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Time to Take Advantage of This COVID-19 Era

As you continue to do the best you can at your properties during to the COVID-19 era, I think about those who now appear at the office less, working from home more. Working from home, while safer, restricts our ability to connect with our coworkers on a regular basis. While we all continue to work hard some challenging questions seem even more tumultuous because we can’t have immediate help from our coworkers. At AHTCS our role has always been to ensure that this feeling never persists!

We provide a wide range of instruction and consulting options to ensure that any tenacious problem is tackled through collaboration and experience. By providing affordable housing training and consulting in 15 major areas of Affordable Housing as well as countless additional subjects there is no question that we can’t tackle it together.

4350.3 Rev-1 Chg. 4 UpdateSecure System
APPS 2530 ProcessSoup to Nuts
Cultural SensitivitySpecial Claims
Enterprise Income VerificationTenant File Management
Fair HousingTenant Interviewing
HUD Occupancy TrainingTenant-Inc.-Asset-Exp.
MOR PreparationTRACS 203A
REAC Physical InspectionsUnderstanding MINC
Section 504 

We understand that each property is different and that’s why we offer a variety of different packages to ensure that you’re only paying for what you need. Here at AHTCS we offer Consulting that is only meant to help you, your property, and your tenants. Sign up today so we can begin helping you more!

We hope to hear from you soon!

A Pandemic Within our Affordable Housing Community

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a strain on society. However, just because face-to-face interactions are not possible does not mean that we have stopped providing high-quality instruction. With society ever-changing now more than ever, it is essential to sign up for our classes to understand what changes HUD is making to accommodate for the pandemic.

So what can we do at the property level? Despite not being able to communicate in person, there are various web-based meetings to have meaningful conversations. Not all of your tenants will have the technology available to communicate remotely. It’s vital to provide other options that comply with social-distancing and other precautions such as wearing masks and gloves. Don’t be afraid to reach out over the phone to conduct interviews or schedule times for tenants to drop off their paperwork!

Once you have set up a way to communicate with each of your tenants, this is a great time to get ahead on work! Organize your files, or get caught up on TRACS and Enterprise Income Verification System (EIV). You can always prepare for the next Management Occupancy Review (MOR) and (Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspections, and if you aren’t sure where to begin giving us a call is a great start!

Despite all of these changes, we are covering new ways to deal with these issues in our Tenant Income Asset Expense Class. We have completely revamped our class to include a moratorium on evictions on the CARES Act while discussing alternative and temporary solutions for households with unpaid rent. We also tackle and provided recommendations for assessing a household’s ability to pay rent and alter repayment agreements.

The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new struggles for all of us to handle, but our community remains resilient. No matter what the new normal will look like, the core principles of our community, being kindness and patients, and a willingness to help, will continue to provide a path for success.

So, take a breath, forge ahead, and we will be right here to help you along the way. 

Submitting your Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan

The AFHMP is a required means of understanding the Market demographics and under-served populations and extending marketing efforts beyond the current or usual efforts.  Taking extra effort to directly market to under-served populations living in the housing market area helps ensure that knowledge of housing opportunities and information on how to apply is reaching the under-served households.  This Plan must of course be resubmitted every 5 years and should be done well in advance of your next Management Occupancy Review (MOR).

If you are working on your Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan (AFHMP), be aware that the instructions on the HUD issued form is not up to date.  Part of the migration from American Fact Finder to the new Census.Gov website made it slightly more difficult to navigate for our purposes.  The report names have changed as well.  With some help from our TRACS Discussion Forum members, assistance from the folks at and plenty of spent time of research I have found the reports.

Let us help you with it!  Avoid a finding on your next MOR by purchasing our Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan which covers the mandatory requirements for marketing to those who are least likely to apply to HUD subsidized housing.

Examples of HUD programs which require an AFHMP include:

  • Section 221 (d)(2) Homeownership Assistance and 221(d)(3) Below-Market Interest Rate;
  • Sections235 and 236;
  • Sections 232, 234(c) and 213-Condominium and Cooperative Housing;
  • Section 232 -Nursing Homes and Intermediate Care Facilities;
  • Section 207 -Mobile Home Courts;
  • Sections 207, 220,221(d)(3) and (4) – Multifamily Rental Housing;
  • Rental Assistance Payment (RAP)and Rent Supplement;
  • Section 8 Project-Based Assistance;
    • Section 202 Projects with Section 8 Assistance;
    • Rural Housing Section 515 Projects with Section 8 Assistance;
    • Loan Management Set Aside (LMSA);
    • Property Disposition Set-Aside (PDSA);
  • Section 202 with 162 Assistance – Project Assistance Grants (Section 202 PACs);
  • Section 202 with Project Rental Assistance Contracts (Section 202 PRACs);
  • Section 202 without Assistance (Income Limits Only);
  • Section 203(b) and (1) -One-to-Four-Family Mortgage Insurance for Homeowners;
  • Section 811 with Project Rental Assistance Contracts (Section 811 PRACs).

