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Landlord Access

Introduction

ABOUT THE MODEL ACOP

HOW TO USE THE MODEL ACOP....................................................................................... Intro-i

ABOUT THE MODEL ACOP AND THE PUBLIC HOUSING LEASE.................................. Intro-i

REFERENCES CITED IN THE MODEL ACOP.................................................................... Intro-ii

RESOURCES CITED IN THE MODEL ACOP..................................................................... Intro-iii

Chapter 1

OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM AND PLAN

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 1-1

PART I: THE PHA

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 1-1

I.B...... ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE OF THE PHA.................................................... 1-1

I.C...... PHA MISSION................................................................................................................ 1-2

I.D...... THE PHA’S COMMITMENT TO ETHICS AND SERVICE........................................... 1-2

PART II: THE PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAM

II.A..... OVERVIEW AND HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM....................................................... 1-3

II.B..... PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAM BASICS...................................................................... 1-3

II.C..... PUBLIC HOUSING PARTNERSHIPS............................................................................ 1-4

II.D..... APPLICABLE REGULATIONS...................................................................................... 1-7

PART III: THE ADMISSIONS AND CONTINUED OCCUPANCY POLICIES

III.A.... OVERVIEW AND PURPOSE OF THE POLICY............................................................ 1-8

III.B.... CONTENTS OF THE POLICY....................................................................................... 1-8

III.C.... UPDATING AND REVISING THE POLICY.................................................................. 1-9

Chapter 2

FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 2-1

PART I: NONDISCRIMINATION

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 2-1

I.B...... NONDISCRIMINATION................................................................................................ 2-2

PART II: POLICIES RELATED TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

II.A..... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 2-3

II.B..... DEFINITION OF REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION............................................. 2-4

II.C..... REQUEST FOR AN ACCOMMODATION.................................................................... 2-5

II.D..... VERIFICATION OF DISABILITY.................................................................................. 2-6

II.E..... APPROVAL/DENIAL OF A REQUESTED ACCOMMODATION............................... 2-7

II.F..... PROGRAM ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH HEARING OR
VISION IMPAIRMENTS................................................................................................ 2-8

II.G..... PHYSICAL ACCESSIBILITY......................................................................................... 2-8

II.H..... DENIAL OR TERMINATION OF ASSISTANCE.......................................................... 2-9

Chapter 3

ELIGIBILITY

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 3-1

PART I: DEFINITIONS OF FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 3-1

I.B...... FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD......................................................................................... 3-2

I.C...... FAMILY BREAK-UP AND REMAINING MEMBER OF TENANT FAMILY.............. 3-2

I.D...... HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD................................................................................................ 3-3

I.E....... SPOUSE, COHEAD, AND OTHER ADULT................................................................... 3-3

I.F....... DEPENDENT................................................................................................................... 3-4

I.G...... FULL-TIME STUDENT................................................................................................... 3-4

I.H...... ELDERLY AND NEAR-ELDERLY PERSONS, AND ELDERLY FAMILY.................. 3-4

I.I........ PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND DISABLED FAMILY....................................... 3-5

I.J....... GUESTS........................................................................................................................... 3-5

I.K...... FOSTER CHILDREN AND FOSTER ADULTS.............................................................. 3-6

I.L....... ABSENT FAMILY MEMBERS....................................................................................... 3-6

I.M..... LIVE-IN AIDE................................................................................................................. 3-7

PART II: BASIC ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

II.A..... INCOME ELIGIBILITY AND TARGETING................................................................... 3-8

II.B..... CITIZENSHIP OR ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS.............................................. 3-9

II.C..... SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS.................................................................................. 3-11

II.D..... FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION........................................... 3-12

PART III: DENIAL OF ADMISSION

III.A.... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 3-12

III.B.... REQUIRED DENIAL OF ADMISSION........................................................................ 3-12

III.C.... OTHER PERMITTED REASONS FOR DENIAL OF ADMISSION............................ 3-14

III.D.... SCREENING.................................................................................................................. 3-16

III.E.... CRITERIA FOR DECIDING TO DENY ADMISSION................................................. 3-19

III.F.... NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY OR DENIAL...................................................................... 3-20

Chapter 4

APPLICATIONS, WAITING LIST AND TENANT SELECTION

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 4-1

PART I: THE APPLICATION PROCESS

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 4-2

I.B...... APPLYING FOR ASSISTANCE..................................................................................... 4-2

I.C...... ACCESSIBILITY OF THE APPLICATION PROCESS.................................................. 4-2

I.D...... PLACEMENT ON THE WAITING LIST........................................................................ 4-2

PART II: MANAGING THE WAITING LIST

II.A..... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 4-3

II.B..... ORGANIZATION OF THE WAITING LIST.................................................................. 4-3

II.C..... OPENING AND CLOSING THE WAITING LIST......................................................... 4-5

II.D..... FAMILY OUTREACH..................................................................................................... 4-6

II.E..... REPORTING CHANGES IN FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES......................................... 4-6

II.F..... UPDATING THE WAITING LIST................................................................................... 4-7

PART III: TENANT SELECTION

III.A.... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 4-8

III.B.... SELECTION METHOD................................................................................................... 4-8

III.C.... NOTIFICATION OF SELECTION............................................................................... 4-11

III.D.... THE APPLICATION INTERVIEW............................................................................... 4-12

III.E.... FINAL ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION.................................................................... 4-13

Chapter 5

OCCUPANCY STANDARDS AND UNIT OFFERS

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 5-1

PART I: OCCUPANCY STANDARDS

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 5-1

I.B...... DETERMINING UNIT SIZE............................................................................................ 5-1

I.C...... EXCEPTIONS TO OCCUPANCY STANDARDS......................................................... 5-2

PART II: UNIT OFFERS

II.A..... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 5-4

II.B..... NUMBER OF OFFERS................................................................................................... 5-4

II.C..... TIME LIMIT FOR UNIT OFFER ACCEPTANCE OR REFUSAL................................. 5-5

II.D..... REFUSALS OF UNIT OFFERS...................................................................................... 5-5

II.E..... ACCESSIBLE UNITS...................................................................................................... 5-6

Chapter 6

INCOME AND RENT DETERMINATIONS

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 6-1

PART I: ANNUAL INCOME

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 6-1

I.B...... HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION AND INCOME........................................................... 6-2

I.C...... ANTICIPATING ANNUAL INCOME............................................................................ 6-4

I.D...... EARNED INCOME......................................................................................................... 6-6

I.E....... EARNED INCOME DISALLOWANCE......................................................................... 6-8

I.F....... BUSINESS INCOME.................................................................................................... 6-10

I.G...... ASSETS.......................................................................................................................... 6-11

I.H...... PERIODIC PAYMENTS................................................................................................ 6-17

I.I........ PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF EARNINGS......................................................................... 6-18

I.J....... WELFARE ASSISTANCE............................................................................................. 6-18

I.K...... PERIODIC AND DETERMINABLE ALLOWANCES.................................................. 6-19

I.L....... ADDITIONAL EXCLUSIONS FROM ANNUAL INCOME........................................ 6-20

PART II: ADJUSTED INCOME

II.A..... INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................... 6-22

II.B..... DEPENDENT DEDUCTION......................................................................................... 6-23

II.C..... ELDERLY OR DISABLED FAMILY DEDUCTION..................................................... 6-23

II.D..... MEDICAL EXPENSES DEDUCTION.......................................................................... 6-23

II.E..... DISABILITY ASSISTANCE EXPENSES DEDUCTION.............................................. 6-24

II.F..... CHILD CARE EXPENSE DEDUCTION....................................................................... 6-26

II.G..... PERMISSIVE DEDUCTIONS....................................................................................... 6-28

PART III: CALCULATING RENT

III.A.... OVERVIEW OF INCOME-BASED RENT CALCULATIONS.................................... 6-29

III.B.... FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS AFFECTING MINIMUM RENT....................................... 6-30

III.C.... UTILITY ALLOWANCES............................................................................................. 6-32

III.D.... PRORATED RENT FOR MIXED FAMILIES............................................................... 6-33

III.E.... FLAT RENTS AND FAMILY CHOICE IN RENTS..................................................... 6-34

EXHIBITS

6-1:..... ANNUAL INCOME INCLUSIONS.............................................................................. 6-35

6-2:..... ANNUAL INCOME EXCLUSIONS............................................................................. 6-37

6-3:..... TREATMENT OF FAMILY ASSETS............................................................................ 6-39

6-4:..... EARNED INCOME DISALLOWANCE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES........ 6-40

6-5:..... THE EFFECT OF WELFARE BENEFIT REDUCTION................................................ 6-42

Chapter 7

VERIFICATION

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 7-1

PART I: GENERAL VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

I.A...... FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION............................................. 7-1

I.B...... OVERVIEW OF VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.................................................... 7-2

I.C...... ENTERPRISE INCOME VERIFICATION (EIV)............................................................ 7-3

I.D...... THIRD-PARTY WRITTEN AND ORAL VERIFICATION............................................. 7-4

I.E....... REVIEW OF DOCUMENTS........................................................................................... 7-6

I.F....... SELF-CERTIFICATION.................................................................................................. 7-6

PART II: VERIFYING FAMILY INFORMATION

II.A..... VERIFICATION OF LEGAL IDENTITY........................................................................ 7-6

II.B..... SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS.................................................................................... 7-7

II.C..... DOCUMENTATION OF AGE........................................................................................ 7-8

II.D..... FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS............................................................................................ 7-8

II.E..... VERIFICATION OF STUDENT STATUS...................................................................... 7-9

II.F..... DOCUMENTATION OF DISABILITY........................................................................... 7-9

II.G..... CITIZENSHIP OR ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS............................................ 7-10

PART III: VERIFYING INCOME AND ASSETS

III.A.... EARNED INCOME....................................................................................................... 7-12

III.B.... BUSINESS AND SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME..................................................... 7-12

III.C.... PERIODIC PAYMENTS AND PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF EARNINGS...................... 7-13

III.D.... ALIMONY OR CHILD SUPPORT................................................................................ 7-13

III.E.... ASSETS AND INCOME FROM ASSETS.................................................................... 7-14

III.F.... NET INCOME FROM RENTAL PROPERTY.............................................................. 7-14

III.G.... RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS ........................................................................................ 7-15

III.H.... INCOME FROM EXCLUDED SOURCES .................................................................. 7-15

III.I..... ZERO ANNUAL INCOME STATUS............................................................................ 7-15

PART IV: VERIFYING MANDATORY DEDUCTIONS

IV.A... DEPENDENT AND ELDERLY/DISABLED HOUSEHOLD DEDUCTIONS............... 7-16

IV.B.... MEDICAL EXPENSE DEDUCTION............................................................................ 7-16

IV.C... DISABILITY ASSISTANCE EXPENSES..................................................................... 7-17

IV.D... CHILD CARE EXPENSES............................................................................................ 7-19

EXHIBITS

7-1:..... Excerpt from HUD Verification Guidance Notice.............................................................. 7-21

7-2:..... Summary of Documentation Requirements for Noncitizens................................................ 7-24

Chapter 8

LEASING AND INSPECTIONS

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 8-1

PART I: LEASING

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 8-1

I.B...... LEASE ORIENTATION.................................................................................................. 8-1

I.C...... EXECUTION OF LEASE................................................................................................ 8-2

I.D...... MODIFICATIONS TO THE LEASE............................................................................... 8-2

I.E....... SECURITY DEPOSITS.................................................................................................... 8-3

I.F....... PAYMENTS UNDER THE LEASE................................................................................. 8-4

PART II: INSPECTIONS

II.A..... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 8-6

II.B..... TYPES OF INSPECTIONS............................................................................................. 8-6

II.C..... NOTICE AND SCHEDULING OF INSPECTIONS ...................................................... 8-7

II.D..... INSPECTION RESULTS................................................................................................. 8-8

Chapter 9

REEXAMINATIONS

INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................ 9-1

PART I: ANNUAL REEXAMINATIONS FOR FAMILIES PAYING
INCOME BASED RENTS

I.A...... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 9-1

I.B...... SCHEDULING ANNUAL REEXAMINATIONS............................................................ 9-1

I.C...... CONDUCTING ANNUAL REEXAMINATIONS.......................................................... 9-3

I.D...... EFFECTIVE DATES........................................................................................................ 9-4

PART II: REEXAMINATIONS FOR FAMILIES PAYING FLAT RENTS

II.A..... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 9-5

II.B..... FULL REEXAMINATION OF FAMILY INCOME AND COMPOSITION.................. 9-5

II.C..... REEXAMINATION OF FAMILY COMPOSITION (“ANNUAL UPDATE”)................ 9-5

PART III: INTERIM REEXAMINATIONS

III.A.... OVERVIEW..................................................................................................................... 9-6

III.B.... CHANGES IN FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION................................... 9-6

III.C.... CHANGES AFFECTING INCOME OR EXPENSES..................................................... 9-8

III.D.... PROCESSING THE INTERIM REEXAMINATION....................................................... 9-9

PART IV: RECALCULATING TENANT RENT

IV.A... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 9-10

IV.B.... CHANGES IN UTILITY ALLOWANCES.................................................................... 9-10

IV.C... NOTIFICATION OF NEW TENANT RENT................................................................ 9-10

IV.D... DISCREPANCIES......................................................................................................... 9-11

Chapter 10

PETS

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 10-1

PART I: ASSISTANCE ANIMALS

I.A...... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 10-1

I.B...... APPROVAL OF ASSISTANCE ANIMALS................................................................. 10-2

I.C...... CARE AND HANDLING.............................................................................................. 10-2

PART II: PET POLICIES FOR ALL DEVELOPMENTS

II.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 10-3

II.B..... MANAGEMENT APPROVAL OF PETS...................................................................... 10-3

II.C..... STANDARDS FOR PETS.............................................................................................. 10-4

II.D..... PET RULES.................................................................................................................... 10-5

PART IV: PET DEPOSITS AND FEES

IV.A... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 10-8

IV.B.... PET DEPOSITS.............................................................................................................. 10-9

IV.D... OTHER CHARGES........................................................................................................ 10-9

Chapter 11

COMMUNITY SERVICE

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 11-1

PART I: COMMUNITY SERVICE REQUIREMENT

I.A...... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 11-1

I.B...... REQUIREMENTS.......................................................................................................... 11-1

I.C...... DETERMINATION OF EXEMPTION STATUS AND COMPLIANCE...................... 11-4

I.D...... DOCUMENTATION AND VERIFICATION............................................................... 11-5

I.E....... NONCOMPLIANCE..................................................................................................... 11-6

PART II: IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

II.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 11-7

EXHIBITS

11-1:... COMMUNITY SERVICE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY POLICY................................ 11-8

11-2:... DEFINITION OF A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY UNDER SOCIAL
SECURITY ACTS 216(i)(l) and Section 1416(excerpt) FOR PURPOSES
OF EXEMPTION FROM COMMUNITY SERVICE.................................................. 11-11

Chapter 12

TRANSFER POLICY

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 12-1

PART I: EMERGENCY TRANSFERS

I.A...... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 12-1

I.B...... EMERGENCY TRANSFERS......................................................................................... 12-2

I.C...... EMERGENCY TRANSFER PROCEDURES................................................................. 12-2

I.D...... COSTS OF TRANSFER................................................................................................ 12-2

PART II: PHA REQUIRED TRANSFERS

II.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 12-3

II.B..... TYPES OF PHA REQUIRED TRANSFERS.................................................................. 12-3

II.C..... ADVERSE ACTION...................................................................................................... 12-4

II.D..... COST OF TRANSFER.................................................................................................. 12-4

PART III: TRANSFERS REQUESTED BY TENANTS

III.A.... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 12-5

III.B.... TYPES OF RESIDENT REQUESTED TRANSFERS.................................................... 12-5

III.C.... ELIGIBILITY FOR TRANSFER.................................................................................... 12-6

III.D.... SECURITY DEPOSITS.................................................................................................. 12-6

III.E.... HANDLING OF REQUESTS........................................................................................ 12-6

PART IV: TRANSFER PROCESSING

IV.A... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 12-6

IV.B.... TRANSFER LIST........................................................................................................... 12-6

IV.C... TRANSFER OFFER POLICY....................................................................................... 12-7

IV.D... GOOD CAUSE FOR UNIT REFUSAL......................................................................... 12-7

Chapter 13

LEASE TERMINATIONS

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 13-1

PART I: TERMINATION BY TENANT

I.A...... TENANT CHOOSES TO TERMINATE THE LEASE................................................... 13-2

PART II: TERMINATION BY PHA – MANDATORY

II.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 13-2

II.B..... FAILURE TO PROVIDE CONSENT............................................................................ 13-2

II.C..... FAILURE TO DOCUMENT CITIZENSHIP.................................................................. 13-2

II.D..... FAILURE TO PROVIDE SOCIAL SECURITY DOCUMENTATION......................... 13-3

II.E..... FAILURE TO ACCEPT THE PHA’S OFFER OF A LEASE REVISION...................... 13-3

II.F..... METHAMPHETAMINE CONVICTION...................................................................... 13-3

II.G..... NONCOMPLIANCE WITH COMMUNITY SERVICE REQUIREMENTS................ 13-3

PART III: TERMINATION BY PHA – OTHER AUTHORIZED REASONS

III.A.... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 13-3

III.B.... MANDATORY LEASE PROVISIONS......................................................................... 13-4

III.C.... OTHER AUTHORIZED REASONS FOR TERMINATION.......................................... 13-7

III.D.... ALTERNATIVES TO TERMINATION OF TENANCY............................................... 13-9

III.E.... CRITERIA FOR DECIDING TO TERMINATE TENANCY....................................... 13-10

PART IV: NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, EVICTION
PROCEDURES AND RECORD KEEPING

IV.A... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................. 13-12

