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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, 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: 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

FY2015 Fair Market Rents (FMRS) Have Been Posted

The FY2015 Fair Market Rents (FMRs) became effective October 1, 2014 and were posted on HUDUSER the same day. These FMRs were announced in the October 3, 2014 Federal Register.

Click here to review the FY2015 Fair Market Rents listing.

Click here to review the HUDUSER page.

Click here to review Federal Register (Vol 79, No 192).

Multifamily Hub Directors Issued: NOTICE: H 2014-15: October 31, 2014

Passbook Savings Rate Effective February 1, 2015
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%. This .06% rate must be used until Multifamily Housing publishes and makes effective a new passbook savings rate.

See the full notice here:  HUD Housing Notice H 2014-15


Firearms Safety in Affordable Housing

As a manager or owner of a Section 8 property, your tenants are subject to the same rights and freedoms of other non-residents. Your job as an O/A is to protect the well-being of your tenants and having rules regarding gun safety and storage is part of that responsibility.

Part of the O/A’s responsibility to make sure that housing that is provided be safe, sanitary and decent.  Our feeling is that it is  Continue reading Firearms Safety in Affordable Housing

TRACS 202D Rumors

There have been some rumors that the 1-31-15 drop dead date for 202D might be postponed a little longer. I have just returned from the TRACS Industry Meeting with HUD in Washington, DC and there has been no change to the implementation date.

The current deadline to switch from TRACS version 202C to TRACS version 202D is still January 31, 2015. 202C certification/vouchers submitted after January 31, 2015 will not be accepted by TRACS.

How to Correct a Move-Out in TRACS 202D

What happens when we processed a Move-Out (50059-A) for a tenant for the wrong date? How can we fix this? Once a Move-Out (MAT40) transaction for a household has been processed, the ‘Move-Out Code’ can be corrected by submitting a subsequent Move-Out (MAT40) transaction for the same effective date Continue reading How to Correct a Move-Out in TRACS 202D

Utilizing the TRACS Discussion Forum

Some of you may use the TRACS Discussion Forum as a great resource and others may not. I view this forum at least once if not twice a day. I think it’s a great place to get answers to industry questions. For those who have not used it, you should know that it is not just for TRACS issues. I find it to be a wealth of information on many of the subjects that are tied to our industry. As you can see below (besides the occasional typos) there are many topics covered. Some are TRACS related, some are related to EIV, Continue reading Utilizing the TRACS Discussion Forum

MOR’s are imminent, are you ready?

Contract Administrators (CA’s) are about to ramp up on the Management Occupancy Reviews (MOR’s), are you ready?

The MOR’s will be starting up again real soon for all states and you know they’re going to be killer after not being completed for several years – This is why it’s necessary to get a head start on your files before your files get ahead of you. Continue reading MOR’s are imminent, are you ready?

TRACS 202.D Release Implementation Schedule

The Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System (TRACS) is preparing for TRACS 202.d Release to accommodate new and modified tenant certification processes that allow TRACS to verify tenant certification transactions and voucher payments consistent with Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) and HUD 4350.3 Rev-1 Change 4.

HUD and the Industry TRACS Working Group have been working to finalize specification documents for TRACS Release 202.d. The final TRACS 202.d specification documents have been posted to:

The TRACS 202.d Release Implementation Schedule is as follows:

30 Day Software Vendor Notice: July 1, 2014
Conversion Start Date: August 1, 2014
Conversion End Date: January 31, 2015
TRACS 202.c Transactions Rejected: February 1, 2015

“Adult Child” Definition for a HUD Section 202/8 Property

What exactly is the HUD definition for “Adult Child”? At a affordable housing, HUD Section 202/8 property for the elderly, an adult child is not allowed to move in “after” initial occupancy unless the adult child is necessary for the care and well-being of the elderly tenant. So, what if the adult child is 62 or older, and would qualify age-wise…and in all other areas…to have a unit of his/her own. Why wouldn’t we allow an adult child 62 or older to simply be added to the parent(s) household as a household member? After all, if the elderly tenant wanted to add an otherwise eligible non-family member, we would allow the move-in by processing an Interim Recertification, because of the change in household composition. Continue reading “Adult Child” Definition for a HUD Section 202/8 Property

