HUD PIH Offers Streamlined Process for PHAs to Request Voucher Exception Payment Standards

HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2023-29 on October 12, providing a streamlined process for public housing agencies (PHAs) to request Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) exception payment standards through December 31, 2024. The higher payment standards are intended to help households with vouchers successfully lease homes in the face of higher rents. Notice PIH 2023-29 offers PHAs three exception payment standard options and allows PHAs to increase a household’s payment standard during a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract term rather than be required to wait until a household’s next regular income reexamination.

The value of an HCV is determined by the “payment standard” chosen by a PHA, which in general is between 90% and 110% of the fair market rent (FMR). Notice PIH 2023-29 offers PHAs three higher payment standard options:

  1. An exception payment standard up to 120% of the Small Area Fair Market Rent (Small Area FMR or SAFMR) for PHAs that are in mandatory SAFMR areas or that have voluntarily chosen to adopt SAFMRs (“Opt-in PHAs) for their entire jurisdiction. (For more information, see “HUD PIH Announces 41 Additional Metro Areas Required to Use Small Area FMRs” in this issue of Memo.)
  2. An exception payment standard of up to 120% of the metropolitan Fair Market Rent (FMR). For this option a PHA may use the exception payment standard throughout the entire FMR area in its jurisdiction, not just designated parts of the FMR area (“exception areas”).
  3. An exception payment standard up to 120% of the SAFMR if a PHA is currently approved for an exception payment standard of 110% of the SAFMR for certain ZIP Codes.

A PHA that uses the FMR to establish payment standards for some portion of its jurisdiction in combination with SAFMR exception payment standards for another portion of its jurisdiction and wishes to establish payment standards up to 120% for both must apply for waiver B and waiver C.

For each of these options, a PHA must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Fewer than 80% of the households issued a voucher during the most recent 12-month period were able to successfully use their voucher to lease a home; or
  • More than 40% of voucher households pay more than 30% of their adjusted income for rent.

PHAs that want PIH approval for the above exception payment standards must submit a simple email to PIH by 11:59 pm ET on June 3, 2024. The exception payment standards only apply to FY24 FMRs, and existing rent reasonableness rules still apply. PHAs that were previously approved for streamlined requests under similar PIH Notices must still apply for the above exception payment standards. The previous PIH Notices were PIH Notice 2022-30 (see Memo, 10/3/22), PIH Notice 2022-09 (see Memo, 4/18/22), PIH Notice 2022-04 (see Memo, 3/7/22), PIH Notice 2021-34 (see Memo, 12/20/21), and PIH Notice 2021-14 (see Memo, 5/10/21).

Read Notice PIH 2023-29 at:

Information about the Housing Choice Voucher program is on page 4-1 of NLIHC’s 2023 Advocates’ Guide.