IV.B.... CONDUCTING CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS................................................... 13-12

IV.C... DISCLOSURE OF CRIMINAL RECORDS TO FAMILY.......................................... 13-12

IV.D... LEASE TERMINATION NOTICE.............................................................................. 13-13

IV.E.... EVICTION................................................................................................................... 13-15

IV.F.... NOTIFICATION TO POST OFFICE.......................................................................... 13-15

IV.G... RECORD KEEPING.................................................................................................... 13-15

Chapter 14

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 14-1

PART I: INFORMAL HEARINGS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING APPLICANTS

I.A...... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 14-1

I.B...... INFORMAL HEARING PROCESS............................................................................... 14-1

PART II: INFORMAL HEARINGS WITH REGARD TO NONCITIZENS

II.A..... HEARING AND APPEAL PROVISIONS FOR NONCITIZENS................................. 14-3

PART III: GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS

III.A.... REQUIREMENTS.......................................................................................................... 14-6

III.B.... DEFINITIONS............................................................................................................... 14-6

III.C.... APPLICABILITY........................................................................................................... 14-7

III.D.... INFORMAL SETTLEMENT OF GRIEVANCE............................................................ 14-8

III.E.... PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN A HEARING.................................................................. 14-8

III.F.... SELECTION OF HEARING OFFICER/PANEL........................................................... 14-9

III.G.... PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE HEARING.......................................................... 14-10

III.H.... DECISION OF THE HEARING OFFICER/PANEL.................................................... 14-12

Chapter 15

PROGRAM INTEGRITY

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 15-1

PART I: PREVENTING, DETECTING, AND
INVESTIGATING ERRORS AND PROGRAM ABUSE

I.A...... PREVENTING ERRORS AND PROGRAM ABUSE.................................................... 15-1

I.B...... DETECTING ERRORS AND PROGRAM ABUSE ...................................................... 15-2

I.C...... INVESTIGATING ERRORS AND PROGRAM ABUSE............................................... 15-2

PART II: CORRECTIVE MEASURES AND PENALTIES

II.A..... UNDER- OR OVERPAYMENT.................................................................................... 15-4

II.B..... FAMILY-CAUSED ERRORS AND PROGRAM ABUSE............................................. 15-4

II.C..... PHA-CAUSED ERRORS OR PROGRAM ABUSE....................................................... 15-5

II.D..... CRIMINAL PROSECUTION........................................................................................ 15-6

II.E..... FRAUD AND PROGRAM ABUSE RECOVERIES....................................................... 15-7

Chapter 16

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 16-1

PART I: SETTING UTILITY ALLOWANCES

I.A...... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 16-1

I.B...... UTILITY ALLOWANCES............................................................................................. 16-2

I.C...... SURCHARGES FOR PHA-FURNISHED UTILITIES................................................... 16-3

I.D...... NOTICE REQUIREMENTS.......................................................................................... 16-3

I.E....... REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION......................................................................... 16-3

PART II: ESTABLISHING FLAT RENTS AND
PUBLIC HOUSING MAXIMUM RENTS

II.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 16-4

II.B..... FLAT RENTS................................................................................................................. 16-4

II.C..... PUBLIC HOUSING MAXIMUM RENTS..................................................................... 16-5

PART III: FAMILY DEBTS TO THE PHA

III.A.... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 16-5

III.B.... REPAYMENT POLICY................................................................................................. 16-6

PART IV: PUBLIC HOUSING ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (PHAS)

IV.A... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 16-7

IV.B.... PHAS INDICATORS..................................................................................................... 16-7

IV.C... PHAS SCORING........................................................................................................... 16-8

PART V: RECORD KEEPING

V.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 16-9

V.B..... RECORD RETENTION................................................................................................. 16-9

V.C..... RECORDS MANAGEMENT......................................................................................... 16-9

PART VI: REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILDREN WITH ENVIRONMENTAL INTERVENTION BLOOD LEAD LEVEL

VI.A... REPORTING REQUIREMENTS................................................................................. 16-10

Chapter 17

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMAN

INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................... 17-1

PART I: MISSION STATEMENT

I.A...... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 17-1

PART II: DEFINITIONS

II.A..... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 17-1

PART III: CERTIFICATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY

III.A.... FAILURE TO PROVIDE CERTIFICATION................................................................. 17-2

III.B.... HUD APPROVED CERTIFICATION........................................................................... 17-2

III.C.... OTHER CERTIFICATION............................................................................................ 17-3

III.D.... CONFIDENTIALITY..................................................................................................... 17-3

 

PART IV: DENIAL OF ADMISSION, ASSITANCE OR TENANCY

 

IV.A... OVERVIEW................................................................................................................... 17-3

 

Introduction

ABOUT THE MODEL ACOP

HOW TO USE THE MODEL ACOP

The model ACOP includes recommended language for each area in which the PHA has discretion or flexibility to adopt its own policies. To make the editing process easier, the model ACOP contains only one version of each policy – generally HUD’s safe harbor policy or the policy that seems to be common to most PHAs. This means that if the model policy language works for your PHA, no cutting and pasting is required.

HUD regulations and other requirements are described in detail in the model ACOP with appropriate citations. They are also summarized in the policy guide as needed to assist in making decisions.

The Policy Guide and Instructions

The policy guide is a decision-making tool for PHA policy makers. You can use the guide as a checklist for evaluating your compliance with HUD requirements and for making decisions about local policies. PHA decision points are identified throughout this document with this symbol:

R

The policy guide provides recommended language and policy options and explains why the recommended language is used in the model ACOP.

·         If you decide to adopt an alternative policy, you may edit or delete the NMA-provided language in the model ACOP, cut and paste another option from the policy guide, or develop and type in your own wording.

Before starting work on the revision, print out the Acrobat PDF files of the model ACOP pages and policy guide for each chapter. Read through the model policy and review the decision points in the policy guide to determine if you want to make any changes to the model ACOP. After you have edited the model ACOP, print out the revised chapter to update your hard copy and, and edit the table of contents (TOC) file if necessary to update the TOC for your ACOP.

Working with the Computer Files

On your hard drive or network drive, set up a subdirectory (such as ACOPrev) for the ACOP revision in your ACOP or other directory in which you keep your documents. Copy the files for the policy document and the guide chapters from the CD-ROM into that directory and use them as your working files. Store your CD-ROM in a safe place.

ABOUT THE MODEL ACOP AND THE PUBLIC HOUSING LEASE

PHA policy must be consistent with the public housing lease and any policy documents provided to tenants, and the lease and policy documents must comply with federal and state law.

The model ACOP contains policies that reflect the terms of your public housing lease. Policies on a particular topic may be included in the public housing lease, or may be a separate document incorporated in the lease by reference, such as a pet policy or transfer policy.

Because of variations in state and local landlord-tenant law, and because HUD affords PHAs wide discretion in some areas, a broad range of policies could be acceptable. Only a few of these compliant policies can be listed in the model ACOP.

If you are assured that your current Board-approved public housing lease or separate policy document is up-to-date and is compliant with HUD requirements and with federal, state, and local laws, then it is neither necessary nor advisable to revise the terms of your lease or policy document to match default policies in the model ACOP. Instead, you should edit the model ACOP to match the terms of your existing public housing lease.

REFERENCES CITED IN THE MODEL ACOP

Authority for PHA policies is derived from many sources.  Primary among these sources are regulations and guidance issued by HUD.  State law also directs PHA policy.  State law must be followed where such law exists and does not conflict with federal regulations.  In the absence of legal requirements or HUD guidance, industry practice may lead to PHA policy. Finally, the public housing lease will affect PHA policy and therefore must be consistent with federal and state laws and regulations.

HUD

HUD provides the primary source of PHA policy through federal regulations, HUD Notices and handbooks. Compliance with federal regulations, current HUD Notices and HUD handbooks is mandatory.

HUD provides nonmandatory guidance to PHAs through HUD published guidebooks. Expired HUD Notices and handbooks also provide guidance for PHA policy.  Following HUD guidance is optional, as long as PHA policies comply with federal law, federal regulations and mandatory policy.  Because HUD has already determined that the guidance it provides is consistent with mandatory policies, PHA reliance on HUD guidance provides the PHA with a “safe harbor.”

Content contained on the HUD website can provide further clarification of HUD policies.  For example, FAQs on the HUD website can provide direction on the application of federal regulations to a specific pattern.

State Law

Where there is no mandatory federal guidance, PHAs must comply with state law, if it exists. Where state law is more restrictive than federal law, but does not conflict with it, the PHA should follow the state law.

Industry Practice

Where no law or HUD authority exists on a particular subject, industry practice may support PHA policy. An industry practice is a way of doing things that is followed by most housing authorities.

RESOURCES CITED IN THE MODEL ACOP

The model ACOP cites several documents.  Where a document or resource is cited frequently, it may be abbreviated.  Where it is cited only once or twice, the model ACOP may contain the entire name of the document or resource.  Following is a key to abbreviations used for various sources that are frequently cited in the ACOP, and a list of references and document locations that are referenced in the model ACOP or that may be helpful to you.

Abbreviations

Throughout the model ACOP, abbreviations are used to designate certain documents in citations.  The following is a table of abbreviations of documents cited by the model ACOP.

Abbreviation

Document

CFR

Code of Federal Regulations

HCV GB

Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook (7420.10G), April 2001.

HUD-50058 IB

HUD-50058 Instruction Booklet

PH OCC GB

Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook, June 2003.

RHIIP FAQs

Rental Housing Integrity Improvement Program (RHIIP) Frequently Asked Questions.

VG

PIH Notice 2004-01 Verification Guidance, March 9, 2004.

Resources and Where to Find Them

Following is a list of resources helpful to the PHA or referenced in the model ACOP, and the online location of each.

Document and Location

Code of Federal Regulations

www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/index.html

Earned Income Disregard FAQ

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/phr/about/ao_faq_eid.cfm

Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System PHA Security Procedures, Version 1.2, issued January 2005

http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/rhiip/docs/eivsecguidepha.pdf

Executive Order 11063

http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FHLaws/EXO11063.cfm

Federal Register

http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html

General Income and Rent Determination FAQ

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/rhiip/faq_gird.cfm

Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook (7420.10G), April 2001.

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/hcv/forms/guidebook.cfm

HUD Guidelines for Projecting Annual Income When Upfront Income Verification (UIV) Data is Available

http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/rhiip/docs/guideprojincome.doc

HUD-50058 Instruction Booklet

http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/systems/pic/50058/pubs/ib/form50058ib.pdf

Joint Statement of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice, issued May 17, 2004

http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/library/huddojstatement.pdf

Notice of Guidance to Federal Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, published December 19, 2003

http://www.hudclips.org/sub_nonhud/cgi/pdf/31267.pdf

 

OMB Circular A-133

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133/a133.html

PIH Notice 2002-01 (HA), Accessibility Notice

http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/publications/notices/02/pih2002-1.pdf

PIH Notice 2004-01 Verification Guidance, March 9, 2004.

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/publications/notices/04/pih2004-1.pdf

PIH Notice 2005-7 (HA), Rental Integrity Monitoring (RIM) Disallowed Costs and Sanctions Under the Rental Housing Integrity Improvement Project (RHIIP) Initiative

http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/publications/notices/05/pih2005-7.pdf

Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook, June 2003.

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/rhiip/phguidebook.cfm

Rental Housing Integrity Improvement Program (RHIIP) Frequently Asked Questions.

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/rhiip/faq.cfm

Verification FAQ

www.hud.gov/offices/pih/programs/ph/rhiip/faq_verif.cfm

The HUD website is http://www.hud.gov/index.html.

Guidebooks, handbooks and other HUD published and federal resources may be found at the HUDClips website: www.hudclips.org.

 

Chapter 1

OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM AND PLAN

INTRODUCTION

The PHA receives its operating subsidy for the public housing program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The PHA is not a federal department or agency. A public housing agency (PHA) is a governmental or public body, created and authorized by state law to develop and operate housing and housing programs for low-income families. The PHA enters into an Annual Contributions Contract with HUD to administer the public housing program. The PHA must ensure compliance with federal laws, regulations and notices and must establish policy and procedures to clarify federal requirements and to ensure consistency in program operation.

This chapter contains information about the PHA and its programs with emphasis on the public housing program. It also contains information about the purpose, intent and use of the plan and guide.

There are three parts to this chapter:

Part I: The Public Housing Agency (PHA). This part includes a description of the PHA, its jurisdiction, its programs, and its mission and intent.

Part II: The Public Housing Program. This part contains information about public housing operation, roles and responsibilities, and partnerships.

Part III: The Admissions and Continued Occupancy (ACOP). This part discusses the purpose and organization of the plan and its revision requirements.

PART I: THE PHA

1-I.A. OVERVIEW

This part describes the PHA’s creation and authorization, the general structure of the organization, and the relationship between the PHA Board and staff.

1-I.B. ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE OF THE PHA

Public housing is funded by the federal government and administered by the Parkersburg Housing Authority for the jurisdiction of the city of Parkersburg in the county of Wood.

PHAs are governed by a board of officials that are generally called “commissioners.”  Although some PHAs may use a different title for their officials, this document will hitherto refer to the “board of commissioners” or the “board” when discussing the board of governing officials.

Commissioners are appointed in accordance with state housing law and generally serve in the same capacity as the directors of a corporation. The board of commissioners establishes policies under which the PHA conducts business, and ensures that those policies are followed by PHA staff. The board is responsible for preserving and expanding the agency’s resources and assuring the agency’s continued viability and success.

Formal actions of the PHA are taken through written resolutions, adopted by the board and entered into the official records of the PHA.

The principal staff member of the PHA is the executive director (ED), who is selected and hired by the board. The ED oversees the day to day operations of the PHA and is directly responsible for carrying out the policies established by the commissioners. The ED’s duties include hiring, training, and supervising the PHA’s staff, as well as budgeting and financial planning for the agency. Additionally, the ED is charged with ensuring compliance with federal and state laws, and program mandates. In some PHAs, the ED is known by another title, such as chief executive officer or president.

1-I.C. PHA MISSION

The purpose of a mission statement is to communicate the purpose of the agency to people inside and outside of the agency. It provides the basis for strategy development, identification of critical success factors, resource allocation decisions, as well as ensuring client and stakeholder satisfaction.

PHA Policy

The PHA’s mission is to assist low income families with safe, decent affordable housing opportunities as they strive to improve the quality of their lives through economic independence and homeownership.

1-I.D. THE PHA’S COMMITMENT TO ETHICS AND SERVICE

As a public service agency, the PHA is committed to providing excellent service to all public housing applicants, residents, and the public. In order to provide superior service, the PHA resolves to:

·        Administer applicable federal and state laws and regulations to achieve high ratings in compliance measurement indicators while maintaining efficiency in program operation to ensure fair and consistent treatment of clients served.

·        Provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing in good repair – in compliance with program uniform physical condition standards – for very low- and low-income families.

·        Achieve a healthy mix of incomes in its public housing developments by attracting and retaining higher income families and by working toward deconcentration of poverty goals.

·        Encourage self-sufficiency of participant families and assist in the expansion of family opportunities which address educational, socio-economic, recreational and other human services needs.

·        Promote fair housing and the opportunity for very low- and low-income families of all races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and with all types of disabilities, to participate in the public housing program and its services.

·        Create positive public awareness and expand the level of family and community support in accomplishing the PHA’s mission.

·        Attain and maintain a high level of standards and professionalism in day-to-day management of all program components.

·        Administer an efficient, high-performing agency through continuous improvement of the PHA’s support systems and commitment to our employees and their development.

The PHA will make every effort to keep residents informed of program rules and regulations, and to advise participants of how the program rules affect them.

PART II: THE PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAM

1-II.A. OVERVIEW AND HISTORY OF THE PROGRAM

The intent of this section is to provide the public and staff an overview of the history and operation of public housing.

The United States Housing Act of 1937 (the “Act”) is responsible for the birth of federal housing program initiatives, known as public housing. The Act was intended to provide financial assistance to states and cities for public works projects, slum clearance and the development of affordable housing for low-income residents.  There have been many changes to the program since its inception in 1937.

The Housing Act of 1965 established the availability of federal assistance, administered through local public agencies, to provide rehabilitation grants for home repairs and rehabilitation.  This act also created the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Housing Act of 1969 created an operating subsidy for the public housing program for the first time. Until that time, public housing was a self-sustaining program.

