HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs revised the Notice pertaining to owner compliance with the tenant participation requirements at HUD-assisted private multifamily properties. Notice H 2014-12 repeats text from earlier Notices and adds a procedure for tenants to appeal a decision by the local HUD office that an owner did not violate the tenant participation regulations or other program obligations.
Notice H 2014-12 augments previous Notices H 2012-21 and H 2011-29 (see Memo 10/26/12) that states that a tenant or tenant organization may file a written complaint with the local HUD office. The Notices also describe the penalties that may be levied if owners or managers violate the tenant participation requirements found in Part 245 of the regulations. The earlier Notices did not have a tenant appeal process sought by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), which worked to convince HUD to issue the original Notice H 2011-29 on October 13, 2011.
Section F of the older Notices is improved by the addition of a tenant appeals process. The local HUD Hub or Program Center is required to ask tenants and the owner or management agent to voluntarily meet with HUD in an attempt to address tenant complaints. If all parties agree on a solution addressing the complaints, a conciliation agreement will be drafted and HUD will approve it if it protects the public interest. If either party breaks the agreement, HUD can reopen the case and pursue enforcement action.
If conciliation is not reached, the local HUD office will conduct an investigation. If the Hub or Program Center concludes that there was a violation of Part 245, HUD will notify the owner, describe the violations, and direct the owner to correct violations within 30 days.
If the Hub or Program Center concludes that there was no violation of Part 245, a determination of “no reasonable cause” will be issued and the case closed. A tenant or tenant organization can request reconsideration of the case by the HUD headquarters’ Office of Asset Management (OAM). The parties will be asked to submit additional evidence. If OAM concludes that the case should be reopened it goes back to the local Hub or Program Center for further investigation and attempts at conciliation. If the re-investigation leads to a conclusion that a violation has occurred or is about to occur, HUD will pursue enforcement activities as outlined in the latest Notice and its predecessors.
Residents and advocates will find the Notice informative because it continues to present the Part 245 regulations in an easy to read format, elaborating on the rights of tenants to organize and the types of protected organizing activities. It also identifies specific actions by owners and managers that are impediments to the right to organize, as listed in Chapter 4 of HUD Handbook 4381.5 (REV-2).
Part 245 pertains to tenants at properties assisted with Project-Based Section 8, Section 202, Section 811, and a variety of other older programs. Part 245 does not pertain to public housing or Housing Choice Vouchers.
Notice H 2014-12 is at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=14-12hsgn.pdf