Adding a child to a Section 8/202 Household

What if a tenant that wants to add her granddaughter (about 10 years old) to her household, is this allowed in a Section 8/202 Property? At a Section 8/202 Property the handbook states an adult child can be added to household if they are essential for the care or well-being of the elderly tenant, they are considered a part of the family and their income (up to $480.00) must be counted. I don’t see where it talks about people that are not adult children.

Continue reading Adding a child to a Section 8/202 Household

No Response to Requests for Income Verification

My Section 8/PRAC 811 tenant has a state legal guardian, who will not respond to requests for income verification notices or award letters. The tenant has a $40,000 amount in a Special Needs Trust fund that can be accessed as needed. I have not been able to find out where this money came from and I can’t get the guardian to answer emails or phone calls. The tenant’s recert is due March 1, 2014, and I am at a loss of how to handle this. Continue reading No Response to Requests for Income Verification

Foster Adults and Foster Children in Section 8

The discussion of Foster Adults and Foster Children has come up a lot in recent affordable housing conversations.  The confusion stems from the changes in policy as we transition from TRACS 202C to the TRACS 202D release.  I have found that in some of my classes when I have asked my attendees if any income from a foster child or foster adult is counted, more often or than not they say “No”.  Once it is explained that unearned income is counted it seems to jog their memory.   Income inclusion is not the only issue regarding Foster Children and Foster Adults.  Below is a summary of the current HUD regulations regarding both Foster Children and Foster Adults: Continue reading Foster Adults and Foster Children in Section 8

Failure to Respond to the Request for Verification

This month we are dealing with a tenant in a Section 8, affordable housing property who has a state legal guardian and who will not respond to requests for income verification notices or award letters. But that is not the only issue here.  There is also the need to assess whether the “Special Needs Trust” is to be considered an asset or should be treated as an income.  Continue reading Failure to Respond to the Request for Verification

Adjustments for Prior Overpayment of Benefits in Section 8

Determining income in affordable housing can sometimes be a balancing act but when in doubt there are many resources such as the HUD Handbook or even the TRACS Discussion Forum.

Today I have a tenant who has provided us with a letter from SS stating her monthly payment is being “adjusted” due to overpayment from prior year. I told her I can’t change her rent because this is a repayment being deducted from her gross amount. She is arguing semantics in my opinion, but would like input. Would you consider “Adjustment” the same as a “repayment” of funds? Continue reading Adjustments for Prior Overpayment of Benefits in Section 8

Updating AR’s with New Income Limits

HUD has been great about getting the income limits out on time in most recent years.  With the government shutdown they were still able to get those income limits posted prior to the commencement of the New Year.  Questions always arise as to “when do I implement the income limits?” and “what about Applicants who were on the Waiting List but are now ready to Move-In?”  and lastly, “what about the Annual Re-certification’s I have already processed in advance?” i.e. AR’s. Continue reading Updating AR’s with New Income Limits

TRACS Industry Group Meeting – Agenda Posted

HUD Headquarters
451 7th Street,
Washington, DC 20410
Brooke-Mondale Auditorium

Conference Dates: January 14, 2014 – January 15, 2014

Registration: 8:30 A. M. Eastern

Start Time: 9:00 A.M. Eastern
End Time: 5:00 PM Eastern

Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2015
Start Time: 9:00 A.M. Eastern
End Time:12 :00 PM Eastern

Light Refreshments Will Be Served


FY2014 Income Limits Released

HUD has released its FY2014 Median Family Income estimates and FY2014 Income Limits.  The FY2014 Income Limits were published on December 18, 2013, and are effective immediately.  The income limits can be found at