In 1998, the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA) – also known as the Public Housing Reform Act or Housing Act of 1998 – was signed into law.  Its purpose was to provide more private sector management guidelines to the public housing program and provide residents with greater choices. It also allowed PHAs more remedies to replace or revitalize severely distressed public housing developments. Highlights of the Reform Act include: the establishment of flat rents; the requirement for PHAs to develop five-year and annual plans; income targeting, a requirement that 40% of all new admissions in public housing during any given fiscal year be reserved for extremely low-income families; and resident self-sufficiency incentives.

1-II.B. PUBLIC HOUSING PROGRAM BASICS

HUD writes and publishes regulations in order to implement public housing laws enacted by Congress. HUD contracts with the PHA to administer programs in accordance with HUD regulations and provides an operating subsidy to the PHA. The PHA must create written policies that are consistent with HUD regulations. Among these policies is the PHA’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP). The ACOP must be approved by the board of commissioners of the PHA.

The job of the PHA pursuant to HUD regulations is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing, in good repair, to low-income families at an affordable rent.  The PHA screens applicants for public housing and, if they are found eligible and accepted, the PHA offers the applicant a unit. If the applicant accepts the offer, the PHA will enter into a contract with the applicant known as the lease. At this point, the applicant becomes a tenant of the public housing program.

In the context of the public housing program, a tenant is defined as the adult person(s) (other than a live-in aide who (1) executed the lease with the PHA as lessee of the dwelling unit, or, if no such person now resides in the unit, (2) who resides in the unit, and who is the remaining head of household of the tenant family residing in the dwelling unit. [24 CFR 966.53].  The Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook refers to tenants as “residents.”  The terms “tenant” and “resident” are used interchangeably in this policy.  Additionally, this policy uses the term “family” or “families” for residents or applicants, depending on context.

Since the PHA owns the public housing development, the PHA is the landlord. The PHA must comply with all of the legal and management responsibilities of a landlord in addition to administering the program in accordance with HUD regulations and PHA policy.

1-II.C. PUBLIC HOUSING PARTNERSHIPS

Relationships between the important parties are defined by federal regulations and by contract.  To administer the public housing program, the PHA enters into a contractual relationship with HUD through the ACC. The PHA also enters into a contractual relationship with the tenant through the public housing lease. These contracts outline the roles and responsibilities of each party.

Federal regulations further identify the important roles of the parties involved.  For the program to work and be successful, all parties involved – HUD, the PHA, and the tenant – must play their important parts.

The chart on the following page illustrates key aspects of these relationships.

 

 The Public Housing Relationships

What does HUD do?

Federal law is the source of HUD responsibilities.  HUD has the following major responsibilities:

·        Develop regulations, requirements, handbooks, notices and other guidance to implement housing legislation passed by Congress

·        Allocate operating subsidies to PHAs

·        Allocate capital funding to PHAs

·        Provide technical assistance to PHAs on interpreting and applying program requirements

·        Monitor PHA compliance with program requirements and PHA performance in program administration.

What does the PHA do?

The PHA’s responsibilities originate in federal regulations and the ACC.  The PHA owns and manages public housing developments, administers the program under contract with HUD and has the following major responsibilities:

·        Establish local policies

·        Review applications from interested applicant families to determine whether applicants are eligible for the program

·        Maintain waiting list and select families for admission

·        Maintain housing units by making any necessary repairs in a timely manner

·        Screen families who apply for tenancy, to determine if they will be good renters

·        Offer units to families (minimize vacancies without overcrowding)

·        Maintain properties to the standard of decent, safe, sanitary, and in good repair (including assuring compliance with uniform physical conditions standards)

·        Make sure the PHA has adequate financial resources to maintain its housing stock

·        Ensure that families continue to qualify under the program

·        Collect rent due from the assisted family and comply with and enforce provisions of the lease

·        Ensure that families comply with program rules

·        Provide families with prompt and professional service

·        Comply with all fair housing and equal opportunity requirements, HUD regulations and requirements, the Annual Contributions Contract, HUD-approved applications for funding, the PHA’s ACOP, and other applicable federal, state and local laws.

What does the Tenant do?

The tenant’s responsibilities are articulated in the public housing lease. The tenant has the following broad responsibilities:

·        Comply with the terms of the lease

·        Provide the PHA with complete and accurate information, determined by the PHA to be necessary for administration of the program

·        Cooperate in attending all appointments scheduled by the PHA

·        Allow the PHA to inspect the unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice

·        Take responsibility for care of the housing unit, including any violations of uniform physical condition standards caused by the family

·        Not engage in drug-related or violent criminal activity

·        Notify the PHA before moving or termination of the lease

·        Use the assisted unit only for residence and as the sole residence of the family. Not sublet the unit or assign the lease

·        Promptly notify the PHA of any changes in family composition

·        Not commit fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any housing programs.

If all parties fulfill their obligations in a professional and timely manner, the program responsibilities will be fulfilled in an effective manner.

1-II.D. APPLICABLE REGULATIONS

Applicable regulations include:

·        24 CFR Part 5: General Program Requirements

·        24 CFR Part 8: Nondiscrimination

·        24 CFR Part 902: Public Housing Assessment System

·        24 CFR Part 903: Public Housing Agency Plans

·        24 CFR Part 945: Designated Housing

·        24 CFR Part 960: Admission and Occupancy Policies

·        24 CFR Part 965: PHA-Owned or Leased Projects – General Provisions

·        24 CFR Part 966: Lease and Grievance Procedures

PART III: THE ADMISSIONS AND CONTINUED OCCUPANCY POLICIES

1-III.A. OVERVIEW AND PURPOSE OF THE POLICY

The ACOP is the PHA’s written statement of policies used to carry out the housing program in accordance with federal law and regulations, and HUD requirements.  The ACOP is required by HUD and it must be available for public review [CFR 24 Part 903].  The ACOP also contains policies that support the objectives contained in the PHA’s Agency Plan.

All issues related to public housing not addressed in this ACOP are governed by federal regulations, HUD handbooks and guidebooks, notices and applicable state and local laws. The policies in this ACOP have been designed to ensure compliance with the consolidated ACC and all HUD-approved applications for program funding. The PHA is responsible for complying with all changes in HUD regulations pertaining to public housing. If such changes conflict with this plan, HUD regulations will have precedence.

1-III.B. CONTENTS OF THE POLICY

Unlike the housing choice voucher program, HUD regulations for public housing do not contain a list of what must be included in the ACOP.  However, individual regulations contain requirements of inclusion in the PHA’s written policy.  At a minimum, the ACOP plan should cover PHA policies on these subjects:

·        The organization of the waiting list and how families are selected and offered available units, including any PHA admission preferences, procedures for removing applicant names from the waiting list, and procedures for closing and reopening the PHA waiting list (Chapters 4 and 5)

·        Transfer policies and the circumstances under which a transfer would take precedence over an admission (Chapter 12)

·        Standards for determining eligibility, suitability for tenancy, and the size and type of the unit needed (Chapters 3 and 5)

·        Procedures for verifying the information the family has provided (Chapter 7)

·        The method for achieving deconcentration of poverty and income-mixing of public housing developments (Chapter 4)

·        Grievance procedures (Chapter 14)

·        Policies concerning payment by a family to the PHA of amounts the family owes the PHA (Chapter 15 and 16)

·        Interim redeterminations of family income and composition (Chapter 9)

·        Policies regarding community service requirements; (Chapter 11)

·        Polices and rules about safety and ownership of pets in public housing (Chapter 10).

New Approach to Policy Development

HUD has developed an approach to monitoring policy that emphasizes the importance of consistency. The ACOP supports that goal by clearly defining PHA policy for PHA management and staff.

A primary focus of programs like HUD’s Rental Integrity Monitoring (RIM) program has been consistency in how PHAs conduct their business and in how HUD monitors PHA activities. HUD has made it clear that consistency in PHA conduct is important. Referring to and following the ACOP is essential to maintaining consistency in applying PHA policy.

HUD makes a distinction between:

·        Mandatory policies: those driven by legislation, regulations, current handbooks, notices, and legal opinions, and

·        Optional, non-binding guidance, including guidebooks, notices that have expired and recommendations from individual HUD staff.

HUD expects PHAs to develop policies and procedures that are consistent with mandatory policies and to make clear the optional policies the PHA has adopted. The PHA's Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy is the document that contains and clarifies PHA policy.  HUD’s new direction adds additional emphasis to the need for a clearly written and comprehensive ACOP to guide staff in the clear and consistent application of policy.

HUD has already determined that the recommendations and suggestions it makes are consistent with mandatory policies. Therefore, following HUD guidance in the preparation of PHA policy, even though it is not mandatory, provides a PHA with a “safe harbor.” If a PHA adopts its own optional policy, it must make its own determination that such policy is consistent with legislation, regulations, and other mandatory requirements. There may be very good reasons for adopting a policy or procedure that is different than that suggested by HUD, but PHAs should carefully think through those decisions and be able to articulate how their policy is consistent with federal laws, regulations and mandatory policy.

1-III.C. UPDATING AND REVISING THE POLICY

The PHA will revise this ACOP as needed to comply with changes in HUD regulations. The original policy and any changes must be approved by the board of commissioners of the PHA, the pertinent sections included in the Agency Plan, and a copy provided to HUD.

PHA Policy

The PHA will review and update the ACOP at least once a year, and more often if needed, to reflect changes in regulations, PHA operations, or when needed to ensure staff consistency in operation.

Chapter 2

FAIR HOUSING AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

INTRODUCTION

This chapter explains the laws and HUD regulations requiring PHAs to affirmatively further civil rights and fair housing in all federally-assisted housing programs. The letter and spirit of these laws are implemented through consistent policy and processes. The responsibility to further nondiscrimination pertains to all areas of the PHA’s public housing operations.

This chapter describes HUD regulations and PHA policies related to these topics in three parts:

Part I: Nondiscrimination. This part presents the body of laws and regulations governing the responsibilities of the PHA regarding nondiscrimination.

Part II: Policies Related to Persons with Disabilities. This part discusses the rules and policies of the public housing program related to reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. These rules and policies are based on the Fair Housing Act (42.U.S.C.) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and incorporate guidance from the Joint Statement of The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice (DOJ), issued May 17, 2004.

Part III: Prohibition of Discrimination Against Limited English Proficiency Persons. This part details the obligations of the PHA to ensure meaningful access to the public housing program and its activities by persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). This part incorporates HUD’s Notice of Guidance to Federal Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, published December 19, 2003 in the Federal Register (“Notice of Guidance”).

PART I: NONDISCRIMINATION

2-I.A. OVERVIEW

Federal laws require PHAs to treat all applicants and tenant families equally, providing the same quality of service, regardless of family characteristics and background. Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, and disability. The PHA will comply fully with all federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws, and with rules and regulations governing fair housing and equal opportunity in housing and employment, including:

·        Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

·        Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (as amended by the Community Development Act of 1974 and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988)

·        Executive Order 11063

·        Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

·        The Age Discrimination Act of 1975

·        Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (to the extent that it applies, otherwise Section 504 and the Fair Housing Amendments govern)

·        Any applicable state laws or local ordinances and any legislation protecting individual rights of tenants, applicants, or staff that may subsequently be enacted

When more than one civil rights law applies to a situation, the laws will be read and applied together.

2-I.B. NONDISCRIMINATION

Federal regulations prohibit discrimination against certain protected classes. State and local requirements, as well as PHA policies, can prohibit discrimination against additional classes of people.

The PHA shall not discriminate because of race, color, sex, religion, familial status, age, disability or national origin (called “protected classes”).

Familial status includes children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18.  

PHA Policy

The PHA shall not discriminate because of race, color, sex, religion, familial status, disability, national origin, marital status or sexual orientation in the leasing, rental, or other disposition of housing or related facilities, including land, that is part of any project or projects under the PHA’s jurisdiction covered by a contract for annual contributions under the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, or in the use or occupancy thereof.

Posters and housing information are displayed in locations throughout the PHA’s office in such a manner as to be easily readable from a wheelchair.

To further its commitment to full compliance with applicable Civil Rights laws, the PHA will provide Federal/State/local information to public housing residents regarding "discrimination" and any recourse available to them if they believe they are victims of discrimination. Such information will be made available to them during the resident orientation session.

The PHA’s Homecrest Manor Apartments are accessible to persons with disabilities. Accessibility for the hearing impaired is provided by TDD.

The PHA will not use any of these factors to:

·        Deny to any family the opportunity to apply for housing, nor deny to any qualified applicant the opportunity to lease housing suitable to its needs

·        Provide housing that is different from that provided to others

·        Subject anyone to segregation or disparate treatment

·        Restrict a person’s access to any benefit enjoyed by others in connection with the housing program

·        Treat a person differently in determining eligibility or other requirements for admission

·        Steer an applicant or tenant toward or away from a particular area based on any of these factors

·        Deny anyone access to the same level of services

·        Deny anyone the opportunity to participate in a planning or advisory group that is an integral part of the housing program

·        Discriminate in the provision of residential real estate transactions

·        Discriminate against someone because they are related to or associated with a member of a protected class

·        Publish or cause to be published an advertisement or notice indicating the availability of housing that prefers or excludes persons who are members of a protected class

Providing Information to Families

The PHA must take steps to ensure that families are fully aware of all applicable civil rights laws. As part of the public housing orientation process, the PHA will provide information to public housing applicant families about civil rights requirements.

Discrimination Complaints

If an applicant or tenant family believes that any family member has been discriminated against by the PHA, the family should advise the PHA. HUD requires the PHA to make every reasonable attempt to determine whether the applicant’s or tenant family’s assertions have merit and take any warranted corrective action.

PHA Policy

Applicants or tenant families who believe that they have been subject to unlawful discrimination may notify the PHA in writing.

The PHA will attempt to remedy discrimination complaints made against the PHA.

The PHA will provide a copy of a discrimination complaint form to the complainant and provide them with information on how to complete and submit the form to HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO).

PART II: POLICIES RELATED TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

2-II.A. OVERVIEW

One type of disability discrimination prohibited by the Fair Housing Act is the refusal to make reasonable accommodation in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodation may be necessary to afford a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a program or dwelling under the program.

The PHA must ensure that persons with disabilities have full access to the PHA’s programs and services. This responsibility begins with the first inquiry of an interested family and continues through every programmatic area of the public housing program [24 CFR 8].

The PHA must provide a notice to each tenant that the tenant may, at any time during the tenancy, request reasonable accommodation for a handicap of a household member, including reasonable accommodation so that the tenant can meet lease requirements or other requirements of tenancy [24 CFR 966.7(b)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will ask all applicants and resident families if they require any type of accommodations, in writing, on the intake application, reexamination documents, and notices of adverse action by the PHA, by including the following language:

“Do you or any family member have a handicap or disability that would require a unit of special accommodations?”

2-II.B. Definition of REASONABLE Accommodation

A “reasonable accommodation” is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces. Since rules, policies practices and services may have a different effect on persons with disabilities than on other persons, treating persons with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling [Joint Statement of the Departments of HUD and Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act .

Federal regulations stipulate that requests for accommodations will be considered reasonable if they do not create an "undue financial and administrative burden" for the PHA, or result in a “fundamental alteration” in the nature of the program or service offered. A fundamental alteration is a modification that alters the essential nature of a provider’s operations.

Types of Reasonable Accommodations

When it is reasonable (see definition above and Section 2-II.E), the PHA shall accommodate the needs of a person with disabilities. Examples include but are not limited to:

·        Permitting applications and reexaminations to be completed by mail

·        Conducting home visits

·        Permitting a higher utility allowance for the unit if a person with disabilities requires the use of specialized equipment related to the disability

·        Modifying or altering a unit or physical system if such a modification or alteration is necessary to provide equal access to a person with a disability

·        Installing a ramp into a dwelling or building

·        Installing grab bars in a bathroom

·        Installing visual fire alarms for hearing impaired persons

·        Allowing a PHA-approved live-in aide to reside in the unit if that person is determined to be essential to the care of a person with disabilities, is not obligated for the support of the person with disabilities, and would not be otherwise living in the unit.

·        Providing a designated handicapped-accessible parking space

·        Allowing an assistance animal

·        Permitting an authorized designee or advocate to participate in the application or certification process and any other meetings with PHA staff

·        Displaying posters and other housing information in locations throughout the PHA's office in such a manner as to be easily readable from a wheelchair

2-II.C. Request for an ACCOMMODATION

If an applicant or participant indicates that an exception, change, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service is needed because of a disability, HUD requires that the PHA treat the information as a request for a reasonable accommodation, even if no formal request is made [Joint Statement of the Departments of HUD and Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act].

The family must explain what type of accommodation is needed to provide the person with the disability full access to the PHA’s programs and services.

If the need for the accommodation is not readily apparent or known to the PHA, the family must explain the relationship between the requested accommodation and the disability.

PHA Policy

The family must make its request for reasonable accommodations in writing. All requests or modifications of a unit will be verified with a reliable, knowledgeable, professional.

Requests for reasonable accommodations from a person with disabilities will be granted upon verification that they meet the need presented by the disability.

The PHA will require verification from a knowledgeable professional when a request for a home visit recertification is submitted.

Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation will be made for persons with a disability who require an advocate or accessible offices. A designee will be allowed to provide some information, but only with the permission of the person with the disability.

