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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?

Additionally, what types of documents are considered acceptable verification to demonstrate that the applicant/resident does not effectively own the asset? Would the most recent tax return be considered an acceptable document? What exactly should we look for to confirm that he does not effectively own the home? Are there other acceptable documents besides the tax return? Or, perhaps there is no way around it if his/her name is on the deed?

The HUD Occupancy handbook, 4350.3, rev 1 Change 4 doesn’t specifically have an example of this situation but in “Appendix 3: Acceptable Forms of Verification” it states;


  • Verification forms, letters or documents received from financial institutions, stock brokers, real estate agents, employers indicating the current value of the assets and penalties or reasonable costs to be incurred in order to convert non-liquid assets into cash;
  • Copies of real estate tax statements, if tax authority uses approximate market value;
  • Copies of real estate closing documents that indicate distribution of sales proceeds and settlement costs.


This is what the HUD Occupancy Handbook 5-7, D, Chapter 5: Determining Income & Calculating Rent says about Assets Owned Jointly


Assets Owned Jointly


  1. If assets are owned by more than one person, prorate the assets according to the percentage of ownership. If no percentage is specified or provided by a state or local law, prorate the assets evenly among all owners.


  1. If an asset is not effectively owned by an individual, do not count it as an asset. An asset is not effectively owned when the asset is held in an individual’s name, but (a) the asset and any income it earns accrue to the benefit of someone else who is not a member of the family, and (b) that other person is responsible for income taxes incurred on income generated by the assets.


  1. Determining which individuals have ownership of an asset requires collecting as much information as is available and making the best judgment possible based on that information.


  • In some instances, but not all, knowing whose social security number is connected with the asset may help in identifying ownership. Owners should be aware that there are many situations in which a social security number connected with an asset does not indicate ownership and other situations where there is ownership without connection to a social security number.
  • Determining who has contributed to an asset or who is paying taxes on the asset may assist in identifying ownership.



In my opinion the handbook doesn’t and can’t cover every situation, but sometimes it gives us similar situations in which to go by. You must always do your best to verify the information submitted by the applicant/resident. Appendix 3 also gives you a list of things in the first column of items that need to be verified. Remember, you need to verify what applicants/residents say they have and what they don’t have! Sign up for our classes and find out more!


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