Contact us now so you can focus on the other important things! Sign up for our classes too!

How To Respond To The MOR Findings

You have now received the results of your HUD Management Occupancy Review (MOR)…some might make you smile….and others…not so much! 

There was the panic of the build-up and preparation to the MOR…you have done the best you could do to gather all of the information you needed…and now the day has come.  The review goes on, the Asset Manager was in the office conducting the review and they just left! Wow, what a relief, that’s over!

Nothing left to do but anxiously wait for the results… and now the results are in!  How did you do?  The battle picks up from that point.  Nobody is perfect so keep that in mind before you pass out! 😉 Few get a “Superior” and if you got one, you are psyched! “Above Average” or “Average” isn’t so bad either!  “Below Average”… no Bueno!

In each HUD rated category there is work to be done and the 30-day timer has begun!  You have 30 days to cure the findings and 60 days to get someone in to do a 100% file review (if noted in the report).  I think the best way to do this is to take care of the easy findings first and then work on the harder ones.  Verbiage missing from some forms or policies is easy, processing 50059 corrections isn’t that hard either.  The harder ones I think are the ones where they request you come up with a procedure, so whatever the finding was, doesn’t re-occur.  The silver lining for me is that if you look at the “Required Corrective Action” is that most of the time they give you the answer.  The “Condition” tells you what is wrong, but the “Corrective Action” usually tells you how to fix it.  I know that the findings may seem overwhelming, but if you just fix one at a time you should be just fine.  Preparation was the key prior to the audit, organization in your responses will the key to close out the Findings quickly.  Those Findings can linger!

If the report reveals that you need a 100% file review, give us a call and we will come to the rescue!

Hire us to come in and inspect your files. We teach an online webinar on this subject as well so whatever you do, don’t wait to the last minute. You will be really surprised how much work is involved in getting prepared for this…shall we say educational experience 😉 ;

To find out more and register for our MOR Preparation Class so we can talk more! To obtain a quote for a File Audit of your properties tenant files follow the link:

I Don’t Know It All, But I Do Know Everything!

People usually know more than they think they do, but those who think they know everything usually don’t.

Training folks in the affordable housing industry is fun and rewarding.  Watching the light go on when my students learn something new, or even confirming that something they had been doing correctly, is a delight.  The folks who are new to affordable housing typically hinge on every word and are anxious to learn.  Training the more advanced can be both rewarding and sometimes, frustrating.

Some individuals can be so fixed in their ways and close-minded to any information they are given, even if it is beneficial and can help them be even better.  It’s even worse when I am told face-to-face that they probably aren’t going to do it my way when I have explained several times that the correct way will allow them to be in compliance.  It’s great that they listened to the previous property manager and followed his or her instructions, but now it’s time to use the new and correct knowledge that has been given to them.

My aim is not to throw their lives into complete chaos, but to make their work lives better–more simple and with more meaningful methods of accomplishing their goals than previously and most importantly, bring them into compliance with the HUD reg’s.

Realizing that I am not getting through, I believe that it is time for the employer to get involved.  When people are resistant to training, often they must be replaced.  When they are bound and determined to do it “their way,” it’s time to part company and star anew with others who area teachable and receptive to making changes from their previous methods.  There are plenty of individuals out there who are hungry for a new job where they can learn and advance.  Those people are more likely to be personable, loyal, teachable and willing to listen with open ears to those with different experience. Dealing with Section 8 residents and the rules and HUD regulations are difficult enough.  There are so many moving parts that if someone comes along and tries to correct your methods or systems, you should at least think about them and perhaps embrace them.  I always preach that the Management Occupancy Review or your REAC inspection should be a learning opportunity.  But if I teach you the lesson it will hopefully prevent HUD from teaching you the lesson 😉

Sign up for our classes in the affordable housing field! HTTPS://

What To Do With Medical Waste in Affordable Housing

What are we supposed to do with our tenant’s medical waste?  Whether you are an Elderly or Disabled property or multifamily site there is no doubt that the medical waste ends up someplace on the property other than the appropriate receptacle.  For a short time, I was thought to have Continue reading What To Do With Medical Waste in Affordable Housing

When Should I Handout The VAWA Forms?

HUD has clarified that owners MUST begin now to give current and newly-admitted households a copy of the new notice of occupancy rights and the certification form. This MUST be done either during the annual recertification or lease renewal process, or, if there will be no recertification or lease renewal for a household during the first year after the rule takes effect, through other means. Continue reading When Should I Handout The VAWA Forms?

If Your MOR Was Tomorrow, Are You Prepared?

Proactive or reactive, some of you out there have chosen the latter. File audits are not inexpensive, but if your files have been neglected, it is going to take a whirlwind to get them back in shape! Management Occupancy Reviews (MOR) have begun and we have been busier than ever! Continue reading If Your MOR Was Tomorrow, Are You Prepared?

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
  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 has gone LIVE!

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