Property Compliance News Briefs - May 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., released a letter March 25 addressed to Julián Castro, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, asking him to provide guidance on the “one-strike-and-you’re-out” policy. Waters stated that HUD explicitly endorsed the use of that policy by public housing authorities (PHAs) when it comes to criminal activity. Waters wrote, however, that the policy has led to devastating and unfair convictions. The letter says that HUD should do its part to achieve progress on responding to the research of the “ill-conceived” policy by amending formal agency guidance to further discourage the use of “one-strike” policies and instead encourage alternative measures that offer greater tenant protection and promote second chances through case-by-case considerations. In addition, Waters said that the “one-strike” policies have been a stain on the federal government’s efforts to provide affordable housing. She pointed out the problematic nature of the policy and urged HUD to promote consideration of evictions on a case-by-case basis.

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HUD released a Federal Register notice March 31 titled, “HUD Approval of Requests for Transfers of Multifamily Housing Project-Based Rental Assistance, HUD Held or Insured Debt, and Income-Based Use Restrictions.” The notice establishes the guidelines by which HUD will approve a request for the transfer of project-based rental assistance, debt held or debt insured by the secretary, and statutorily required income-based use restrictions from one multifamily housing project to another. In the notice HUD said it anticipates the publication of the criteria will assist project owners in determining whether a transfer is feasible given the specific circumstances of their multifamily projects. The HUD Appropriations Act of 2014 and the HUD Appropriations Act of 2015 give the secretary the authority to approve transfer requests for fiscal years 2014 through 2016. The notice was effective April 30.

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HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) released Notice 15-003 and guidance on the Interim Policy on Maximum Per-units Subsidy limits for the HOME program in March. In the notice HUD said that because of the discontinuation of the Section 221(d)(3) mortgage insurance program, alternate maximum per-unit subsidy limits must be used for the HOME program. HUD established an interim policy that participating jurisdictions (PJs) must follow, directing PJs to use the Section 234-Condominium Housing basic mortgage limits for elevator-type projects. HUD’s interim policy remains in effect until the effective date of the new final rule provisions is established. To ensure consistency with the provisions, the HOME maximum per-unit subsidy limit that HUD can approve for a PJ cannot exceed 240 percent of the Section 234 basic mortgage limit. The notice closes by encouraging PJs to contact the CPD in their local HUD field office to obtain the maximum HOME per-unit subsidy limits.

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