All PHA mailings will be made available in an accessible format upon request, as a reasonable accommodation.

Recertification by Mail

The PHA will permit the family to submit annual and interim recertification forms through the mail, when the PHA has determined that the request is necessary as a reasonable accommodation.

The mail-in packet will include notice to the family of the PHA’s deadline for returning the completed forms to the PHA.

If there is more than one adult member in the household, but only one is disabled, recertifications will not be processed through the mail. In such cases, the family may choose to have the PHA conduct the recertification by a home visit or to have the able adult family members come in for the appointment and then take the necessary forms home to the member with a disability for completion and signature.

Home Visits

When requested and where the need for reasonable accommodation has been established, the PHA will conduct home visits to residents to conduct annual and interim recertifications.

Requests for home visit recertifications must be received by the PHA at least 14 days before the scheduled appointment date in order for the request to be considered.

Other Accommodations

The PHA will refer families who have persons with disabilities to agencies in the community that offer services to persons with disabilities.

2-II.D. Verification of Disability

The regulatory civil rights definition for persons with disabilities is provided in Exhibit 2-1 at the end of this chapter. The definition of a person with a disability for the purpose of obtaining a reasonable accommodation is much broader than the HUD definition of disability which is used for waiting list preferences and income allowances.

Before providing an accommodation, the PHA must determine that the person meets the definition of a person with a disability, and that the accommodation will enhance the family’s access to the PHA’s programs and services.

If a person’s disability is obvious or otherwise known to the PHA, and if the need for the requested accommodation is also readily apparent or known, no further verification will be required [Joint Statement of the Departments of HUD and Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act].

If a family indicates that an accommodation is required for a disability that is not obvious or otherwise known to the PHA, the PHA must verify that the person meets the definition of a person with a disability, and that the limitations imposed by the disability require the requested accommodation.

When verifying a disability, the PHA will follow the verification policies provided in Chapter 7. All information related to a person’s disability will be treated in accordance with the confidentiality policies provided in Chapter 16 (Program Administration). In addition to the general requirements that govern all verification efforts, the following requirements apply when verifying a disability:

·        Third-party verification must be obtained from an individual identified by the family who is competent to make the determination. A doctor or other medical professional, a peer support group, a non-medical service agency, or a reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability may provide verification of a disability [Joint Statement of the Departments of HUD and Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act]

·        The PHA must request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability-related need for the accommodation. The PHA may not inquire about the nature or extent of any disability.

·        Medical records will not be accepted or retained in the participant file.

2-II.E. Approval/Denial of a Requested Accommodation [Joint Statement of the Departments of HUD and Justice: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act]

The PHA must approve a request for an accommodation if the following three conditions are met.

·        The request was made by or on behalf of a person with a disability.

·        There is a disability-related need for the accommodation.

·        The requested accommodation is reasonable, meaning it would not impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the PHA, or fundamentally alter the nature of the PHA’s operations.

Requests for accommodations must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors, such as the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the PHA at the time of the request, the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the family, and the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the family’s disability-related needs.

Before making a determination whether to approve the request, the PHA may enter into discussion and negotiation with the family, request more information from the family, or may require the family to sign a consent form so that the PHA may verify the need for the requested accommodation.

PHA Policy

After a request for an accommodation is presented, the PHA will respond, in writing, within 10 business days.

If the PHA denies a request for an accommodation because there is no relationship, or nexus, found between the disability and the requested accommodation, the notice will inform the family of the right to appeal the PHA’s decision through the grievance process (see Chapter 14).

If the PHA denies a request for an accommodation because it is not reasonable (it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden or fundamentally alter the nature of the PHA’s operations), the PHA will discuss with the family whether an alternative accommodation could effectively address the family’s disability-related needs without a fundamental alteration to the public housing program and without imposing an undue financial and administrative burden.

In determining whether accommodation would create an undue hardship, the following guidelines will apply:

·        The nature and cost of the accommodations needed;

·        The overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodations; and

·        The number of persons employed at such facility, the number of families likely to need such accommodation, the effect on expense and resources, or the likely impact on the operation of the facility as a result of the accommodation.

If the PHA believes that the family has failed to identify a reasonable alternative accommodation after interactive discussion and negotiation, the PHA will notify the family, in writing, of its determination within 10 business days from the date of the most recent discussion or communication with the family.  The notice will inform the family of the right to appeal the PHA’s decision through the grievance process (see Chapter 14).

2-II.F. Program Accessibility for Persons with Hearing or Vision Impairments

HUD regulations require the PHA to take reasonable steps to ensure that persons with disabilities related to hearing and vision have reasonable access to the PHA's programs and services [24 CFR 8.6].

At the initial point of contact with each applicant, the PHA shall inform all applicants of alternative forms of communication that can be used other than plain language paperwork.

PHA Policy

To meet the needs of persons with hearing impairments, TTD/TTY (text telephone display/teletype) communication will be available.

2-II.G. Physical Accessibility

The PHA must comply with a variety of regulations pertaining to physical accessibility, including the following.

·        PIH 2002-01 (HA), Accessibility Notice

·        Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

·        The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

·        The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968

·        The Fair Housing Act of 1988

The PHA’s policies concerning physical accessibility must be readily available to applicants and resident families. They can be found in three key documents.

·        This policy, the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy, describes the key policies that govern the PHA’s responsibilities with regard to physical accessibility.

·        Notice PIH 2002-01(HA) Accessibility Notice (which must be posted in the public housing offices in a conspicuous place) summarizes information about pertinent laws and implementing regulations related to non-discrimination and accessibility in federally-funded housing programs.

·        The PHA Plan provides information about self-evaluation, needs assessment, and transition plans.

The design, construction, or alteration of PHA facilities must conform to the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). Newly-constructed facilities must be designed to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. Alterations to existing facilities must be accessible to the maximum extent feasible, defined as not imposing an undue financial and administrative burden on the operations of the public housing program.

2-II.H. Denial or Termination of Assistance

A PHA’s decision to deny or terminate the assistance of a family that includes a person with disabilities is subject to consideration of reasonable accommodation [24 CFR 966.7].

When applicants with disabilities are denied assistance, the notice of denial must inform them of their right to request an informal hearing [24 CFR 960.208(a)].

When a family’s lease is terminated, the notice of termination must inform the family of their right to request a hearing in accordance with the PHA’s grievance process [24 CFR 966.4(l)(3)(ii)].

When reviewing reasonable accommodation requests, the PHA must consider whether reasonable accommodation will allow the family to overcome the problem that led to the PHA’s decision to deny or terminate assistance. If a reasonable accommodation will allow the family to meet the requirements, the PHA must make the accommodation [24 CFR 966.7].

In addition, the PHA must provide reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities to participate in the hearing process [24 CFR 966.56(h)].

EXHIBIT 2-1: DEFINITION OF A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY UNDER FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS [24 CFR Parts 8.3 and 100.201]

A person with a disability, as defined under federal civil rights laws, is any person who:

·        Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual, or

·        Has a record of such impairment, or

·        Is regarded as having such impairment

The phrase “physical or mental impairment” includes:

·        Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic or disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or

·        Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term “physical or mental impairment” includes, but is not limited to: such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction and alcoholism.

“Major life activities” includes, but is not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, and/or working.

“Has a record of such impairment” means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major live activities.

“Is regarded as having an impairment” is defined as having a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit one or more major life activities but is treated by a public entity (such as the PHA) as constituting such a limitation; has none of the impairments defined in this section but is treated by a public entity as having such an impairment; or has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, only as a result of the attitudes of others toward that impairment.

The definition of a person with disabilities does not include:

·        Current illegal drug users

·        People whose alcohol use interferes with the rights of others

·        Persons who objectively pose a direct threat or substantial risk of harm to others that cannot be controlled with a reasonable accommodation under the public housing program

The above definition of disability determines whether an applicant or participant is entitled to any of the protections of federal disability civil rights laws. Thus, a person who does not meet this definition of disability is not entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal civil rights and fair housing laws and regulations.

The HUD definition of a person with a disability is much narrower than the civil rights definition of disability. The HUD definition of a person with a disability is used for purposes of receiving the disabled family preference, the $400 elderly/disabled household deduction, the allowance for medical expenses, or the allowance for disability assistance expenses.

The definition of a person with a disability for purposes of granting a reasonable accommodation request is much broader than the HUD definition of disability. Many people will not qualify as a disabled person under the public housing program, yet an accommodation is needed to provide equal opportunity.

 

Chapter 3

ELIGIBILITY

INTRODUCTION

The PHA is responsible for ensuring that every individual and family admitted to the public housing program meets all program eligibility requirements. This includes any individual approved to join the family after the family has been admitted to the program. The family must provide any information needed by the PHA to confirm eligibility and determine the level of the family’s assistance.

To be eligible for the public housing program:

·        The applicant family must:

-        Qualify as a family as defined by HUD and the PHA.

-        Have income at or below HUD-specified income limits.

-        Qualify on the basis of citizenship or the eligible immigrant status of family members.

-        Provide social security number information for family members as required.

-        Consent to the PHA’s collection and use of family information as provided for in PHA-provided consent forms.

·        The PHA must determine that the current or past behavior of household members does not include activities that are prohibited by HUD or the PHA.

This chapter contains three parts:

Part I: Definitions of Family and Household Members. This part contains HUD and PHA definitions of family and household members and explains initial and ongoing eligibility issues related to these members.

Part II: Basic Eligibility Criteria. This part discusses income eligibility, and rules regarding citizenship, social security numbers, and family consent.

Part III: Denial of Admission. This part covers factors related to an applicant’s past or current conduct (e.g. criminal activity) that can cause the PHA to deny admission.

PART I: DEFINITIONS OF FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS

3-I.A. OVERVIEW

Some eligibility criteria and program rules vary depending upon the composition of the family requesting assistance. In addition, some requirements apply to the family as a whole and others apply to individual persons who will live in the public housing unit. This part provides information that is needed to correctly identify family and household members, and to apply HUD's eligibility rules.

3-I.B. FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD [24 CFR 5.403 and HUD-50058 IB, p. 13]

The terms family and household have different meanings in the public housing program.

Family

To be eligible for admission, an applicant must qualify as a family. A family may be a single person or a group of persons. Family as defined by HUD includes a family with a child or children, two or more elderly or disabled persons living together, one or more elderly or disabled persons living with one or more live-in aides, or a single person. The PHA has the discretion to determine if any other group of persons qualifies as a family.

PHA Policy

The PHA will admit qualified applicants only. An applicant is qualified if he or she meets the following criteria:

Is a family as defined in this chapter;

Heads a household where at least one member of the household is either a citizen or eligible non-citizen. (24 CFR Part 200 and Part 5, Subpart E).

Has an Annual Income at the time of admission that does not exceed the low or very low income limits for occupancy established by HUD and posted separately in the PHA offices.

The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 authorizes PHAs to admit families whose income does not exceed the low-income limit (80% of median area income) once the PHA has met the annual 40% targeted income requirement of extremely low-income families (families whose income does not exceed 30% of median area income).

Provides a Social Security number for all family members, age 6 or older, or will provide written certification that they do not have Social Security numbers;

Meets or exceeds the tenant Selection and Suitability Criteria as set forth in this policy.

Household

Household is a broader term that includes additional people who, with the PHA’s permission, live in a public housing unit, such as live-in aides, foster children, and foster adults.

3-I.C. FAMILY BREAK-UP AND REMAINING MEMBER OF TENANT FAMILY

Family Break-up

PHA Policy

When a family on the waiting list breaks up into two otherwise eligible families, only one of the new families may retain the original application date. Other former family members may make a new application with a new application date if the waiting list is open.

If a family breaks up into two otherwise eligible families while living in public housing, only one of the new families will continue to be assisted.

If a court determines the disposition of property between members of the applicant or resident family in a divorce or separation decree, the PHA will abide by the court's determination.

In the absence of a judicial decision or an agreement among the original family members, the PHA will determine which family retains their placement on the waiting list, or will continue in occupancy taking into consideration the following factors: (1) the interest of any minor children, including custody arrangements, (2) the interest of any ill, elderly, or disabled family members, (3) any possible risks to family members as a result of domestic violence or criminal activity, and (4) the recommendations of social service professionals.

Remaining Member of a Tenant Family [24 CFR 5.403]

The HUD definition of family includes the remaining member of a tenant family, which is a member of a resident family who remains in the unit when other members of the family have left the unit [PH Occ GB, p. 26]. Household members such as live-in aides, foster children, and foster adults do not qualify as remaining members of a family.

If dependents are the only “remaining members of a tenant family” and there is no family member able to assume the responsibilities of the head of household, see Chapter 6, Section 6-I.B, for the policy on “Caretakers for a Child.”

3-I.D. HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD [24 CFR 5.504(b)]

Head of household means the adult member of the family who is considered the head for purposes of determining income eligibility and rent. The head of household is responsible for ensuring that the family fulfills all of its responsibilities under the program, alone or in conjunction with a cohead or spouse.

PHA Policy

The family may designate any qualified family member as the head of household.

The head of household must have the legal capacity to enter into a lease under state and local law. A minor who is emancipated under state law may be designated as head of household.

3-I.E. SPOUSE, COHEAD, AND OTHER ADULT

A family may have a spouse or cohead, but not both [HUD-50058 IB, p. 13].

Spouse means the marriage partner of the head of household.

PHA Policy

The term “spouse” does not apply to friends, roommates, or significant others who are not marriage partners. A minor who is emancipated under state law may be designated as a spouse.

A cohead is an individual in the household who is equally responsible with the head of household for ensuring that the family fulfills all of its responsibilities under the program, but who is not a spouse. A family can have only one cohead.

PHA Policy

Minors who are emancipated under state law may be designated as a cohead.

Other adult means a family member, other than the head, spouse, or cohead, who is 18 years of age or older. Foster adults and live-in aides are not considered other adults [HUD-50058 IB, p. 14].

3-I.F. DEPENDENT [24 CFR 5.603]

A dependent is a family member who is under 18 years of age or a person of any age who is a person with a disability or a full-time student, except that the following persons can never be dependents: the head of household, spouse, cohead, foster children/adults and live-in aides. Identifying each dependent in the family is important because each dependent qualifies the family for a deduction from annual income as described in Chapter 6.

Joint Custody of Dependents

PHA Policy

Dependents that are subject to a joint custody arrangement will be considered a member of the family, if they live with the applicant or resident family 51 percent or more of the time.

When more than one applicant or assisted family (regardless of program) are claiming the same dependents as family members, the family with primary custody at the time of the initial examination or reexamination will be able to claim the dependents. If there is a dispute about which family should claim them, the PHA will make the determination based on available documents such as court orders, or an IRS return showing which family has claimed the child for income tax purposes.

3-I.G. FULL-TIME STUDENT [24 CFR 5.603]

A full-time student (FTS) is a person who is attending school or vocational training on a full-time basis. The time commitment or subject load that is needed to be full-time is defined by the educational institution.

Identifying each FTS is important because (1) each family member that is an FTS, other than the head, spouse, or cohead, qualifies the family for a dependent deduction and (2) the income of such an FTS is treated differently from the income of other family members.

3-I.H. ELDERLY AND NEAR-ELDERLY PERSONS, AND ELDERLY FAMILY

Elderly Persons

An elderly person is a person who is at least 62 years of age [24 CFR 5.100].

Near-Elderly Persons

A near-elderly person is a person who is at least 50 years of age but below the age of 62 [24 CFR 945.105].

Elderly Family

An elderly family is one in which the head, spouse, cohead, or sole member is an elderly person [24 CFR 5.403]. Identifying elderly families is important because these families qualify for special deductions from income as described in Chapter 6 and may qualify for a particular type of development as noted in Chapter 4.

3-I.I. PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AND DISABLED FAMILY [24 CFR 5.403]

Persons with Disabilities

Under the public housing program, special rules apply to persons with disabilities and to any family whose head, spouse, or cohead is a person with disabilities. The technical definitions of individual with handicaps and persons with disabilities are provided in Exhibit 3-1 at the end of this chapter. These definitions are used for a number of purposes including ensuring that persons with disabilities are not discriminated against based upon disability.

As discussed in Chapter 2, the PHA must make all aspects of the public housing program accessible to persons with disabilities and consider reasonable accommodations requested based upon a person’s disability.

Disabled Family

A disabled family is one in which the head, spouse, or cohead is a person with disabilities. Identifying disabled families is important because these families qualify for special deductions from income as described in Chapter 6 and may qualify for a particular type of development as noted in Chapter 4.

Even though persons with drug or alcohol dependencies are considered persons with disabilities for the purpose of non-discrimination, this does not prevent the PHA from denying admission for reasons related to alcohol and drug abuse following policies found in Part III of this chapter, or from enforcing the lease following the policies in Chapter 13.

3-I.J. GUESTS [24 CFR 5.100]

A guest is defined as a person temporarily staying in the unit with the consent of a tenant or other member of the household who has express or implied authority to so consent on behalf of the tenant.

The lease must provide that the tenant has the right to exclusive use and occupancy of the leased unit by the members of the household authorized to reside in the unit in accordance with the lease, including reasonable accommodation of their guests [24 CFR 966.4(d)]. The head of household is responsible for the conduct of visitors and guests, inside the unit as well as anywhere on or near PHA premises [24 CFR 966.4(f)].

