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The Onslaught of MOR’s

The onslaught of MOR’s Some of you have been waiting for the “shoe to drop” and for some of you it has already. MOR’s have begun and we at AHTCS, LLC have been busier than ever! One of the benefits of working with my clients is that I was that I was able to  be there at the site during the HUD Asset Manager visit to the property so I could fill in any blanks. Another benefit was the confirmation I was teaching the right things in our class for our clients to be prepared. I’ve had some asset managers who were very easy going and some who were very, very detail oriented. You will never know who you will get…it could be the person who you have worked with for years…and it could be a new person who is just as nervous as you or it could be the asset manager on a mission. If you are prepared, it shouldn’t matter. Here is a list of findings from a recent MOR: Continue reading The Onslaught of MOR’s

Rejecting an Affordable Housing Applicant

If you are an affordable housing provider, it is critical to know the rules regarding when an applicant for housing can be rejected.  The software you use typically has a Waitlist module and some folks rely on the old spreadsheet method even today.  Knowing the rules will greatly reduce complaints filed against the O/A. It’s a MUST in my opinion to have a written guideline, or resident selection plan, so that you can treat every applicant equally. The Civil Rights and Fair Housing laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. (See Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the HUD Handbook 4350.3 for more detail.)

               Here are just some Reasons to Reject an applicant; Continue reading Rejecting an Affordable Housing Applicant

Affordable Housing As a Way of Life!

I recently came back from another file audit…this time it was outside of Cleveland…as I was going through the files I kept coming  across the fact that there were some residents who have been there not just since the 90’s, but the 80’s.  I spoke with the property manager there and she had told me that there were in some cases three generations of the same family living on site.  It was appalling to me the other day as it was the first few audits I had done years ago.  This time I just had to write about it. Continue reading Affordable Housing As a Way of Life!

Exemptions to the Section 8 Minimum Rent

Tenants in properties subsidized through the Section 8 program must pay a minimum rent (TTP) of $25. However, bare in mind that the Minimum rent rule does not apply to Section 202 PAC, Section 202 PRAC, Section 811 PRAC, RAP, Rent Supplement, Section 221(d)(3) BMIR or Section 236 programs.

The minimum rent is used when 30% of adjusted monthly income and 10% of gross monthly income, and the welfare rent where applicable, are all below $25.

The minimum rent includes the tenant’s contribution for rent and utilities. In any property in which the utility allowance is greater than $25, the full TTP is applied toward the utility allowance. The tenant will receive a utility reimbursement in the amount by which the utility allowance exceeds $25.

HUD does allow for the following hardships; Continue reading Exemptions to the Section 8 Minimum Rent

TRACS Discussion Forum Alternative

During the beginning of my webinars I always discuss the importance of the many affordable housing resources we have and as part of that discussion, is the TRACS Discussion Forum. I talk about how great it is as a resource for everyone in our industry. Well I have been very frustrated that the resource we have been able to use for so many years has been down for at least the past 6 months. Continue reading TRACS Discussion Forum Alternative

To File Special Claims or not

I wish there was a Special Claim for “Not enough time in the day” but I guess I will have to wait for that one. Some affordable housing properties submit claims and others may not think it’s worth their staff’s time. Others file them when necessary. Would I file a Regular Vacancy claim for a day or two of vacancy…probably not. Who knows, it could add up! Over the life time of a property every penny adds up!

There are a few suggestions here; Continue reading To File Special Claims or not

Fair Housing, It’s Their Right!

Our country is sadly riddled with racism and discrimination. We can easily open the newspaper, turn on the TV or read about it on our smart phones, discrimination is prevalent throughout our society. Web based technology (social media) also seems to bring it out of people or just brings it to the surface. I see it on Twitter or Facebook; rants from people ripe with racist views and it permeates like a cancer.

I wonder what it will take for folks to grow up and not be just tolerant of one another but accepting of each other. Is it education or lack thereof…how can we turn this around? We offer a Fair Housing training which I guess is a good place to start, but America we need to get our act together! I truly believe that HUD has taken many great strides in combating unfair housing practices by taking these property owners to task.  Here is the latest list of some of the “bad apples”.

