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Property Compliance News Briefs - August 2012

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a new set of tools to encourage private owners of federally assisted multifamily housing to adopt smoke-free policies. Smoke-free policies protect residents from secondhand smoke and reduce property maintenance costs, the agencies said. HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control developed toolkits for both owners and residents. The owner’s kit includes guidance for implementing no-smoking policies and a sample resident survey, among other resources. HUD also released PIH Notice 2012-25, which is a reissuance of a 2009 notice that strongly encourages public housing authorities (PHAs) to adopt no-smoking policies for the units they administer. HUD is developing additional guidance to assist PHAs with the consideration and implementation of these policies. The kits can be downloaded from www.hud.gov.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Rural Housing Service (RHS) may be understating the problem of improper rental assistance payments, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. The agency’s reported error rate of $15 million for fiscal years 2007 through 2010 may be too low, GAO said, because RHS has not estimated improper payments due to unreported tenant income and the agency lacks authority to match tenant data to federal income data. RHS also has not recently estimated payment processing errors and has not strictly adhered to procedures for classifying payments as improper. Additionally, in 2008 the agency began excluding improper payments of less than $100 from its estimated error rates without submitting this change to the Office of Management and Budget. GAO recommended that RHS propose legislation to access certain federal databases, submit its method for estimating improper payments to OMB for review, and take steps to consistently apply procedures for classifying payments as improper, among other suggestions. USDA said it generally agreed with the recommendations. Read the report at www.gao.gov.

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Rick Haughey joined the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) as vice president of property operations and technology. He was previously director of multifamily development at the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Haughey has extensive experience working with members, committees and contractors to develop conference programming, books, white papers and other resources. In his new role, Haughey will lead NMHC’s efforts to produce content that targets senior real estate executives and work with member committees to develop the contact for NMHC’s annual conferences and membership meetings. He will also lead NMHC’s Multifamily Information & Transactions Standards data standards initiative. Haughey holds a master’s degree in real estate from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Maryland.

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NMHC, ULI, the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council and Fannie Mae Multifamily Business have partnered to launch a Multifamily Energy and Water Research Survey. The survey is part of a broader national effort to understand trends in energy and water consumption and related costs in multifamily properties. Organizers say it will also help establish benchmarks so that lenders may consider energy and water usage among their underwriting criteria and provide more attractive financing terms for developers that employ energy and water conservation techniques. Participation in the survey is voluntary; NMHC has encouraged its member owners to take part. All participating property owners will receive final survey results.

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Property Compliance

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