CO associated potential loss of life or severe injury. Therefore, resident education is strongly encouraged, particularly during this winter season. So, as you reflect on this past year and make goals for 2023, hopefully you can rest assured that a huge part of protecting against CO poisoning—installing CO alarms or detectors—has been crossed off your list!
- Reminder of Annual Unit Inspection Requirement
As a new year begins, it is important to remember that annual unit inspections, a practice that benefits both the O/A and the residents, are a required practice at Section 8 Multifamily Housing projects.
To ensure that Section 8 Multifamily Housing units meet the housing quality standards, PHAs are required by HUD to conduct annual unit inspections. Unit inspections should be performed at least on an annual basis to determine whether the appliances and equipment in the unit are functioning properly and to assess whether a component needs to be repaired or replaced. This is also an opportunity to determine any damage to the unit caused by the tenant’s abuse or negligence and, if so, make the necessary repairs and bill the tenant for the cost of the repairs.
When conducting the required annual unit inspections, O/As should also consider the HUD Housing Quality Standards (HQS) that are used when HUD inspects properties—also known as HUD REAC Inspections. There are key aspects of housing quality that HUD looks at including:
• Site and neighborhood
• Space and security
• Structure and materials
• Thermal environment
• Sanitary facilities
• Water supply
• Sanitary condition
• Food preparation and refuse
• Interior air quality
• Illumination and electricity
• Lead-based paint
• Smoke detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
So, when O/As are preparing for and conducting their required annual unit inspections, it would be best practice to keep these HUD quality standards in mind. If an O/A is careful about maintenance and upkeep on a regular basis, then they will be better prepared for their Section 8 Inspections. Additional information on annual unit inspections can be found in the HUD Handbook 4350.3 REV-1, Change 4, Chapter 6, Paragraph 6-29 A.3.
HUD’s Assistance Animals and Fair Housing - Navigating Reasonable Accommodations Suite of Products Now Available
The information in this article initially appears in a HUD Exchange e-mail distribution.
The Assistance Animals and Fair Housing - Navigating Reasonable Accommodations suite of technical assistance (TA) products includes a webinar, fact sheet, and interactive tool on housing requests for assistance animals. This suite of TA products is designed to educate housing providers, including HUD grantees, such as representatives of entitlement communities, participating jurisdictions (PJs), and public housing agencies (PHAs), and HUD Housing Counseling Agencies, and others involved in housing transactions, as well as persons with disabilities who seek reasonable accommodations related to assistance animals.
These TA products provide best practices to use when addressing requests by a housing applicant or tenant for reasonable accommodations for assistance animals in housing and are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity (FHEO). Users will have a better understanding of housing providers responsibilities when they receive reasonable accommodation requests related to assistance animals. The webinar will also provide persons with disabilities with information about their fair housing rights related to requests for assistance animals
• Introduction and overview of assistance animals under federal law
• Description of fair housing laws related to assistance animals, including the definition of disability and nondiscrimination requirements
• Processes for requesting a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal
• Processes for responding to reasonable accommodation requests
• A video presentation including animated skits with examples of violations of the law when a reasonable accommodation request for an assistance animal is made and how to avoid and address such violations
• Key takeaways & concluding remarks
Who Should View the Webinar and Leverage Other Products?
• Housing providers, including HUD grantees such as representatives of entitlement communities, PJs, and PHAs, and HUD Housing Counseling Agencies
• Individuals with disabilities, their families, and caregivers
- HUD has partnered with HHS to provide free at-home COVID-19 test kits to Section 202 Elderly Properties
The information in this article was initially published by Multifamily Housing News Asset Management.
HUD has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide free QuikVue at-home COVID-19 test kits to Section 202 Elderly properties, allowing individuals and families to test themselves from the privacy and safety of their home.
Owners of Section 202 elderly properties may register with the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the Health Partner Ordering Portal (HPOP) and request weekly shipments of COVID-19 test kits to be delivered to their property for distribution. This registration site is now open for all Section 202 Elderly properties. Click here to register.
