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When is a Section 8 tenant considered “Moved out”?

You may have thought that in affordable housing when you received the keys that the tenant was considered to be moved out, but that is simply not the case.   A property cannot wait on moving out a tenant because they didn’t receive their keys, especially when they know that the unit has been vacated.    According to the HUD Handbook…9-12, E .  Payments for Partial-Month Occupancies (page 9-18)

Owners are entitled to an assistance payment only for the actual number of days during the month that the tenant occupied the unit. If the move-out date is unknown because the tenant failed to notify the owner prior to moving out, the move-out date is the day the vacancy is discovered.

I once had a property manager tell me that she moves applicants in on the 1st of the month and moves them out at the end of the month (wink, wink).  I wasn’t sure what she meant with the “wink, wink” so I asked for more information.  She basically told me that she moves tenants out at the end of the month so she doesn’t miss out on any subsidy.  I explained to her that she is required to move her tenant out when they have vacated the unit.  I strongly urged her to follow the HUD Rules and Regs along with the HUD Special Claims Guide under the heading of General Guidelines for Processing Special Claims, 9-14, D (page 9-29).

I have also been told that since the tenant didn’t give 30 day notice that as the property manager they were not going to do the move out until the 30 days.  Again, this is not in compliance with the HUD guidelines.  Per handbook and MAT Guide guidance, the former O/A has absolutely no right to subsidy through the end of a notice period. Subsidy ends on the MO date whether or not notice was given–assuming that the tenant has actually vacated the unit.

The following is from page 4-4 of the MAT User Guide;

NOTE: Some owners have a policy of submitting a move-out effective the last day of the month even if the notice period ends earlier. Others will submit a move-out effective at the end of the notice period even if the tenant has moved out earlier. Neither of these practices is appropriate. The move-out date is always the actual move-out date or the date that the owner takes possession of the unit in the case of a skip.

Being in HUD compliance is not making up the rules as you go along, it is following the guidelines in the 4350.3 HUD Handbook.  There is a certain protocol to follow when processing a tenants move-out, including the Security Deposit Disposition, performing the Move-out inspection and if necessary, filing Special Claims for regular vacancy. When you are in doubt, the best thing to do is call your local HUD field office or you can post on the TRACS discussion forum.  Of course you can always call us, we are always ready, willing and able to help.  Better yet, if you have not taken any classes on the HUD Handbook and you are not yet an accredited housing compliance professional, take our AHCP class now!

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