HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs (Multifamily), which oversees contracts with private owners of HUD-assisted properties, issued its eighth update to “Questions and Answers for Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders: Coronavirus (COVID-19)” on October 14. The previous update was on July 31 (see Memo, 8/10). The latest version updates nine questions and adds 13 new questions, nine of which address the CDC Eviction Moratorium Order (see “HUD PIH and Multifamily Issue Guidance on CDC Eviction Moratorium” in this issue of Memo). This article highlights five updated questions and one new question most relevant to residents and advocates.
Q2 (page 3) is updated to reflect newer guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for multifamily housing.
Q3 (pages 3-4) is updated, providing guidance about preventing the spread of coronavirus in multifamily housing when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at a property. It links to CDC guidelines for multifamily housing, reminds owners and agents to maintain the confidentiality of the sick resident as required by several laws, and states that residents with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should not be evicted on the ground that they might pose a health and safety threat to other residents.
Q1 (page 21) updates the status for conducting Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) physical inspections. Q1 refers to a Memorandum from August 10 announcing HUD’s intent to resume physical inspections on or about Monday, October 5 (see Memo, 8/17). HUD will give priority to states and localities where inspections are likely to begin, based on the latest COVID-19 public health data. REAC has developed a guide that lists states and localities according to four risk categories: Low Risk: Green, Moderately Low Risk: Yellow, Moderately High Risk: Orange, and High Risk: Red. HUD will give priority to properties not assessed in the last three years and properties identified as high-risk. A list of counties categorized by risk level is posted on the REAC website and updated weekly.
Q2 is updated to reflect the resumption of REAC inspections. Normally if a property receives a Notice of Violation or Notice of Default (NOV/NOD) an owner or agent is required to perform a 100% unit inspection of the property and respond to HUD with the results and a plan to address the deficiencies within 60 days. Even if an owner/agent is having difficulty getting into units due to the pandemic, HUD will not grant an extension or waiver of the 100% unit inspection requirement. HUD will continue to review and approve or deny owner repair plans when all deficiencies cannot be corrected within 60 days. Q2 provides details of what an owner/agent must do. Multifamily advises owner/agents to document any resident’s refusal to allow access and cite the resident’s reasons(s).
Q3 (page 22) is updated to allow Performance-Based Contract Administrators (PBCAs) and HUD staff to conduct on-site Management and Occupancy Reviews (MORs) without entering residents’ homes through December 31.
Policy and Operations: Tenant Income Recertifications
A new Q11 (page 27) clarifies that hazard pay for agreeing to work during the pandemic is generally counted in the resident’s income calculation. Multifamily advises owners and agents to consider whether the pay increase is temporary or recurring when determining whether hazard pay will trigger an income reexamination in accordance with HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1 and the owner’s written recertification policies.
“Questions and Answers for Office of Multifamily Housing Stakeholders: Coronavirus (COVID-19)” is at: https://bit.ly/2HhYitz
More about Project-Based Rental Assistance is on page 4-46 of NLIHC’s 2020 Advocates’ Guide.