This list was provided be FHEO News;

  1. HUD charged a Pennsylvania landlord with housing discrimination for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to families with children.  HUD’s charge alleges that  Michael DeRomo, who owns and manages rental properties and formerly owned a four-unit building in Coopersburg, posted an online classified ad for one of his Coopersburg units that discouraged families with children from applying.  Specifically, the ad read: “Not suitable for children due to the exterior landing and stairs.”  Read HUD’s charge. Read the full press release.
  1. HUD charged Carrol Goodsell and his company, Goodsell General Contracting L.L.C., of Spearfish, South Dakota, with violating the Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing a woman who was renting a single family home managed by him. Specifically, HUD’s charge alleges that Goodsell subjected the woman, who occupied the house with her two children and her boyfriend, to repeated inappropriate sexual comments and physical contact.  Read HUD’s charge. Read the full press release.
  1. HUD charged a group of Colorado landlords with housing discrimination for allegedly relegating families with children to apartments in the rear building of an apartment complex.  HUD charged property owners Roger Loecher and Eileen Loecher, and on-site manager Miriam Yehudah, after fair housing testing discovered illegal “steering” was taking place based upon the tenant’s family status.  Read HUD’s charge. Read the full press release.
  1. HUD charged the owner and managers of an apartment complex in Cross Plains, Wisconsin with violating the Fair Housing Act for failing to take action to stop several tenants from harassing a neighbor, who has cerebral palsy, and her daughter with Down’s syndrome. Read HUD’s charge. Read the full press release.
  1. HUD charged the owner and managers of Bramante’s Apartments, a 120-unit complex in New Brighton, Minnesota, with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a resident with disabilities to have a dedicated accessible parking spot.  HUD’s charge alleges that Terry Persaud, Mary Huebner and Persaud Bramante Apartments LLC denied the woman’s request for a reasonable accommodation, which resulted in the woman falling several times because of the distance she had to walk to her unit.  Read HUD’s charge.  Read the full press release.
  1. HUD charged the owners and landlords of a high-rise complex in New York City with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a resident with disabilities to have an emotional support animal.  HUD’s charge alleges that Friedman Residence, LLC (formerly called the Aurora), Common Ground Management Corporation, and The Actors’ Fund of America refused to accept that the resident required a dog to cope with the symptoms of his disability.  Read HUD’s charge. Read the full press release.
  1. HUD charged Blackacre, L.L.C. and Alishia Ritchkey, the former owner and manager of Pebble Beach Apartments, a 61-unit complex in Universal City, Texas, with violating the Fair Housing Act by imposing overly restrictive rules on children under 16 who lived there.  HUD also charged Implicity Management Company, the current management company, and Pebble Beach Apartments L.L.C, the current owner of the complex, with discriminating based on familial status. Read HUD’s charge.  Read the full press release.
  1. HUD is issuing a proposed rule that would formalize standards for victims of harassment in housing to bring claims under the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule, “Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment and Liability for Discriminatory Housing Practices under the Fair Housing Act,” was published in the Federal Register for public comment.  Read the full press release.

Make sure you and your staff don’t end up on this list…educate them…and not just the property managers, but any staff member who comes in contact with your tenants and your applicants!

Sign up for our next Fair Housing training so you can avoid the embarrassment and the financial hit these owners must now absorb. One can only hope they learn their lesson!

Where should I send the Utility Allowance Check?

The handling of disbursements of utility allowances (UA) in affordable housing varies from property to property. The question remains how do properties determine the best way to apply the utility allowance. Do the checks need to be made out to the utility companies with C/O on the checks, or do the tenants come in every month and need to sign the back of the check? Continue reading Where should I send the Utility Allowance Check?

Valet Parking in Section 8 Housing

Wouldn’t that be nice!  A property manager told me that they have a disabled applicant who is scheduled to move in and is requesting a handicapped parking spot close to her soon to be new HUD subsidized apartment. None of the parking spots near her apartment are designated as “handicapped.” ​Her apartment is situated in the middle of the building, ​so there are several spots that are equally close to her door.