• Testing supplies will be requested using an online ordering system known as the “Health Partner Ordering Portal” (HPOP).
• Distribution sites (Section 202 Elderly properties) must register to begin ordering test kits. Note: The project address must be used in the registration process as test kits will only be delivered to the project.
• Only organizations identified as HUD Multifamily Housing Properties that are Section 202 Elderly Projects will be able to access the site and order test kits. The Section 202 elderly project’s iREMS number is required to be entered in the “State ID” field when registering the project. This will clearly identify the property and will expedite the registration approval process.
• However, test kits shipped to these locations can and should be shared with organizations who partner with them to provide services and supports to individuals with disabilities, older adults and their caregivers and household members.
• After completing HPOP registration and this registration being approved by HUD, Section 202 elderly properties will have the ability to order an amount of test kits that they determine that they will be able to store and distribute without waste.
• Orders will be input on a weekly basis. Distribution sites should only order an amount of test kits that they estimate that they will be able to distribute in a 1-week period.
Instructions on how to register and order test kits can be found here and the registration process may begin immediately. HUD plans to provide a training session in early January for owners who need additional information to complete the registration process.
Questions related to the HPOP registration process can be sent to:
Systems Access Issues, Tier 1 Helpdesk, COVID-19 Administration Reporting System (CARS) Help Desk.
8:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET, Monday-Friday
- HUD Publishes the FY2023 OCAF and UAF Factors
The Operating Cost Adjustment Factors (OCAFs) for fiscal year (FY) 2023 were published on November 15, 2022, in the Federal Register.
These factors are used for adjusting cost-adjustment-factors-for-2023 or establishing Section 8 rents under the Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997 (MAHRA), as amended, for projects assisted with Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments. The OCAF factors are effective February 11, 2023.
The 2023 OCAF for DC is: 5.8
The 2023 OCAF for OH is: 6.2
HUD also published the corresponding FY 2023 UAF factors, which will also be effective February 11, 2023, and can be found here.
FY 2023 Utility Allowance Factors Oil Natural Gas Electric Water/Sewer/Trash DC 1.498 0.992 1.030 1.052 OH 1.527 1.727 0.933 1.052
- The Social Security Administration Announces the 2023 Cost-of-Living-Adjustment
The Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) is an annual increase in social security (SS) and supplemental security income (SSI) to account for the inflation faced by beneficiaries in 2022. This adjustment will begin with the benefits that are payable to SSI beneficiaries in December 2022 and SS beneficiaries in January 2023.
Where Can I Find the Announcement?
The Social Security Administration issued a SSA Press release announcing the Social Security 8.7% benefit increase for 2023.
How Does the COLA Effect How I Process Recertifications?
SSA updates to data in the EIV system are only made periodically. Social security benefits that include the COLA are not available from SSA for uploading into EIV until the end of the calendar year.
Therefore, when processing recertifications that include social security benefits with an effective date of January 1, February 1, March 1 and April 1, owners must define the way the COLA will be factored into the calculation of the SSA benefit, and the method of verification that will used to support the calculation. To complete the recertification steps outlined in Chapter 7 of the HUD Handbook and provide the tenant with the required 30-day notice of any increase in rent, owners must use one of the methods below for determining the tenant’s income:
- Use the benefit information reported in EIV that does not include the COLA as third-party verification as long as the tenant confirms that the income data in EIV is what he/she is receiving;
- Use the SSA benefit, award letter or Proof of Income Letter provided by the tenant that includes the COLA adjustment if the date of the letter is within 120 days from the date of receipt by the owner;
- Determine the tenant’s income by applying the COLA increase percentage to the current verified benefit amount and document the tenant file with how the tenant’s income was determined; or
- Request third party verification directly from SSA* when the income in EIV does not agree with the income the tenant reports he/she is receiving.
All recertifications effective after April 1 must reflect the SSA benefit that includes the COLA.