PHA Policy

A resident family must notify the PHA when overnight guests will be staying in the unit. A guest can remain in the unit no longer than 14 consecutive days in a calendar year with prior PHA authorization. 

A family may request an exception to this policy for valid reasons (e.g., care of a relative recovering from a medical procedure expected to last 20 consecutive days). An exception will not be made unless the family can identify and provide documentation of the residence to which the guest will return.

Children who are subject to a joint custody arrangement or for whom a family has visitation privileges, that are not included as a family member because they live outside of the public housing unit more than 50 percent of the time, are not subject to the time limitations of guests as described above.

Former residents who have been evicted are not permitted as overnight guests.

Guests who represent the unit address as their residence address for receipt of benefits or other purposes will be considered unauthorized occupants. In addition, guests who remain in the unit beyond the allowable time limit will be considered unauthorized occupants, and their presence constitutes violation of the lease.

3-I.K. FOSTER CHILDREN AND FOSTER ADULTS

Foster adults are usually persons with disabilities, unrelated to the tenant family, who are unable to live alone [24 CFR 5.609(c)(2)].

The term foster child is not specifically defined by the regulations.

Foster children and foster adults that are living with an applicant or resident family are considered household members but not family members. The income of foster children/adults is not counted in family annual income and foster children/adults do not qualify for a dependent deduction [24 CFR 5.603 and HUD-50058 IB, pp. 13-14].

PHA Policy

A foster child is a child that is in the legal guardianship or custody of a state, county, or private adoption or foster care agency, yet is cared for by foster parents in their own homes, under some kind of short-term or long-term foster care arrangement with the custodial agency.

Children that are temporarily absent from the home as a result of placement in foster care are discussed in Section 3-I.L.

3-I.L. ABSENT FAMILY MEMBERS

Individuals may be absent from the family, either temporarily or permanently, for a variety of reasons including educational activities, placement in foster care, employment, and illness.

Definitions of Temporarily and Permanently Absent

PHA Policy

Generally an individual who is or is expected to be absent from the public housing unit for 180 consecutive days or less is considered temporarily absent and continues to be considered a family member. Generally an individual who is or is expected to be absent from the public housing unit for more than 180 consecutive days is considered permanently absent and no longer a family member. Exceptions to this general policy are discussed below.

Absent Students

PHA Policy

When someone who has been considered a family member attends school away from home, the person will continue to be considered a family member unless information becomes available to the PHA indicating that the student has established a separate household or the family declares that the student has established a separate household.

Absences Due to Placement in Foster Care [24 CFR 5.403]

Children temporarily absent from the home as a result of placement in foster care are considered members of the family.

PHA Policy

If a child has been placed in foster care, the PHA will verify with the appropriate agency whether and when the child is expected to be returned to the home. Unless the agency confirms that the child has been permanently removed from the home, the child will be counted as a family member.

Absent Head, Spouse, or Cohead

PHA Policy

An employed head, spouse, or cohead absent from the unit more than 180 consecutive days due to employment will continue to be considered a family member.

Individuals Confined for Medical Reasons

PHA Policy

An individual confined to a nursing home or hospital for a period of time not to exceed 180 days will be considered temporarily absent. A family member absent more than 180 days will be considered permanently absent and will no longer be considered a family member. 

If there is a question about the status of a family member, the PHA will request verification from a responsible medical professional and will use this determination. If the responsible medical professional cannot provide a determination, the person generally will be considered temporarily absent. The family may present evidence that the family member is confined on a permanent basis and request that the person not be considered a family member.

Return of Permanently Absent Family Members

PHA Policy

The family must request PHA approval for the return of any adult family members that the PHA has determined to be permanently absent. The individual is subject to the eligibility and screening requirements discussed elsewhere in this chapter.

3-I.M. LIVE-IN AIDE

Live-in aide means a person who resides with one or more elderly persons, or near-elderly persons, or persons with disabilities, and who: (1) is determined to be essential to the care and well-being of the persons, (2) is not obligated for the support of the persons, and (3) would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services [24 CFR 5.403].

The PHA must approve a live-in aide if needed as a reasonable accommodation in accordance with 24 CFR 8, to make the program accessible to and usable by a family member with disabilities.

A live-in aide is a member of the household, not the family, and the income of the aide is not considered in income calculations [24 CFR 5.609(c)(5)]. Relatives may be approved as live-in aides if they meet all of the criteria defining a live-in aide. However, a relative who serves as a live-in aide is not considered a family member and would not be considered a remaining member of a tenant family.

PHA Policy

A family’s request for a live-in aide must be made in writing. Written verification will be required from a reliable, knowledgeable professional such as a doctor, social worker, or case worker, that the live-in aide is essential for the care and well-being of the elderly, near-elderly, or disabled family member.

In addition, the family and live-in aide will be required to submit a certification stating that the live-in aide is (1) not obligated for the support of the person(s) needing the care, and (2) would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services.

The PHA will not approve a particular person as a live-in aide, and may withdraw such approval if [24 CFR 966.4(d)(3)(i)]:

The person commits fraud, bribery or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program;

The person has a history of drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity; or

The person currently owes rent or other amounts to the PHA or to another PHA in connection with Section 8 or public housing assistance under the 1937 Act.

Within 10 business days of receiving a request for a live-in aide, including all required documentation related to the request, the PHA will notify the family of its decision in writing.

PART II: BASIC ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

3-II.A. INCOME ELIGIBILITY AND TARGETING

Income Limits

HUD is required by law to set income limits that determine the eligibility of applicants for HUD’s assisted housing programs, including the public housing program. The income limits are published annually and are based on HUD estimates of median family income in a particular area or county, with adjustments for family size.

Types of Low-Income Families [24 CFR 5.603(b)]

Low-income family. A family whose annual income does not exceed 80 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

Very low-income family. A family whose annual income does not exceed 50 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

Extremely low-income family. A family whose annual income does not exceed 30 percent of the median income for the area, adjusted for family size.

HUD may establish income ceilings higher or lower than 30, 50, or 80 percent of the median income for an area if HUD finds that such variations are necessary because of unusually high or low family incomes.

Using Income Limits for Eligibility [24 CFR 960.201]

Income limits are used for eligibility only at admission. Eligibility is established by comparing a family's annual income with HUD’s published income limits. To be income-eligible, a family must be a low-income family.

Using Income Limits for Targeting [24 CFR 960.202(b)]

At least 40 percent of the families admitted to the PHA's public housing program during a PHA fiscal year from the PHA waiting list must be extremely low-income families. This is called the “basic targeting requirement”.

If admissions of extremely low-income families to the PHA’s housing choice voucher program during a PHA fiscal year exceed the 75 percent minimum targeting requirement for that program, such excess shall be credited against the PHA’s public housing basic targeting requirement for the same fiscal year.

The fiscal year credit for housing choice voucher program admissions that exceed the minimum voucher program targeting requirement must not exceed the lower of:

·        Ten percent of public housing waiting list admissions during the PHA fiscal year

·        Ten percent of waiting list admission to the PHA’s housing choice voucher program during the PHA fiscal year

·        The number of qualifying low-income families who commence occupancy during the fiscal year of public housing units located in census tracts with a poverty rate of 30 percent or more. For this purpose, qualifying low-income family means a low-income family other than an extremely low-income family.

For discussion of how income targeting is used in tenant selection, see Chapter 4.

3-II.B. CITIZENSHIP OR ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS [24 CFR 5, Subpart E]

Housing assistance is available only to individuals who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals (herein referred to as citizens and nationals), or noncitizens that have eligible immigration status. At least one family member must be a citizen, national, or noncitizen with eligible immigration status in order for the family to qualify for any level of assistance.

All applicant families must be notified of the requirement to submit evidence of their citizenship status when they apply. Where feasible, and in accordance with the PHA’s Limited English Proficiency Plan, the notice must be in a language that is understood by the individual if the individual is not proficient in English.

Declaration [24 CFR 5.508]

HUD requires each family member to declare whether the individual is a citizen, a national, or an eligible noncitizen, except those members who elect not to contend that they have eligible immigration status. Those who elect not to contend their status are considered to be ineligible noncitizens. For citizens, nationals and eligible noncitizens the declaration must be signed personally by the head, spouse, cohead, and any other family member 18 or older, and by a parent or guardian for minors. The family must identify in writing any family members who elect not to contend their immigration status (see Ineligible Noncitizens below). No declaration is required for live-in aides, foster children, or foster adults.

U.S. Citizens and Nationals

In general, citizens and nationals are required to submit only a signed declaration that claims their status. However, HUD regulations permit the PHA to request additional documentation of their status, such as a passport.

Eligible Noncitizens

In addition to providing a signed declaration, those declaring eligible noncitizen status must sign a verification consent form and cooperate with PHA efforts to verify their immigration status as described in Chapter 7. The documentation required for establishing eligible noncitizen status varies depending upon factors such as the date the person entered the U.S., the conditions under which eligible immigration status has been granted, the person’s age, and the date on which the family began receiving HUD-funded assistance.

Lawful residents of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau, together known as the Freely Associated States, or FAS, are eligible for housing assistance under section 141 of the Compacts of Free Association between the U.S. Government and the Governments of the FAS [Public Law 106-504].

Ineligible Noncitizens

Those noncitizens who do not wish to contend their immigration status are required to have their names listed on a noncontending family members listing, signed by the head, spouse, or cohead (regardless of citizenship status), indicating their ineligible immigration status. The PHA is not required to verify a family member’s ineligible status and is not required to report an individual’s unlawful presence in the U.S. to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Providing housing assistance to noncitizen students is prohibited [24 CFR 5.522]. This prohibition extends to the noncitizen spouse of a noncitizen student as well as to minor children who accompany or follow to join the noncitizen student. Such prohibition does not extend to the citizen spouse of a noncitizen student or to the children of the citizen spouse and noncitizen student. Such a family is eligible for prorated assistance as a mixed family.

Mixed Families

A family is eligible for admission as long as at least one member is a citizen, national, or eligible noncitizen. Families that include eligible and ineligible individuals are considered mixed families. Such families will be given notice that their assistance will be prorated, and that they may request a hearing if they contest this determination. See Chapter 6 for a discussion of how rents are prorated, and Chapter 14 for a discussion of informal hearing procedures.

Ineligible Families [24 CFR 5.514(d), (e), and (f)]

A PHA may elect to provide assistance to a family before the verification of the eligibility of the individual or one family member [24 CFR 5.512(b)]. Otherwise, no individual or family may be assisted prior to the affirmative establishment by the PHA that the individual or at least one family member is eligible [24 CFR 5.512(a)].

PHA Policy

In order to receive assistance, a family member must be a U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant. Individuals who are neither may elect not to contend their status. Eligible immigrants are persons who are in one of the six immigrant categories as specified by HUD.

When a PHA determines that an applicant family does not include any citizens, nationals, or eligible noncitizens, following the verification process, the family will be sent a written notice within 10 business days of the determination.

The notice will explain the reasons for the denial of assistance and will advise the family of its right to request an appeal to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or to request an informal hearing with the PHA.

Informal hearing procedures are contained in Chapter 14.

Timeframe for Determination of Citizenship Status [24 CFR 5.508(g)]

For new occupants joining the resident family the PHA must verify status at the first interim or regular reexamination following the person’s occupancy, whichever comes first.

If an individual qualifies for a time extension for the submission of required documents, the PHA must grant such an extension for no more than 30 days [24 CFR 5.508(h)].

Each family member is required to submit evidence of eligible status only one time during continuous occupancy.

PHA Policy

The PHA will verify the status of applicants at the time other eligibility factors are determined.

3-II.C. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS [24 CFR 5.216 and 5.218]

For every family member age 6 or older the family must provide documentation of a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or a certification stating that no SSN has been issued. If a family member who is required to execute a certification is less than 18 years old, the certification must be executed by the individual’s parent or guardian [24 CFR 5.216(j)]. Assistance cannot be provided to a family until all SSN documentation requirements are met. A detailed discussion of acceptable documentation is provided in Chapter 7.

If a new member who is at least six years of age is added to the family, the new member’s SSN documentation must be submitted at the family’s next interim or regular reexamination, whichever comes first. If any member of the family who is at least six years of age obtains a previously undisclosed SSN, or has been assigned a new SSN, the documentation must be submitted at the family’s next regularly scheduled reexamination.

The PHA must deny admission to an applicant family if they do not meet the SSN disclosure, documentation and verification, and certification requirements contained in 24 CFR 5.216.

3-II.D. FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION [24 CFR 5.230]

HUD requires each adult family member, and the head of household, spouse, or cohead, regardless of age, to sign form HUD-9886, Authorization for the Release of Information/

Privacy Act Notice, and other consent forms as needed to collect information relevant to the family’s eligibility and level of assistance. Chapter 7 provides detailed information concerning the consent forms and verification requirements.

The PHA must deny admission to the program if any member of the applicant family fails to sign and submit consent forms which allow the PHA to obtain information that the PHA has determined is necessary in administration of the public housing program [24 CFR 960.259(a) and (b)].

PART III: DENIAL OF ADMISSION

3-III.A. OVERVIEW

A family that does not meet the eligibility criteria discussed in Parts I and II, must be denied admission.

In addition, HUD requires or permits the PHA to deny admission based on certain types of current or past behaviors of family members as discussed in this part.

3-III.B. REQUIRED DENIAL OF ADMISSION [24 CFR 960.204]

PHAs are required to establish standards that prohibit admission of an applicant to the public housing program if they have engaged in certain criminal activity or if the PHA has reasonable cause to believe that a household member’s current use or pattern of use of illegal drugs, or current abuse or pattern of abuse of alcohol may threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

Where the statute requires that the PHA prohibit admission for a prescribed period of time after some disqualifying behavior or event, the PHA may choose to continue that prohibition for a longer period of time [24 CFR 960.203(c)(3)(ii)].

HUD requires the PHA to deny assistance in the following cases:

·        Any member of the household has been evicted from federally-assisted housing in the last 3 years for drug-related criminal activity. HUD permits but does not require the PHA to admit an otherwise-eligible family if the household member has completed a PHA-approved drug rehabilitation program or the circumstances which led to eviction no longer exist (e.g. the person involved in the criminal activity no longer lives in the household).

PHA Policy

In an effort to prevent drug related and other criminal activity, as well as other patterns of behavior that pose a threat to the health, safety or the right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents, the PHA will endeavor to screen applicants as thoroughly and fairly as possible.

If in the past the PHA initiated a lease termination, which may or may not have resulted in eviction for any reason cited under the One Strike Notice, for a family, as a prior resident of public housing, the PHA shall have the discretion to consider all circumstances of the case regarding the extent of participation by non-involved family members.

The PHA will not be obligated to ferret out information concerning a family's criminal activities as part of the processing of an application for assistance. Initial screening will be limited to routine inquiries of the family and any other information provided to the PHA regarding this matter. The inquiries will be standardized and directed to all applicants by inclusion in the application form.

            If, as a result, of the standardized inquiry, or the receipt of a verifiable referral, there is indication that the family or any family member is engaged in drug-related criminal or violent criminal activity, the PHA will conduct closer inquiry to determine whether the family should be denied admission.

If the screening indicates that any family member has been arrested or convicted for drug-related or violent criminal activity, the PHA shall obtain verification through police/court records.

·        The PHA determines that any household member is currently engaged in the use of illegal drugs. Drug means a controlled substance as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act [21 U.S.C. 802]. Currently engaged in the illegal use of a drug means a person has engaged in the behavior recently enough to justify a reasonable belief that there is continuing illegal drug use by a household member [24 CFR 960.205(b)(1)].

PHA Policy

Currently engaged in is defined as any use of illegal drugs during the previous six months.

·        The PHA has reasonable cause to believe that any household member's current use or pattern of use of illegal drugs, or current abuse or pattern of abuse of alcohol, may threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

PHA Policy

In determining reasonable cause, the PHA will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of convictions, arrests, or evictions of household members related to the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol. A conviction will be given more weight than an arrest. The PHA will also consider evidence from treatment providers or community-based organizations providing services to household members.    

·        Any household member has ever been convicted of drug-related criminal activity for the production or manufacture of methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted housing.

·        Any household member is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program.

3-III.C. OTHER PERMITTED REASONS FOR DENIAL OF ADMISSION

HUD permits, but does not require the PHA to deny admission for the reasons discussed in this section.

Criminal Activity [24 CFR 960.203 (b) and (c)]

Under the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS), PHAs that have adopted policies, implemented procedures and can document that they successfully screen out and deny admission to certain applicants with unfavorable criminal histories receive points.

The PHA is responsible for screening family behavior and suitability for tenancy. In doing so, the PHA may consider an applicant’s history of criminal activity involving crimes of physical violence to persons or property and other criminal acts which would adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of other tenants.

PHA Policy

If any household member is currently engaged in, or has engaged in any of the following criminal activities, within the past five years, the family will be denied admission.

Drug-related criminal activity, defined by HUD as the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution, or use of a drug, or the possession of a drug with intent to manufacture, sell, distribute or use the drug [24 CFR 5.100].