The question becomes; Continue reading Valet Parking in Section 8 Housing

Staffing your Subsidized or Conventional Community

Finding the right person for the right job is a job in it of itself. It’s not always easy to fire someone and it’s not easy finding a replacement. When hiring a person to manage a subsidized or conventional property you are looking for someone with some industry knowledge and all their personality.  Industry knowledge can always be taught.  The smartest affordable housing and conventional housing communities hire on future success and personality when determining the best candidate. Continue reading Staffing your Subsidized or Conventional Community

PropertyManagementClassifieds.com has gone LIVE!

PMC_logo-4Please add info@AHTCSonline.com to your address book so you may continue to receive our flyer.

AHTCSonline is proud to announce the expansion of our services with a way for you to find qualified individuals to fill your staffing needs; PropertyManagementClassifieds.com!

PropertyManagementclassifieds.com specializes in finding qualified property managers and maintenance staff for Section 8, HUD, and Conventional Housing and will provide your business with the opportunity to find the right applicant to best suit your needs.  Continue reading PropertyManagementClassifieds.com has gone LIVE!

Keeping The Peace in Subsidized Housing

Let’s face it, affordable housing property management can be a rewarding yet a tough job 😉 Property managers have so many “fires” to put out on a daily basis! Mondays being the toughest days of the week where you have to get caught up on the work that you weren’t able to complete on Friday and then all of the incident reports from the weekend. Some of the incidents may involve the occasional maintenance issue, perhaps the reports are about a tenant who was upset about the tenant above them making excessive noise, or it could be they feel that management isn’t doing their job (to the tenant’s satisfaction). It’s one of those Mondays which seem to have no end. Continue reading Keeping The Peace in Subsidized Housing

Marketing Our Section 8 Property Using Concessions

It’s not allowed! We recently did a file audit on a HUD Section 8 property and discovered that they were giving concessions to section 8 residents for resident referrals. That might be a great idea for the Conventional applicants but it does not apply to HUD Section 8. I vaguely remembered that it was not allowed for Section 8 residents so while I happened to be having dinner with a friend who had worked for a Contract Administrator (CA) and now works for HUD, I asked him about it. Continue reading Marketing Our Section 8 Property Using Concessions

What to do when a HUD Subsidized Tenant Claims “Zero Income”

My first question is​ “​Did you  go through the Zero Income Questionnaire with your Tenant? ​”​The tenant may think that “income” means employment only income.  As we know​, ​and as defined in Chapter 5 of the HUD Handbook 4350.3 Change 4 & Exhibit 5-1, income includes several sources ​ including​ Federal Wage, Non-Federal Wage, SS and SSI​, just to mention a few.  The other source which​ a tenant may overlook is periodic contributions from a family member.  For example, Continue reading What to do when a HUD Subsidized Tenant Claims “Zero Income”

Change in Family Size After Initial Occupancy

What happens to a family who moves into a Section 8 unit, and becomes overcrowded or underutilized due to a change in family size? For instance, they can expectantly (or unexpectedly) have a baby or two.

In affordable housing, the owner may require the family to move to a unit of appropriate size. If a unit of appropriate size is not available, the owner must not evict the family and must not increase the family’s rent to the market rent.  In the case where a family grows and refuses to move to a larger unit that is on them (unless it violates occupancy standards).  But, what if you want them to downsize their unit when they are over-housed? Continue reading Change in Family Size After Initial Occupancy

Verifying Assets Owned Jointly in Section 8 Housing

What happens when an applicant/resident in affordable housing reports he has ownership in real estate, but also claims technically that he does not effectively own the house, as he simply co-signed the loan to help his sibling? The sibling lives in the house and the deed reflects the names of both the applicant/tenant and the sibling. Should the cash value of this asset should be prorated 50/50? Continue reading Verifying Assets Owned Jointly in Section 8 Housing

TRACS 202 D and Extenuating Circumstances

What happens when an affordable housing tenant is unable to sign the HUD 50059? Let’s just say a tenant has been in the hospital, in/out of intensive care since the middle of Sept. His AR is due 12/1/2014. As per his brother, it is unlikely the tenant will be able to sign or understand what he is signing anytime in the near future. What is the best way to handle this? Continue reading TRACS 202 D and Extenuating Circumstances