*Requesting Third Party Verification Directly from the SSA
When requesting verification from the SSA, owners must not send the tenant to the SSA office. Instead, the owner must ask the tenant to request benefit information from SSA using SSA’s website or toll-free number.
The owner may assist the tenant in requesting benefit information from SSA, if the tenant requests their assistance in accessing the SSA website or has questions on completing the request.
To obtain benefit information using the SSA’s website:
• Go to the SSA’s website
• Log in to mySocial Security to obtain a benefit verification letter.
• A tenant who has not set up an account can easily create one.
To obtain benefit information using the SSA’s toll free number:
• Call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213
• Benefit verification letters may be requested 24 hours a day using the automated telephone service.
• TTY 1-800-325-0778 is available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
• This information is free and the tenant should receive the letter in the mail within 10 days.
The tenant will provide the benefit verification letter to the owner for use in calculating their income. A copy of the letter will be retained in the tenant’s file and the original returned to the tenant for their records.
Changes to Medicare Premiums
For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2023 are announced. Final 2023 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and mySocial Security’s Message Center. Information about Medicare changes for 2023, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov. Owners must also consider changes to Medicare premiums paid by elderly/disabled families when calculating medical expense deductions.
The information contained in this article is found in the HUD Handbook 4350.3 REV-1, Change 4, Chapter 9, Paragraphs 9-6 B.1.e. and 9-15.
- Updating Contact Information in iREMS
Owner/Agents are required to update their contact information in iREMS. The HUD Account Executive will no longer assist with this activity.
To update your address, phone number, or fax number, please refer to the following links:
- Business Partner Registration website:
- Active Partners Performance System (APPS) website
Directions are provided in the HUD Active Partners Performance System (APPS) Industry User Guide: https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/IUGGUIDE.PDF
- Waiting Lists and Tenant Selection Plans and Preferences! Oh My!
As the New Year begins and new applicants search for their new homes, let us review some guidance and reminders for the management of waiting lists, Tenant Selection Plans (TSP), and preferences.
Tenant Selection Plan (TSP)
A TSP is defined as a formal written policy statement, developed by the owner and available to the public, that clearly states the procedures and criteria the owner will consistently apply in drawing applicants from the waiting list, screening for suitability for tenancy, implementing income targeting requirements, and offering housing assistance and/or assisted housing units. The TSP also includes policies applied to residents of the property such as how unit transfers are carried out. In short, a TSP describes how applicants will be chosen for tenancy and what criteria they must meet to qualify for participation in the program. The TSP includes procedures for selecting names from the waiting list, applicant screening, income targeting requirements, the offering of and denial of housing assistance, unit transfers, and other housing policies.
The TSP should be used by both the management agent and potential applicants. Specifically, the TSP assists the management agent to ensure that tenants are selected for occupancy in accordance with Statutory, Regulatory, and Contractual obligations and established management policies. And, potential applicants may review the project’s eligibility criteria, be made aware of any preferences in which they may qualify for, and understand the owner’s policies regarding taking Applications and Selecting from the Waiting List. In turn, streamlining the application process thus reducing administrative burdens.
When requested, owners must make the TSP available to the public. Policies contained within the TSP must be applied to all applicants consistently. HUD requires the TSP to include the following topics:
1. Project Eligibility Requirements
2. Project Income Limits
3. Procedures for Taking Applications and Selecting from the Waiting List
4. Occupancy Standards
5. Unit Transfer Policies
6. Policies to Comply with Fair Housing Laws, Section 504, and Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964
7. Policy for Opening and Closing the Waiting List
8. Student Eligibility Requirements
9. Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, Protections
While HUD does not approve TSPs (except when owners wish to adopt local or residency preferences), a property’s TSP will be reviewed yearly to confirm plan is complying with applicable requirements. It is strongly suggested that an Owner/Agent review their TSP at least annually to ensure that they reflect current operating practices, program priorities, and HUD requirements. O/As should also include, within their TSP, an outline of how often they will review their plans and how they will inform tenant’s if their plan is updated.