Violent criminal activity, defined by HUD as any criminal activity that has as one of its elements the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force substantial enough to cause, or be reasonably likely to cause, serious bodily injury or property damage [24 CFR 5.100].

Criminal activity that may threaten the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants [24 CFR 960.203(c)(3)].

Criminal activity that may threaten the health or safety of PHA staff, contractors, subcontractors, or agents.

Criminal sexual conduct, including but not limited to sexual assault, incest, open and gross lewdness, or child abuse.

Evidence of such criminal activity includes, but is not limited to any record of convictions, arrests, or evictions for suspected drug-related or violent criminal activity of household members within the past 5 years. A conviction for such activity will be given more weight than an arrest or an eviction.

In making its decision to deny assistance, the PHA will consider the factors discussed in Section 3-III.E. Upon consideration of such factors, the PHA may, on a case-by-case basis, decide not to deny assistance.

Previous Behavior [960.203(c) and (d) and PH Occ GB, p. 48]

HUD authorizes the PHA to deny admission based on relevant information pertaining to the family’s previous behavior and suitability for tenancy.

In the event of the receipt of unfavorable information with respect to an applicant, consideration must be given to the time, nature, and extent of the applicant’s conduct (including the seriousness of the offense).

PHA Policy

The PHA will deny admission to an applicant family if the PHA determines that the family:

Has a pattern of unsuitable past performance in meeting financial obligations, including rent within the past five years

Has a pattern of disturbance of neighbors, destruction of property, or living or housekeeping habits at prior residences within the past five years which may adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of other tenants

Has a pattern of eviction from housing or termination from residential programs within the past five years (considering relevant circumstances)

Owes rent or other amounts to this or any other PHA or owner in connection with any assisted housing program

Misrepresented or does not provide complete information related to eligibility, including income, award of preferences for admission, expenses, family composition or rent

Has committed fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt or criminal act in connection with any federal housing program

Has engaged in or threatened violent or abusive behavior toward PHA personnel

Abusive or violent behavior towards PHA personnel includes verbal as well as physical abuse or violence. Use of racial epithets, or other language, written or oral, that is customarily used to intimidate may be considered abusive or violent behavior.

Threatening refers to oral or written threats or physical gestures that communicate intent to abuse or commit violence.

In making its decision to deny admission, the PHA will consider the factors discussed in Section 3-III.E. Upon consideration of such factors, the PHA may, on a case-by-case basis, decide not to deny admission.

The PHA will consider the existence of mitigating factors, such as loss of employment or other financial difficulties, before denying admission to an applicant based on the failure to meet prior financial obligations.

3-III.D. SCREENING

Screening for Eligibility

PHAs are authorized to obtain criminal conviction records from law enforcement agencies to screen applicants for admission to the public housing program. This authority assists the PHA in complying with HUD requirements and PHA policies to deny assistance to applicants who are engaging in or have engaged in certain criminal activities. In order to obtain access to the records the PHA must require every applicant family to submit a consent form signed by each adult household member [24 CFR 5.903].

The PHA may not pass along to the applicant the costs of a criminal records check [24 CFR 960.204(d)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will perform criminal background checks through local law enforcement for all adult household members.

If the results of the criminal background check indicate there may have been past criminal activity, but the results are inconclusive, the PHA will request a fingerprint card and will request information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

PHAs are required to perform criminal background checks necessary to determine whether any household member is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender program in the state where the housing is located, as well as in any other state where a household member is known to have resided [24 CFR 960.204(a)(4)].

If the PHA proposes to deny admission based on a criminal record or on lifetime sex offender registration information, the PHA must notify the household of the proposed action and must provide the subject of the record and the applicant a copy of the record and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information prior to a denial of admission [24 CFR 5.903(f) and 5.905(d)].

Obtaining Information from Drug Treatment Facilities [24 CFR 960.205]

HUD authorizes PHAs to request and obtain information from drug abuse treatment facilities concerning applicants. Specifically, the PHA may require each applicant to submit for all household members who are at least 18 years of age, and for each family head, spouse, or cohead regardless of age, one or more consent forms signed by such household members that requests any drug abuse treatment facility to inform the PHA whether the drug abuse treatment facility has reasonable cause to believe that the household member is currently engaging in illegal drug use.

Drug Abuse Treatment Facility means an entity that holds itself out as providing, and provides, diagnosis, treatment, or referral for treatment with respect to the illegal drug use, and is either an identified unit within a general care facility, or an entity other than a general medical care facility.

Currently engaging in illegal use of a drug means illegal use of a drug that occurred recently enough to justify a reasonable belief that there is continuing illegal drug use by a household member.

Any consent form used for the purpose of obtaining information from a drug abuse treatment facility to determine whether a household member is currently engaging in illegal drug use must expire automatically after the PHA has made a final decision to either approve or deny the admission of such person.

Any charges incurred by the PHA for information provided from a drug abuse treatment facility may not be passed on to the applicant or tenant.

If the PHA chooses to obtain such information, it must abide by the HUD requirements for records management and confidentiality as described in 24 CFR 960.205(f).

PHA Policy

The PHA will obtain information from drug abuse treatment facilities to determine whether any applicant family’s household members are currently engaging in illegal drug activity only when the PHA has determined that the family will be denied admission based on a family member’s drug-related criminal activity, and the family claims that the culpable family member has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.

Screening for Suitability as a Tenant [24 CFR 960.203(c)]

The PHA is responsible for the screening and selection of families to occupy public housing units. The PHA may consider all relevant information. Screening is important to public housing communities and program integrity, and to ensure that assisted housing is provided to those families that will adhere to lease obligations.

PHA Policy

The PHA will consider the family’s history with respect to the following factors:

Payment of rent and utilities

Caring for a unit and premises

Respecting the rights of other residents to the peaceful enjoyment of their housing

Criminal activity that is a threat to the health, safety, or property of others

Behavior of all household members as related to the grounds for denial as detailed in Sections 3-III. B and C

Compliance with any other essential conditions of tenancy

Resources Used to Check Applicant Suitability [PH Occ GB, pp. 47-56]

PHAs have a variety of resources available to them for determination of the suitability of applicants. Generally, PHAs should reject applicants who have recent behavior that would warrant lease termination for a public housing resident.

PHA Policy

In order to determine the suitability of applicants the PHA will examine applicant history for the past two years. Such background checks will include:

Past Performance in Meeting Financial Obligations, Especially Rent

PHA and landlord references for the past two years, gathering information about past performance meeting rental obligations such as rent payment record, late payment record and whether the PHA/landlord ever began or completed lease termination for non-payment, PHAs and landlords will be asked if they would rent to the applicant family again.

If an applicant has no rental payment history the PHA will check court records of eviction actions and other financial judgments, and credit reports. A lack of credit history will not disqualify someone from becoming a public housing resident, but a poor credit rating may.

Applicants with no rental payment history will also be asked to provide the PHA with personal references.

If previous landlords or the utility company do not respond to requests from the PHA, the applicant may provide other documentation that demonstrates their ability to meet financial obligations (e.g. rent receipts, cancelled checks, etc.)

Disturbances of Neighbors, Destruction of Property or Living or Housekeeping Habits at Prior Residences that May Adversely Affect Health, Safety, or Welfare of Other Tenants, or Cause Damage to the Unit or the Development

PHA and landlord references for the past two years, gathering information on whether the applicant kept a unit clean, safe and sanitary; whether they violated health or safety codes; whether any damage was done by the applicant to a current or previous unit or the development, and, if so, how much the repair of the damage cost; whether the applicant’s housekeeping caused insect or rodent infestation; and whether the neighbors complained about the applicant or whether the police were ever called because of disturbances.

Police and court records within the past two years will be used to check for any evidence of disturbance of neighbors or destruction of property that might have resulted in arrest or conviction.

A personal reference may be requested to complete a verification of the applicant’s ability to care for the unit and avoid disturbing neighbors if no other documentation is available.

Home visits may be used to determine the applicant’s ability to care for the unit. 

3-III.E. CRITERIA FOR DECIDING TO DENY ADMISSION

Evidence

PHA Policy

The PHA will use the concept of the preponderance of the evidence as the standard for making all admission decisions.

Preponderance of the evidence is defined as evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. Preponderance of the evidence may not be determined by the number of witnesses, but by the greater weight of all evidence.

Consideration of Circumstances [24 CFR 960.203(c)(3) and (d)]

HUD authorizes the PHA to consider all relevant circumstances when deciding whether to deny admission based on a family’s past history except in the situations for which denial of admission is mandated (see Section 3-III.B).

In the event the PHA receives unfavorable information with respect to an applicant, consideration must be given to the time, nature, and extent of the applicant’s conduct (including the seriousness of the offense). In a manner consistent with its policies, PHAs may give consideration to factors which might indicate a reasonable probability of favorable future conduct.

PHA Policy

The PHA will consider the following factors prior to making its decision:

The seriousness of the case, especially with respect to how it would affect other residents

The effects that denial of admission may have on other members of the family who were not involved in the action or failure

The extent of participation or culpability of individual family members, including whether the culpable family member is a minor or a person with disabilities

The length of time since the violation occurred, the family’s recent history and the likelihood of favorable conduct in the future

Evidence of the applicant family’s participation in or willingness to participate in social service or other appropriate counseling service programs

In the case of drug or alcohol abuse, whether the culpable household member is participating in or has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program or has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully

The PHA will require the applicant to submit evidence of the household member’s current participation in or successful completion of a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, or evidence of otherwise having been rehabilitated successfully.

Removal of a Family Member's Name from the Application [24 CFR 960.203(c)(3)(i)]

HUD permits PHAs to impose as a condition of admission, a requirement that family members who participated in or were culpable for an action or failure to act which warrants denial of admission, to not reside in the unit.

PHA Policy

As a condition of receiving assistance, a family may agree to remove the culpable family member from the application. In such instances, the head of household must certify that the family member will not be permitted to visit or to stay as a guest in the public housing unit.

After admission to the program, the family must present evidence of the former family member’s current address upon PHA request.

Reasonable Accommodation [PH Occ GB, pp. 58-60]

If the family includes a person with disabilities, the PHA’s decision concerning denial of admission is subject to consideration of reasonable accommodation in accordance with 24 CFR Part 8.

PHA Policy

If the family indicates that the behavior of a family member with a disability is the reason for the proposed denial of admission, the PHA will determine whether the behavior is related to the disability. If so, upon the family’s request, the PHA will determine whether alternative measures are appropriate as a reasonable accommodation. The PHA will only consider accommodations that can reasonably be expected to address the behavior that is the basis of the proposed denial of admission. See Chapter 2 for a discussion of reasonable accommodation.

3-III.F. NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY OR DENIAL

The PHA will notify an applicant family of its final determination of eligibility in accordance with the policies in Section 4-III.E.

If a PHA uses a criminal record or sex offender registration information obtained under 24 CFR 5, Subpart J, as the basis of a denial, a copy of the record must precede the notice to deny, with an opportunity for the applicant to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information before the PHA can move to deny the application. In addition, a copy of the record must be provided to the subject of the record [24 CFR 5.903(f) and 5.905(d)].

PHA Policy

If, based on a criminal record or sex offender registration information an applicant family appears to be ineligible, the PHA will notify the family in writing of the proposed denial The family will be given 10 business days to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information.

Notice requirements related to denying admission to noncitizens are contained in Section 3-II.B.

 

EXHIBIT 3-1: DETAILED DEFINITIONS RELATED TO DISABILITIES

Person with Disabilities [24 CFR 5.403]

The term person with disabilities means a person who has any of the following types of conditions.

·        Has a disability, as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 423(d)(1)(A), which reads:

Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months

In the case of an individual who has attained the age of 55 and is blind (within the meaning of “blindness” as defined in section 416(i)(1) of this title), inability by reason of such blindness to engage in substantial gainful activity, requiring skills or ability comparable to those of any gainful activity in which he has previously engaged with some regularity and over a substantial period of time.

·        Has a developmental disability as defined in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act [42 U.S.C.6001(8)], which defines developmental disability in functional terms as:

A severe, chronic disability of a person 5 years of age or older which:

-          Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments

-          Is manifested before the person attains age twenty-two

-          Is likely to continue indefinitely

-          Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: (i) self-care, (ii) receptive and responsive language, (iii) learning, (iv) mobility, (v) self-direction, (vi) capacity for independent living, and (vii) economic self-sufficiency

-          Reflects the person’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services which are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated; except that such term, when applied to infants and young children, means individuals from birth to age 5, inclusive, who have substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired conditions with a high probability of resulting in developmental disabilities if services are not provided.”

·        Has a physical, mental, or emotional impairment that is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration; substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently, and is of such a nature that the ability to live independently could be improved by more suitable housing conditions.

People with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or any conditions arising from the etiologic agent for AIDS are not excluded from this definition.

A person whose disability is based solely on any drug or alcohol dependence does not qualify as a person with disabilities for the purposes of this program.

For purposes of reasonable accommodation and program accessibility for persons with disabilities, the term person with disabilities refers to an individual with handicaps.

Individual with Handicaps [24 CFR 8.3]

Individual with handicaps means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. The term does not include any individual who is an alcoholic or drug abuser whose current use of alcohol or drugs prevents the individual from participating in the program or activity in question, or whose participation, by reason of such current alcohol or drug abuse, would constitute a direct threat to property or the safety of others. As used in this definition, the phrase:

(1)   Physical or mental impairment includes:

(a)    Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine

(b)   Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction and alcoholism.

(2)   Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

(3)   Has a record of such an impairment means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

(4)   Is regarded as having an impairment means:

(a)    Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit one or more major life activities but that is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation

(b)   Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment

(c)    Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (a) of this section but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment

Chapter 4

APPLICATIONS, WAITING LIST AND TENANT SELECTION

INTRODUCTION

When a family wishes to reside in public housing, the family must submit an application that provides the PHA with the information needed to determine the family’s eligibility. HUD requires the PHA to place all eligible families that apply for public housing on a waiting list. When a unit becomes available, the PHA must select families from the waiting list in accordance with HUD requirements and PHA policies as stated in its Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) and its annual plan.

The PHA is required to adopt a clear approach to accepting applications, placing families on the waiting list, and selecting families from the waiting list, and must follow this approach consistently. The actual order in which families are selected from the waiting list can be affected if a family has certain characteristics designated by HUD or the PHA to receive preferential treatment.

HUD regulations require that the PHA comply with all equal opportunity requirements and it must affirmatively further fair housing goals in the administration of the program [24 CFR 960.103, PH Occ GB p. 13].  Adherence to the selection policies described in this chapter ensures that the PHA will be in compliance with all relevant fair housing requirements, as described in Chapter 2.

This chapter describes HUD and PHA policies for taking applications, managing the waiting list and selecting families from the waiting list. The PHAs policies for assigning unit size and making unit offers are contained in Chapter 5. Together, Chapters 4 and 5 of the ACOP comprise the PHA’s Tenant Selection and Assignment Plan (TSAP).

The policies outlined in this chapter are organized into three sections, as follows:

Part I: The Application Process. This part provides an overview of the application process, and discusses how applicants can obtain and submit applications.  It also specifies how the PHA will handle the applications it receives.

Part II: Managing the Waiting List. This part presents the policies that govern how the PHA’s waiting list is structured, when it is opened and closed, and how the public is notified of the opportunity to apply for public housing. It also discusses the process the PHA will use to keep the waiting list current.

Part III: Tenant Selection. This part describes the policies that guide the PHA in selecting families from the waiting list as units become available. It also specifies how in-person interviews will be used to ensure that the PHA has the information needed to make a final eligibility determination.

PART I: THE APPLICATION PROCESS

4-I.A. OVERVIEW

This part describes the policies that guide the PHA’s efforts to distribute and accept applications, and to make preliminary determinations of applicant family eligibility that affect placement of the family on the waiting list. This part also describes the PHA’s obligation to ensure the accessibility of the application process.

4-I.B. APPLYING FOR ASSISTANCE

Any family that wishes to reside in public housing must apply for admission to the program [24 CFR 1.4(b)(2)(ii), 24 CFR 960.202(a)(2)(iv), and PH Occ GB, p. 68]. HUD permits the PHA to determine the format and content of its applications, as well how such applications will be made available to interested families and how applications will be accepted by the PHA.

PHA Policy

Families who wish to apply for any of the PHA’s programs must complete a written application form when application-taking is open. Applications will be made available in an accessible format upon request from a person with a disability. Families may obtain application forms from the PHA’s office during normal business hours.

Persons with disabilities may call the PHA to receive an application through the mail or make other arrangements to complete their pre-application.

Completed applications must be returned to the PHA in person during normal business hours. Applications must be complete in order to be accepted by the PHA for processing.

An application is considered complete when all questions on the application have been addressed, a two year residential history has been established, the application has been signed by adult members of the household and signed and dated by a member of the PHA.  

4-I.C. ACCESSIBILITY OF THE APPLICATION PROCESS

The PHA must take a variety of steps to ensure that the application process is accessible to those people who might have difficulty complying with the normal, standard PHA application process.

