Property Compliance News Briefs - December 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

In response to Hurricane Sandy, the Housing Assistance Council last month released an updated guide for disaster situations. “Picking Up the Pieces: Restoring Rural Housing and Communities After a Disaster,” is designed to help match victims with available resources. The guide offers information on home repair assistance, rental assistance and permanent housing to disaster victims. It also offers information on temporary housing, home repair assistance, housing predevelopment loans and water/wastewater facilities and treatment for disaster area communities. Also included is contact information for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) state field offices, Federal Emergency Management Agency regional offices, rural development state offices, state housing agencies and state emergency management agencies. The handbook is available online at www.ruralhome.org.

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HUD posted a notice establishing operating cost adjustment factors (OCAFs) for multifamily housing in 2013. The OCAFs for project-based assistance contracts with an anniversary date on or after Feb. 11, 2013 will be calculated using the same method as HUD’s 2012 OCAF, published in the Federal Register on Oct. 26, 2011. OCAFs are the calculated sums of weighted average cost changes for wages, employee benefits, property taxes, insurance, supplies and equipment, fuel oil, electricity, natural gas and water/sewer/trash. States or regions with the highest OCAFs for 2013 are Hawaii at 5.5, Pacific Islands at 5.4 and Vermont at 3.3. More information is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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The Washington State Building Code Council recently updated its rules for carbon monoxide detectors. State law now requires installation of carbon monoxide alarms in existing apartments by Jan. 1, 2013, with a few exceptions such as owner-occupied homes. Local code officials will check for compliance when a permit is required for most alterations, repairs or additions. The council advises all property owners to install the alarms, but failure to do so will not be considered grounds for noncompliance with tax credit or tax-exempt bond rules. More information is available at www.access.wa.gov.

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MaineHousing announced a new smoke-free policy that will apply to all future units built using low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC). The smoking ban will be implemented as part of its 2013 qualified allocation plan (QAP). Maine LIHTC applicants are now required to include a non-smoking clause in all leases and to provide residents with educational materials on tobacco treatment programs. The smoking ban comes after five years of MaineHousing offering incentives to LIHTC applicants who developed 100 percent smoke-free buildings. The agency passed the ban to protect tenants from secondhand smoke and to prevent costly repairs to units damaged by indoor smoking. Find the 2013 Maine QAP at www.taxcredithousing.com.

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) canceled a public hearing on proposed regulations under section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code pertaining to utility allowance regulations. The hearing was scheduled for Nov. 27 at the IRS Auditorium in Washington, D.C. Members of the public interested in testifying at the hearing had until Oct. 9 to submit a request to speak and an outline of topics to be addressed, but the hearing was canceled because no one submitted a request to speak. Read the cancellation notice at www.taxcredithousing.com.

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The IRS posted a notice Oct. 10 seeking public comments on Form 8586, which is used to claim the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC). There is no proposed change to the form. Individuals, households, businesses and other affected organizations are invited to comment on the form and on its reporting and record-keeping requirements by Dec. 10. More information is available at www.taxcredithousing.com.

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