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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: 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).

The notification requirements must also comply with HUD fair housing requirements, such as adopting suitable means to assure that the notice reaches eligible individuals with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency.1 Multifamily owners must ensure that notices of and communications during all meetings are provided in a manner that is effective for persons with hearing, vision, and other communications-related disabilities consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (24 CFR 8.6), and, as applicable, the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes ensuring that meeting sites are accessible and auxiliary aids and services are provided as needed, e.g., materials in Braille, audio, and large type; sign language interpreters, computer-assisted real time transcription (CART) services, and assistive listening devices, etc. Consistent with our PIH counterparts, and the guidance in PIH Notice 2012-34, Multifamily Housing cautions against opening the waiting list and accepting applications for limited periods, such as a single day, which may create disorderly and unsafe application intake processes. Opening waiting lists for longer periods and making applications available ahead of time will create safer and more effective application intake processes. Additionally, having multiple venues, both physical and online, to accept the application will help promote safety and accessibility for the application process.

Placing Applicants on the Waiting List; In scenarios where Multifamily Housing owners elect to open a previously closed waiting list for a set period of time, owners may consider the use of a lottery or other random choice techniques to select which applicants will be placed and to determine the order these applicants will be placed on a waiting list.
Owners should consider whether this is a reasonable approach in their jurisdictions. For example, this approach would be reasonable for properties located in areas where the volume of applications is high enough that placing each eligible applicant on the waiting list would result in an unrealistic waiting period for housing. It may also be appropriate in scenarios where individuals unable to apply in person at the onset of the opening would be at a distinct disadvantage in their placement on the waiting list. If a Multifamily Housing owner uses this approach, the owner must describe it in the tenant selection plan and any public notice of a waiting list opening must clearly state that this system will be used to place applicants on the waiting list. Further, applicants should be notified that, so long as the application is submitted within the stated time frame, the timing of the application submission will have no effect on how soon they may be offered assistance. If the lottery or other random selection procedure is not used, reasonable accommodations must be made for individuals who are unable because of disabilities to
submit early in the application process.

If a lottery or other random choice technique is used to place applicants on the waiting list and to determine the order in which to place applicants on the waiting list, the date and time the lottery is held should be the date recorded on the waiting list. Any
preferences the applicant qualifies for must also be noted on the waiting list. Selecting tenants from the waiting list must be done in accordance with Chapter 4 of HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1 including paragraph 4-15.A which requires that, once unit size
and preference order is determined, owners must select applications from the waiting list in chronological order to fill vacancies.

Outreach; Owners must advertise according to the property’s Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan and target this advertising to groups other than the typical population of the neighborhood in which the property is located while reaching out to applicants who are least likely to apply because they are not the predominant racial or ethnic group in the neighborhood. All advertising must include the HUD-approved Equal Housing Opportunity logo, slogan, or statement. Further, all advertising depicting persons must depict members of all eligible protected classes including individuals from both majority and minority groups, including both sexes.

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