Disabled Populations [24 CFR 8; PH Occ GB, p. 68]

The PHA must provide reasonable accommodation to the needs of individuals with disabilities. The application-taking facility and the application process must be fully accessible, or the PHA must provide an alternate approach that provides equal access to the application process. Chapter 2 provides a full discussion of the PHA’s policies related to providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

4-I.D. PLACEMENT ON THE WAITING LIST

The PHA must review each completed application received and make a preliminary assessment of the family’s eligibility. The PHA must place on the waiting list families for whom the list is open unless the PHA determines the family to be ineligible. Where the family is determined to be ineligible, the PHA must notify the family in writing [24 CFR 960.208(a); PH Occ GB, p. 41]. Where the family is not determined to be ineligible, the family will be placed on a waiting list of applicants.

No applicant has a right or entitlement to be listed on the waiting list, or to any particular position on the waiting list.

Ineligible for Placement on the Waiting List

PHA Policy

If the PHA can determine from the information provided that a family is ineligible, the family will not be placed on the waiting list. Where a family is determined to be ineligible, the PHA will send written notification of the ineligibility determination. The notice will specify the reasons for ineligibility, and will inform the family of its right to request an informal hearing and explain the process for doing so (see Chapter 14).

Eligible for Placement on the Waiting List

PHA Policy

Placement on the waiting list does not indicate that the family is, in fact, eligible for admission. A final determination of eligibility and qualification for preferences will be made when the family is selected from the waiting list.

Applicants will be placed on the waiting list according to the date and time their complete application is received by the PHA.

The PHA will assign families on the waiting list according to the bedroom size for which a family qualifies as established in its occupancy standards (see Chapter 5). Families may be placed on the waiting list for a unit size smaller than designated by the occupancy guidelines (as long as the unit is not overcrowded according to PHA standards and local codes).

PART II: MANAGING THE WAITING LIST

4-II.A. OVERVIEW

The PHA must have policies regarding the type of waiting list it will utilize as well as the various aspects of organizing and managing the waiting list of applicant families. This includes opening the list to new applicants, closing the list to new applicants, notifying the public of waiting list openings and closings, updating waiting list information, purging the list of families that are no longer interested in or eligible for public housing, and conducting outreach to ensure a sufficient number of applicants.

In addition, HUD imposes requirements on how the PHA may structure its waiting list and how families must be treated if they apply for public housing at a PHA that administers more than one assisted housing program.

4-II.B. ORGANIZATION OF THE WAITING LIST

The PHA’s public housing waiting list must be organized in such a manner to allow the PHA to accurately identify and select families in the proper order, according to the admissions policies described in this ACOP.

PHA Policy

The waiting list will contain the following information for each applicant listed:

Names of head and spouse

Names of adult members and age of all members

Number of family members (used to estimate bedroom size needed)

Street address and phone numbers

Mailing address (If PO Box or other permanent address)

Annual income

Source(s) of income received by household members to determine preference qualification

Information regarding request for reasonable accommodation or for accessible unit

Social Security Numbers

Race/ethnicity

Arrests/Convictions for Drug Related or Violent Criminal Activity

Previous address

Names and address of current and previous landlords

Emergency contact person and address

Questions regarding previous participation in HUD programs

The PHA may adopt one community-wide waiting list or site-based waiting lists. The PHA must obtain approval from HUD through submission of its Annual Plan before it may offer site-based waiting lists.  Site-based waiting lists allow families to select the development where they wish to reside and must be consistent with all applicable civil rights and fair housing laws and regulations [24 CFR 903.7(b)(2)].

HUD directs that a family that applies to reside in public housing must be offered the opportunity to be placed on the waiting list for any tenant-based or project-based voucher or moderate rehabilitation program that the PHA operates if 1) the other programs’ waiting lists are open, and 2) the family is qualified for the other programs [24 CFR 982.205(a)(2)(i)].

HUD permits, but does not require, that PHAs maintain a single merged waiting list for their public housing, Section 8, and other subsidized housing programs [24 CFR 982.205(a)(1)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will not merge the public housing waiting list with the waiting list for any other program the PHA operates.

4-II.C. OPENING AND CLOSING THE WAITING LIST

Closing the Waiting List

The PHA is permitted to close the waiting list, in whole or in part, if it has an adequate pool of families to fill its developments. The PHA may close the waiting list completely, or restrict intake by preference, type of project, or by size and type of dwelling unit. [PH Occ GB, p. 31].

PHA Policy

The PHA, at its discretion, may restrict application intake, suspend application intake, and close waiting lists in whole or in part.

The decision to close the waiting list will be based on the number of applications available for a particular size and type of unit and the ability of the PHA to house an applicant in an appropriate unit within one year.

Reopening the Waiting List

If the waiting list has been closed, it may be reopened at any time. The PHA should publish a notice in local newspapers of general circulation, minority media, and other suitable media outlets that the PHA is reopening the waiting list. Such notice must comply with HUD fair housing requirements. The PHA should specify who may apply, and where and when applications will be received.

PHA Policy

            When the PHA opens the waiting list, the PHA will advertise through public notice.

            The notice will contain:

·        The dates, times, and the locations where families may apply.

·        The programs for which applications will be taken.

·        A brief description of the program.

The notices will be made in an accessible format if requested. They will provide potential applicants with information that includes the PHA address and telephone number, how to submit an application, information on eligibility requirements.

Upon request from a person with a disability, additional time will be given as an accommodation for submission of an application after the closing deadline. This accommodation is to allow persons with disabilities the opportunity to submit an application in cases when a social service organization provides inaccurate or untimely information about the closing date.

4-II.D. FAMILY OUTREACH [24 CFR 903.2(d); 24 CFR 903.7(a) and (b)]

The PHA should conduct outreach as necessary to ensure that the PHA has a sufficient number of applicants on the waiting list to fill anticipated vacancies and to assure that the PHA is affirmatively furthering fair housing and complying with the Fair Housing Act.

Because HUD requires the PHA to serve a specified percentage of extremely low income families, the PHA may need to conduct special outreach to ensure that an adequate number of such families apply for public housing.

PHA outreach efforts must comply with fair housing requirements. This includes:

·        Analyzing the housing market area and the populations currently being served to identify underserved populations

·        Ensuring that outreach efforts are targeted to media outlets that reach eligible populations that are underrepresented in the program

·        Avoiding outreach efforts that prefer or exclude people who are members of a protected class

PHA outreach efforts must be designed to inform qualified families about the availability of units under the program. These efforts may include, as needed, any of the following activities:

·        Submitting press releases to local newspapers, including minority newspapers

·        Developing informational materials and flyers to distribute to other agencies

·        Providing application forms to other public and private agencies that serve the low income population

·        Developing partnerships with other organizations that serve similar populations, including agencies that provide services for persons with disabilities

4-II.E. REPORTING CHANGES IN FAMILY CIRCUMSTANCES

PHA Policy

While the family is on the waiting list, the family must inform the PHA of changes in family size or composition, preference status, or contact information, including current residence, mailing address, and phone number. The changes must be submitted in writing.

Changes in an applicant's circumstances while on the waiting list may affect the family's qualification for a particular bedroom size or entitlement to a preference. When an applicant reports a change that affects their placement on the waiting list, the waiting list will be updated accordingly.

4-II.F. UPDATING THE WAITING LIST

HUD requires the PHA to establish policies to use when removing applicant names from the waiting list [24 CFR 960.202(a)(2)(iv)].

Purging the Waiting List

The decision to withdraw an applicant family that includes a person with disabilities from the waiting list is subject to reasonable accommodation. If the applicant did not respond to the PHA’s request for information or updates because of the family member’s disability, the PHA must, upon the family’s request, reinstate the applicant family to their former position on the waiting list as a reasonable accommodation [24 CFR 8.4(a), 24 CFR 100.204(a), and PH Occ GB, p. 39 and 40]. See Chapter 2 for further information regarding reasonable accommodations.

PHA Policy

The waiting list will be updated as needed to ensure that all applicants and applicant information is current and timely.

To update the waiting list, the PHA will send an update request via first class mail to each family on the waiting list to determine whether the family continues to be interested in, and to qualify for, the program. This update request will be sent to the last address that the PHA has on record for the family. The update request will provide a deadline by which the family must respond and will state that failure to respond will result in the applicant’s name being removed from the waiting list.

If the family fails to respond by the deadline date, the family will be removed from the waiting list without further notice.

If the notice is returned by the post office the applicant will be removed from the waiting list without further notice.

Removal from the Waiting List

PHA Policy

The PHA will remove applicants from the waiting list if they have requested that their name be removed. In such cases no informal hearing is required.

If the PHA determines that the family is not eligible for admission (see Chapter 3) at any time while the family is on the waiting list, the family will be removed from the waiting list.

If a family is removed from the waiting list because the PHA has determined the family is not eligible for admission, a notice will be sent to the family’s address of record as well as to any alternate address provided on the initial application. The notice will state the reasons the family was removed from the waiting list and will inform the family how to request an informal hearing regarding the PHA’s decision (see Chapter 14) [24 CFR 960.208(a)].

PART III: TENANT SELECTION

4-III.A. OVERVIEW

The PHA must establish tenant selection policies for families being admitted to public housing [24 CFR 960.201(a)].  The PHA must not require any specific income or racial quotas for any developments [24 CFR 903.2(d)].  The PHA must not assign persons to a particular section of a community or to a development or building based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin for purposes of segregating populations [24 CFR 1.4(b)(1)(iii) and 24 CFR 903.2(d)(1)].

The order in which families will be selected from the waiting list depends on the selection method chosen by the PHA and is impacted in part by any selection preferences that the family qualifies for. The availability of units also may affect the order in which families are selected from the waiting list.

The PHA must maintain a clear record of all information required to verify that the family is selected from the waiting list according to the PHA’s selection policies [24 CFR 960.206(e)(2)].  The PHA’s policies must be posted any place where the PHA receives applications. The PHA must provide a copy of its tenant selection policies upon request to any applicant or tenant. The PHA may charge the family for providing a copy of its tenant selection policies [24 CFR 960.202(c)(2)].

PHA Policy

When an applicant or resident family requests a copy of the PHA’s tenant selection policies, the PHA will provide copies to them free of charge.

4-III.B. SELECTION METHOD

PHAs must describe the method for selecting applicant families from the waiting list, including the system of admission preferences that the PHA will use.

Local Preferences [24 CFR 960.206]

PHAs are permitted to establish local preferences and to give priority to serving families that meet those criteria. HUD specifically authorizes and places restrictions on certain types of local preferences. HUD also permits the PHA to establish other local preferences, at its discretion. Any local preferences established must be consistent with the PHA plan and the consolidated plan, and must be based on local housing needs and priorities that can be documented by generally accepted data sources [24 CFR 960.206(a)].

Income Targeting Requirement [24 CFR 960.202(b)]

HUD requires that extremely low-income (ELI) families make up at least 40% of the families admitted to public housing during the PHA’s fiscal year. ELI families are those with annual incomes at or below 30% of the area median income. To ensure this requirement is met, the PHA may skip non-ELI families on the waiting list in order to select an ELI family.

If a PHA also operates a housing choice voucher (HCV) program, admissions of extremely low-income families to the PHA’s HCV program during a PHA fiscal year that exceed the 75% minimum target requirement for the voucher program, shall be credited against the PHA’s basic targeting requirement in the public housing program for the same fiscal year. However, under these circumstances the fiscal year credit to the public housing program must not exceed the lower of: (1) ten percent of public housing waiting list admissions during the PHA fiscal year; (2) ten percent of waiting list admissions to the PHA’s housing choice voucher program during the PHA fiscal year; or (3) the number of qualifying low-income families who commence occupancy during the fiscal year of PHA public housing units located in census tracts with a poverty rate of 30 percent or more. For this purpose, qualifying low-income family means a low-income family other than an extremely low-income family.

Mixed Population Developments [24 CFR 960.407]

A mixed population development is a public housing development or portion of a development that was reserved for elderly families and disabled families at its inception (and has retained that character) or the PHA at some point after its inception obtained HUD approval to give preference in tenant selection for all units in the development (or portion of a development) to elderly and disabled families [24 CFR 960.102]. Elderly family means a family whose head, spouse, cohead, or sole member is a person who is at least 62 years of age. Disabled family means a family whose head, spouse, cohead, or sole member is a person with disabilities [24 CFR 5.403]. The PHA must give elderly and disabled families equal preference in selecting these families for admission to mixed population developments. The PHA may not establish a limit on the number of elderly or disabled families that may occupy a mixed population development. In selecting elderly and disabled families to fill these units, the PHA must first offer the units that have accessibility features for families that include a person with a disability and require the accessibility features of such units. The PHA may not discriminate against elderly or disabled families that include children (Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988).

Units Designated for Elderly or Disabled Families [24 CFR 945]

The PHA may designate projects or portions of a public housing project specifically for elderly or disabled families. The PHA must have a HUD-approved allocation plan before the designation may take place.

Among the designated developments, the PHA must also apply any preferences that it has established. If there are not enough elderly families to occupy the units in a designated elderly development, the PHA may allow near-elderly families to occupy the units [24 CFR 945.303(c)(1)]. Near-elderly family means a family whose head, spouse, or cohead is at least 50 years old, but is less than 62 [24 CFR 5.403].

If there are an insufficient number of elderly families and near-elderly families for the units in a development designated for elderly families, the PHA must make available to all other families any unit that is ready for re-rental and has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days [24 CFR 945.303(c)(2)].

The decision of any disabled family or elderly family not to occupy or accept occupancy in designated housing shall not have an adverse affect on their admission or continued occupancy in public housing or their position on or placement on the waiting list.  However, this protection does not apply to any family who refuses to occupy or accept occupancy in designated housing because of the race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin of the occupants of the designated housing or the surrounding area [24 CFR 945.303(d)(1) and (2)].

This protection does apply to an elderly family or disabled family that declines to accept occupancy, respectively, in a designated project for elderly families or for disabled families, and requests occupancy in a general occupancy project or in a mixed population project [24 CFR 945.303(d)(3)].

PHA Policy

The PHA does designated disabled housing.

Deconcentration of Poverty and Income-Mixing [24 CFR 903.1 and 903.2]

The PHA's admission policy must be designed to provide for deconcentration of poverty and income-mixing by bringing higher income tenants into lower income projects and lower income tenants into higher income projects. A statement of the PHA’s deconcentration policies must be in included in its annual plan [24 CFR 903.7(b)].

The PHA’s deconcentration policy must comply with its obligation to meet the income targeting requirement [24 CFR 903.2(c)(5)].

Developments subject to the deconcentration requirement are referred to as ‘covered developments’ and include general occupancy (family) public housing developments. The following developments are not subject to deconcentration and income mixing requirements: developments operated by a PHA with fewer than 100 public housing units; mixed population or developments designated specifically for elderly or disabled families; developments operated by a PHA with only one general occupancy development; developments approved for demolition or for conversion to tenant-based public housing; and developments approved for a mixed-finance plan using HOPE VI or public housing funds [24 CFR 903.2(b)].

Steps for Implementation [24 CFR 903.2(c)(1)]

To implement the statutory requirement to deconcentrate poverty and provide for income mixing in covered developments, the PHA must comply with the following steps:

Step 1. The PHA must determine the average income of all families residing in all the PHA's covered developments. The PHA may use the median income, instead of average income, provided that the PHA includes a written explanation in its annual plan justifying the use of median income.

Step 2. The PHA must determine the average income (or median income, if median income was used in Step 1) of all families residing in each covered development. In determining average income for each development, the PHA has the option of adjusting its income analysis for unit size in accordance with procedures prescribed by HUD.

Step 3. The PHA must then determine whether each of its covered developments falls above, within, or below the established income range (EIR), which is from 85% to 115% of the average family income determined in Step 1. However, the upper limit must never be less than the income at which a family would be defined as an extremely low income family (30% of median income).

Step 4. The PHA with covered developments having average incomes outside the EIR must then determine whether or not these developments are consistent with its local goals and annual plan.

Step 5. Where the income profile for a covered development is not explained or justified in the annual plan submission, the PHA must include in its admission policy its specific policy to provide for deconcentration of poverty and income mixing.

Depending on local circumstances the PHA’s deconcentration policy may include, but is not limited to the following:

·        Providing incentives to encourage families to accept units in developments where their income level is needed, including rent incentives, affirmative marketing plans, or added amenities

·        Targeting investment and capital improvements toward developments with an average income below the EIR to encourage families with incomes above the EIR to accept units in those developments

·        Establishing a preference for admission of working families in developments below the EIR

·        Skipping a family on the waiting list to reach another family in an effort to further the goals of deconcentration

·        Providing other strategies permitted by statute and determined by the PHA in consultation with the residents and the community through the annual plan process to be responsive to local needs and PHA strategic objectives

A family has the sole discretion whether to accept an offer of a unit made under the PHA's deconcentration policy. The PHA must not take any adverse action toward any eligible family for choosing not to accept an offer of a unit under the PHA's deconcentration policy [24 CFR 903.2(c)(4)].

If, at annual review, the average incomes at all general occupancy developments are within the EIR, the PHA will be considered to be in compliance with the deconcentration requirement and no further action is required.