A waitlist is defined as a formal record of applicants for housing assistance and/or assisted housing units that identifies the applicant's name, date and time of application, selection preferences claimed, income category, and the need for an accessible unit. Waitlists should contain the following information:
- Date and time the applicant submitted an application;
- Name of HOH;
- Annual income level (extremely low-income, very low-income);
- Identification of the need for an accessible unit, including the need for accessible features;
- Preference status; and
- Required unit size.
Owners should annually or semi-annually update their waiting lists and create a procedure for keeping in contact with applicants that are on the waiting list. Waitlists can be kept manually or electronically and should be safeguarded to keep all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) private. Whenever a change is made in the waiting list, an action is taken, or an activity specific to an applicant occurs, a notation must be made on the waiting list. The goal of the annotation is to provide an auditable record of applicant additions, selections, withdrawals, and rejections. Independent reviewers looking at the waiting list should be able to:
1. Find an applicant on the waiting list;
2. Readily confirm that an applicant was housed at the appropriate time based on unit size needs, preferences, and income-targeting; and
3. Trace various actions taken with respect to a family’s application for tenancy.
Assigning preferences to applicants who meet certain criteria is a method intended to provide housing opportunities to applicants based upon household circumstances. Applicants with preferences are selected from the waiting list and receive an opportunity for an available unit earlier than those who do not have a preference. Preferences affect only the order of applicants on the waiting list and do not make anyone eligible who was not otherwise eligible.
Congress and HUD have established various types of preferences in an effort to provide housing to those most in need. There are four different kinds of preferences currently that apply to various programs:
Statutory Preferences: (specific to Section 221 (d)(4), 221 (d)(3), and 221 (d)(3) BMIR properties) give preference to applicants who have been displaced by government action or a presidentially declared disaster.
HUD Regulatory Preferences: (specific to Section 236 properties) give preference to applicants who have been displaced by government action or a presidentially declared disaster.
State and Local Preferences: must be consistent with HUD and applicable civil rights requirements and Owner must submit a written request to the HUD Field Office, describing the state or local laws requiring such preferences, requesting HUD concurrence on the preferences.
Owner-Adopted Preferences: (Section 8) Owners are permitted to establish other preferences for assisted properties as long as they are subordinate to any program-specific preferences and comply with applicable fair housing and civil rights statutes.
Some owner-adopted preferences include a residency preference, a working family preference, a disability preference, a victims of domestic violence dating violence, or stalking preference, and a preference for a specific group of single persons. Owners may decide to assign various importance to owner-adopted preferences. If the owner chooses to do so, a ranking, rating, or combination of preference circumstances must be identified in the Tenant Selection Plan and consistently used.
One of the most important aspects of waitlists, TSPs, and preferences is to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly. Always remember there’s no place like home, and every eligible tenant deserves a chance to find one!
- Winter Quick Tips
As we enter another New Year, the days remain both cooler and shorter. Here are a few quick tips for the New Year and cooler weather.
- Provide instructions regarding the proper disposal of Holiday decorations (including Christmas Trees/Wreaths) to your tenant population.
- Remind tenants of any House Rules with respect to ornaments or decorations around their door or hallways, and to check lighting for frayed wiring (which may create a fire hazard).
- Remind residents to check/test the batteries on their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Decide if your property allows space heaters and if tenants need management approval for them.
- If space heaters are allowed, communicate to your tenants the acceptable space heaters to use;
- Along with this, provide some fire prevention tips when using space heaters. For example, place space heaters in an open location on sturdy ground, away from walls and furniture. Ensure that space heaters are never left on when you leave your apartment or kept on overnight.
- Make sure your residents are aware of who to call for ‘no heat’ emergencies. Be sure that number is posted and easy to find after hours.
- Post your properties snow removal procedures/parking policies.
- Check the working condition of your winter equipment (snow blowers, shovels, etc)
- Order supplies that will be used during the winter months (sidewalk salt, etc.)
- AHSC Contact Center Poster
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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