HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2023-06, reminding public housing agencies (PHAs) of the remedies they have when an owner of a property that houses a resident assisted with a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) or Project-Based Voucher (PBV) fails to comply with HCV policies and procedures. The Notice emphasizes requirements that relate to failure to comply with Housing Quality Standards (HQS) designed to ensure that assisted housing units exhibit decent, safe, and sanitary conditions.
The Background section of Notice PIH 2023-06 states that “[t]he HCV program seeks to address the demand for assisted renters to have equitable access to quality housing options best suited to their needs. To do this HUD is furthering efforts to ensure housing tied to HUD rental assistance consistently meets decent, safe, and sanitary standards… The requirement that program funds be used in units that are decent, safe, sanitary, and in good repair is a cornerstone of HUD’s mission.”
According to Section 4 of the Notice, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract is the primary document governing the relationship between a PHA and the owner of an HCV or PBV unit. The HAP contract and HCV regulations list a number of owner contract violations, the most common being failure to maintain a housing unit to HQS condition standards. If an owner fails to maintain a unit so that it meets HQS, a “PHA must take prompt and vigorous action to enforce the owner obligations” (emphasis present in the Notice). In addition, a PHA may inspect a unit at any time to ensure that it meets HQS and must notify an owner of any HQS deficiencies.
A PHA must not make any housing assistance payments to an owner if a unit does not meet HQS, unless the owner corrects deficiencies within the required timeframe and the PHA verifies that the corrections have been properly made. If an HQS defect is life-threatening, the owner must correct the defect within 24 hours. For other defects, an owner must correct defects within 30 calendar days. If an owner continues to fail to address HQS defects, a PHA may recover any overpayment; suspend, abate, reduce, or terminate housing assistance payments; or terminate the HAP contract. A PHA may also obtain additional relief by judicial order or action.
Section 7 of the Notice addresses the options available to PIH if a PHA fails to comply with HCV or PBV requirements. For example, PIH has the authority to reduce or offset a PHA’s HCV administrative fee if the PHA fails to enforce HQS requirements. PIH may also prohibit a PHA from using funds in the administrative fee reserve, and PIH may direct a PHA to use funds in the reserve to improve its administrative capacity so that it more effectively enforces owner compliance with HQS.
Section 5 discusses situations requiring a PHA to refuse to approve an owner’s participation in the HCV/PBV program – for example, if the federal government has instituted an administrative or judicial action against an owner for a violation of the “Fair Housing Act”; Title VI of the “Civil Rights Act”; Section 504 of the “Rehabilitation Act”; the “Violence Against Women Act”; the “Americans with Disabilities Act”; or other federal equal opportunity requirements. Section 6 describes situations in which a PHA has the discretion to exclude owners from the HCV/PBV program – for example, when an owner has or has had a practice of failing to comply with HQS.
Read Notice PIH 2023-06 at: https://bit.ly/406SSns