Making Your Section 8 Property Alcohol Free

As an affordable housing property owner, we’ve elected to have a smoke-free building…although we had some residents make a small fuss; most have followed the new rules. Now a small number of folks in our community want to have a party in their community room and a few have asked if they can bring in some alcohol to make drinks. Continue reading Making Your Section 8 Property Alcohol Free

Use of Marijuana in Multifamily Assisted Properties

“Smoke ’em if you got ’em”…well not so fast!  HUD has issued a Memorandum that can be read here (Cheech & Chong need not apply ;):

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.c. Section 801 et. seq., categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance and therefore the manufacture, distribution, or possession of marijuana is a federal criminal offense. Because the CSA prohibits all forms of marijuana use, the use of “medical marijuana” is illegal under federal law even if it is permitted under state law. Continue reading Use of Marijuana in Multifamily Assisted Properties

Section 8 Medical Expenses for Assistance Animals

At AHTCSOnline, we wanted to start off the New Year by talking about the medical expenses of assistance animals. The HUD regulations can be a bit hazy at times particularly regarding the cost of medical expenses for assistance animals.

When we search the HUD handbook 4350.3 for written guidance, policy or notices for what expenses can be deducted for assistance animals…we find food and vet care being addressed in 4350.3, but what about treats, toys, groomer, clothes, carpet cleaner, pet beds…when the handbook uses the term ‘animal and it’s upkeep’ some may view it as vague… Continue reading Section 8 Medical Expenses for Assistance Animals

HUD Medical Expenses 2015 Standard Mileage Rates

The IRS has issued the 2015 standard mileage rates used to calculate the medical deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be .23 cents per mile driven for medical purposes, down half a cent from 2014 and is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil.

A tenant may claim the mileage two and from their medical providers office as a medial expense if they qualify as a person who is at least 62 years of age or is a disabled family member.  A list of more inclusive medical deductions can be found in Exhibit 5-3 of the HUD Handbook, 4350.3, Rev1, Change 4.

Besides the standard mileage rates, Notice 2014-79, posted today on IRS.gov, also includes the basis reduction amounts for those choosing the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost that may be used in computing an allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Applying the Section 8 Student Rule

Question:  If a household with a mother and four minor kids resides in a Section 8 unit and the kids want to go to college after graduating from high school, the handbook says that both parents must qualify for Section 8 “individually or jointly”.

So if the non-custodial parent who has been paying child support is not individually income eligible, the children do not qualify. However, if the non-custodial parent’s income was based on a household of six, the entire household would qualify. Is that what they mean by individually or jointly?

And the simple answer is; If the student is living with parent(s) they are not subject to the student rule. They would be eligible as long as they are living with the parent(s). They would be listed as a dependent as long as they are full time students.

See 3-13 Determining Eligibility of Students for Assistance in the 4350.3, R1. Change 4, HUD Handbook for more information!

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Information for 2015

HUD Just announced:  Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015.

The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014.

Housing Notice 2014-16 on Waiting List Administration Published

This notice provides guidance on the administration of waiting lists for Multifamily Housing properties, on the topics of opening the waiting list, placing applicants on the waiting list, and outreach.  You can find the complete notice here:  http://www.ahtcsonline.com/Industry Links/HUD Notices/hud_notice_H2014_16.pdf

Opening the waiting list; As stated in HUD Handbook 4350.3 REV-1, paragraph 4-16.B.2, when an owner agrees to open his/her waiting list and begins to accept applications, the notice of this action must be announced in a publication likely to be read by potential applicants in the same manner (and if possible, in the same publications) as the notification that the waiting list was closed. The notifications  should be extensive, and the rules for applying and the order in which applications will be processed should be stated. Advertisements should include where and when to apply.
Advertising and outreach activities must be done in accordance with applicable fair housing marketing requirements or the HUD-approved Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan (AFHMP).

Continue reading Housing Notice 2014-16 on Waiting List Administration Published

HUD Passbook Rate Change-follow up

Hopefully everyone is aware of the HUD passbook rate change. Effective February 1, 2015, the passbook savings rate to be used for all move-in, initial, annual, and interim recertifications when a family has net assets over $5,000 is .06% (that’s .0006 and no rounding).

This new rate will affect the following subsidy types: Continue reading HUD Passbook Rate Change-follow up