Order of Selection [24 CFR 960.206(e)]

The PHA system of preferences may select families either according to the date and time of application or by a random selection process.

PHA Policy

Families will be selected from the waiting list based on the date and time the completed application was received.

4-III.C. NOTIFICATION OF SELECTION

When the family has been selected from the waiting list, the PHA must notify the family.

PHA Policy

The PHA will notify the family by first class mail when it is selected from the waiting list.

The notice will inform the family of the following:

Date, time, and location of the scheduled application interview, including any procedures for rescheduling the interview

Who is required to attend the interview

Documents that must be provided at the interview to document the legal identity of household members, including information about what constitutes acceptable documentation

Other documents and information that should be brought to the interview

If a notification letter is returned to the PHA the family will be removed from the waiting list without further notice. Such failure to act on the part of the applicant prevents the PHA from making an eligibility determination; therefore no informal hearing will be offered.

4-III.D. THE APPLICATION INTERVIEW

HUD recommends that the PHA obtain the information and documentation needed to make an eligibility determination through a private interview. Being invited to attend an interview does not constitute admission to the program.

Reasonable accommodation must be made for persons with disabilities who are unable to attend an interview due to their disability [24 CFR 8.4(a) and 24 CFR 100.204(a)].

PHA Policy

Families selected from the waiting list are required to participate in an eligibility interview.

The interview will be conducted only if the head of household or spouse/cohead provides appropriate documentation of legal identity (Chapter 7 provides a discussion of proper documentation of legal identity). If the family representative does not provide the required documentation, the appointment may be rescheduled when the proper documents have been obtained.

The family must provide the information necessary to establish the family’s eligibility, including suitability, and to determine the appropriate amount of rent the family will pay. The family must also complete required forms, provide required signatures, and submit required documentation. If any materials are missing, the PHA will provide the family with a written list of items that must be submitted.

Any required documents or information that the family is unable to provide at the interview must be provided prior to the family being housed (Chapter 7 provides details about longer submission deadlines for particular items, including documentation of Social Security numbers and eligible noncitizen status). If the family is unable to obtain the information or materials within the required time frame, the family may request an extension. If the required documents and information are not provided within the required time frame (plus any extensions), the family will be sent a notice of denial (see Chapter 3).

An advocate, interpreter, or other assistant may assist the family with the application and the interview process.

If the family is unable to attend a scheduled interview, the family should contact the PHA in advance of the interview to schedule a new appointment. In all circumstances, if a family does not attend a scheduled interview they will be removed from the waiting list.

4-III.E. FINAL ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION [24 CFR 960.208]

The PHA must verify all information provided by the family (see Chapter 7). Based on verified information related to the eligibility requirements, including PHA suitability standards, the PHA must make a final determination of eligibility (see Chapter 3).

When a determination is made that a family is eligible and satisfies all requirements for admission, including tenant selection criteria, the applicant must be notified of the approximate date of occupancy insofar as that date can be reasonably determined [24 CFR 960.208(b)].

The PHA must promptly notify any family determined to be ineligible for admission of the basis for such determination, and must provide the applicant upon request, within a reasonable time after the determination is made, with an opportunity for an informal hearing on such determination [24 CFR 960.208(a)].

PHA Policy

If the PHA determines that the family is ineligible, the PHA will send written notification of the ineligibility. The notice will specify the reasons for ineligibility, and will inform the family of its right to request an informal hearing (see Chapter 14).

If the PHA uses a criminal record or sex offender registration information obtained under 24 CFR 5, Subpart J, as the basis of a denial, a copy of the record must precede the notice to deny, with an opportunity for the applicant to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information before the PHA can move to deny the application. See Section 3-III.F. for the PHA’s policy regarding such circumstances.

Chapter 5

OCCUPANCY STANDARDS AND UNIT OFFERS

INTRODUCTION

The PHA must establish policies governing occupancy of dwelling units and offering dwelling units to qualified families.

This chapter contains policies for assigning unit size and making unit offers. The PHA’s waiting list and selection policies are contained in Chapter 4. Together, Chapters 4 and 5 of the ACOP comprise the PHA’s Tenant Selection and Assignment Plan (TSAP).

Policies in this chapter are organized in two parts.

Part I: Occupancy Standards. This part contains the PHA’s standards for determining the appropriate unit size for families of different sizes and types.

Part II: Unit Offers. This part contains the PHA’s policies for making unit offers, and describes actions to be taken when unit offers are refused.

PART I: OCCUPANCY STANDARDS

5-I.A. OVERVIEW

Occupancy standards are established by the PHA to ensure that units are occupied by families of the appropriate size. This policy maintains the maximum usefulness of the units, while preserving them from excessive wear and tear or underutilization. Part I of this chapter explains the occupancy standards. These standards describe the methodology and factors the PHA will use to determine the size unit for which a family qualifies, and includes the identification of the minimum and maximum number of household members for each unit size. This part also identifies circumstances under which an exception to the occupancy standards may be approved.

5-I.B. DETERMINING UNIT SIZE

In selecting a family to occupy a particular unit, the PHA may match characteristics of the family with the type of unit available, for example, number of bedrooms [24 CFR 960.206(c)].

HUD does not specify the number of persons who may live in public housing units of various sizes. PHAs are permitted to develop appropriate occupancy standards as long as the standards do not have the effect of discriminating against families with children [PH Occ GB, p. 62].

Although the PHA does determine the size of unit the family qualifies for under the occupancy standards, the PHA does not determine who shares a bedroom/sleeping room.

The PHA’s occupancy standards for determining unit size must be applied in a manner consistent with fair housing requirements.

PHA Policy

Generally the PHA will assign one bedroom to two people within the following guidelines:

Adults of different generations, persons of the opposite sex (other than spouses), and unrelated adults will not be required to share a bedroom.

Separate bedrooms should be allocated for persons of the opposite sex (other than adults who have a spousal relationship and children under one year).

Foster children will be included in determining unit size only if they will be in the unit for more than six months.

Live-in attendants will generally be provided a separate bedroom. No additional bedrooms are provided for the attendant’s family.

Space may be provided for a child who is away at school but who lives with the family during school recesses.

Space will not be provided for a family member who will be absent more than 180 days, such as a member who is away in the military.

Single person families shall be allocated one bedroom.

The living room will not be used as a bedroom except at the request of the family.

The PHA will reference the following standards in determining the appropriate unit bedroom size for a family:

BEDROOM SIZE

MINIMUM NUMBER OF PERSONS

MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PERSONS

1

1

2

2

2

4

3

3

6

4

4

8

5

6

10

5-I.C. EXCEPTIONS TO OCCUPANCY STANDARDS

Types of Exceptions

PHA Policy

 

The PHA will grant exceptions from the guidelines in cases where it is the family’s request or the PHA determines the exceptions are justified by the relationship, age, sex, health or disability of family members, or other individual circumstances, and there is a vacant unit available. If an applicant requests to be listed on a smaller or larger bedroom size waiting list, the following guidelines will apply:

Ø      Applicants may request to be placed on the waiting list for a unit size smaller than designated by the occupancy guidelines, as long as the unit is not overcrowded. The family must agree not to request a transfer until their family composition changes.

Ø      At the PHA’s discretion the family may be offered a unit smaller than the preferred unit size, based on the PHA’s occupancy standards, if in doing so the family has an opportunity to be housed earlier.

Ø      For a three-person family that includes two adults and an infant, the PHA may allow the family to lease a one-bedroom unit in a desired general occupancy project.

Ø      However, the PHA will not lease a one-bedroom unit to a three-person family that includes two adults and an adolescent or teenager.

Ø      In all cases, where the family requests an exception to the general occupancy standards, the PHA will evaluate the relationship and ages of all family members and the overall size of the unit.

Ø      The family may request to be placed on a larger bedroom size waiting list than indicated by the PHA’s occupancy guidelines. The request must explain the need or justification for a larger bedroom size, and must be verified by the PHA before the family is placed on the larger bedroom size list. The PHA will consider these requests:

            Person with Disability

The PHA will grant an exception upon request as a reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities if the need is appropriately verified [* and meets requirements in the  "Service and Accommodations Policy" section of Chapter 1].

            Other Circumstances

            Circumstances may dictate a larger size than the occupancy standards permit when:

Ø      Persons cannot share a bedroom because of a need for medical equipment due to its size and/or function. Requests for a larger bedroom due to medical equipment must be verified by a doctor.

Ø      Requests based on health related reasons must be verified by a doctor, medical professional or social service professional.

The PHA will not assign a larger bedroom size due to additions of family members other than by birth, adoption, marriage, or court-awarded custody.

All members of the family residing in the unit must be approved by the PHA. The family must obtain approval of any additional family member before the person occupies the unit except for additions by birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody, in which case the family must inform the PHA within 10 calendar days.

To avoid vacancies, the PHA may provide a family with a larger unit than the occupancy standards permit. The family must agree to move to a suitable, smaller unit when another family qualifies for the larger unit and there is a suitable smaller unit available. This requirement is a provision of the lease.

Processing of Exceptions

PHA Policy

All requests for exceptions to the occupancy standards must be submitted in writing.

Requests for a larger size unit must explain the need or justification for the larger size unit, and must include appropriate documentation. Requests based on health-related reasons must be verified by a knowledgeable professional source, unless the disability and the disability-related request for accommodation is readily apparent or otherwise known.

The PHA will notify the family of its decision within 10 business days of receiving the family’s request.

PART II: UNIT OFFERS

24 CFR 1.4(b)(2)(ii); 24 CFR 960.208

5-II.A. OVERVIEW

The PHA must assign eligible applicants to dwelling units in accordance with a plan that is consistent with civil rights and nondiscrimination.

In filling an actual or expected vacancy, the PHA must offer the dwelling unit to an applicant in the appropriate sequence. The PHA will offer the unit until it is accepted. This section describes the PHA’s policies with regard to the number of unit offers that will be made to applicants selected from the waiting list. This section also describes the PHA’s policies for offering units with accessibility features.

5-II.B. NUMBER OF OFFERS

PHA Policy

The PHA plan for selection of applicants and assignment of dwelling units to assure equal opportunity and non-discrimination on grounds of race, color, sex, religion, or national origin is:

The first qualified applicant in sequence on the waiting list will be made an offer of a unit of the appropriate size.

If the offer is rejected the applicant may choose to be removed from the waiting list or be placed at the bottom of the waiting list.

If more than one unit of the appropriate type and size is available, the first unit to be offered will be the first unit that is ready for occupancy.

If the applicant rejects two (2) offers the PHA will remove the applicant’s name from the waiting list. Removal from the waiting list means that the applicant must reapply.

The PHA will maintain a record of units offered, including location, date and circumstances of each offer, each acceptance or rejection, including the reason for the rejection.

5-II.C. TIME LIMIT FOR UNIT OFFER ACCEPTANCE OR REFUSAL

PHA Policy

Applicants must accept or refuse a unit offer within 3 business days of the date of the unit offer. If unable to contact an applicant by telephone, the PHA will send a letter to the last known address. Any mail returned will be considered a refusal of that unit offer.

5-II.D. REFUSALS OF UNIT OFFERS

Good Cause for Unit Refusal

An elderly or disabled family may decline an offer for housing if that offer does not meet the requirements designated for their disability. Such a refusal must not adversely affect the family's position on or placement on the public housing waiting list [24 CFR 945.303(d)].

PHA Policy

If an applicant is willing to accept the unit offered, but is unable to take occupancy at the time of the offer for "good cause," the applicant will be placed at the bottom of the waiting list.

Examples of "good cause" reasons for the refusal to take occupancy of a housing unit include, but are not limited to:

·        An elderly or disabled family makes the decision not to occupy or accept occupancy in housing that does not meet the need of their disability.

·        Inaccessibility to source of employment or children’s day care such that an adult household member must quit a job, drop out of an educational institution or a job-training program;

·        The family demonstrates to the PHA’s satisfaction that accepting the offer will result in a situation where a family member’s life, health or safety will be placed in jeopardy. The family must offer specific and compelling documentation such as restraining orders, other court orders, or risk assessments related to witness protection from a law enforcement agency. The reasons offered must be specific to the family. Refusals due to the location of the unit alone are not considered to be good cause.

·        A qualified, knowledgeable, health professional verifies the temporary hospitalization or recovery from illness of the principal household member, other household members, or a live-in aide necessary to care for the principal household member.

·        The unit is inappropriate for the applicant’s disabilities.

In the case of a unit refusal for good cause the applicant will not be removed from the waiting list. The applicant will remain at the top of the waiting list until the family receives an offer for which they do not have good cause to refuse.

The PHA will require documentation of good cause for unit refusals.

5-II.E. ACCESSIBLE UNITS [24 CFR 8.27]

PHAs must adopt suitable means to assure that information regarding the availability of accessible units reaches eligible individuals with disabilities, and take reasonable nondiscriminatory steps to maximize the utilization of such units by eligible individuals whose disability requires the accessibility features of a particular unit.

When an accessible unit becomes vacant, before offering such units to a non-disabled applicant the PHA must offer such units:

·        First, to a current resident of another unit who has a disability that requires the special features of the vacant unit and is occupying a unit not having such features, or if no such occupant exists, then

·        Second, to an eligible qualified applicant on the waiting list having a disability that requires the special features of the vacant unit.

When offering an accessible unit to an applicant not having a disability requiring the accessibility features of the unit, the PHA may require the applicant to agree (and may incorporate this agreement in the lease) to move to a non-accessible unit when available.

PHA Policy

Families requiring an accessible unit may be over-housed in such a unit if there are no resident or applicant families of the appropriate size who also require the accessible features of the unit.

When there are no resident or applicant families requiring the accessible features of the unit, including families who would be over-housed, the PHA will offer the unit to a non-disabled applicant.

When offering an accessible unit to a non-disabled applicant, the PHA will require the applicant to agree to move to an available non-accessible unit within 30 days when either a current resident or an applicant needs the features of the unit and there is another unit available for the non-disabled family.

Chapter 6

INCOME AND RENT DETERMINATIONS

[24 CFR Part 5, Subparts E and F; 24 CFR 960, Subpart C]

INTRODUCTION

A family’s income determines eligibility for assistance and is also used to calculate the family’s rent payment. The PHA will use the policies and methods described in this chapter to ensure that only eligible families receive assistance and that no family pays more or less than its obligation under the regulations. This chapter describes HUD regulations and PHA policies related to these topics in three parts as follows:

Part I: Annual Income. HUD regulations specify the sources of income to include and exclude to arrive at a family’s annual income. These requirements and PHA policies for calculating annual income are found in Part I.

Part II: Adjusted Income. Once annual income has been established HUD regulations require the PHA to subtract from annual income any of five mandatory deductions for which a family qualifies. These requirements and PHA policies for calculating adjusted income are found in Part II.

Part III: Calculating Rent. This part describes the statutory formula for calculating total tenant payment (TTP), the use of utility allowances, and the methodology for determining family rent payment. Also included here are flat rents and the family’s choice in rents.

PART I: ANNUAL INCOME

6-I.A. OVERVIEW

The general regulatory definition of annual income shown below is from 24 CFR 5.609.

5.609 Annual income.

(a) Annual income means all amounts, monetary or not, which:

(1) Go to, or on behalf of, the family head or spouse (even if temporarily absent) or to any other family member; or

(2) Are anticipated to be received from a source outside the family during the 12-month period following admission or annual reexamination effective date; and

(3) Which are not specifically excluded in paragraph [5.609(c)].

(4) Annual income also means amounts derived (during the 12-month period) from assets to which any member of the family has access.

In addition to this general definition, HUD regulations establish policies for treating specific types of income and assets. The full texts of those portions of the regulations are provided in exhibits at the end of this chapter as follows:

·        Annual Income Inclusions (Exhibit 6-1)

·        Annual Income Exclusions (Exhibit 6-2)

·        Treatment of Family Assets (Exhibit 6-3)

·        Earned Income Disallowance (Exhibit 6-4)

·        The Effect of Welfare Benefit Reduction (Exhibit 6-5)

Sections 6-I.B and 6-I.C discuss general requirements and methods for calculating annual income. The rest of this section describes how each source of income is treated for the purposes of determining annual income. HUD regulations present income inclusions and exclusions separately [24 CFR 5.609(b) and 24 CFR 5.609(c)]. In this ACOP, however, the discussions of income inclusions and exclusions are integrated by topic (e.g., all policies affecting earned income are discussed together in section 6-I.D). Verification requirements for annual income are discussed in Chapter 7.

6-I.B. HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION AND INCOME

Income received by all family members must be counted unless specifically excluded by the regulations. It is the responsibility of the head of household to report changes in family composition. The rules on which sources of income are counted vary somewhat by family member. The chart below summarizes how family composition affects income determinations.

 

Summary of Income Included and Excluded by Person

Live-in aides

Income from all sources is excluded [24 CFR 5.609(c)(5)].

Foster child or foster adult

Income from all sources is excluded [24 CFR 5.609(a)(1)].

Head, spouse, or cohead
Other adult family members

All sources of income not specifically excluded by the regulations are included.

Children under 18 years of age

Employment income is excluded [24 CFR 5.609(c)(1)].

All other sources of income, except those specifically excluded by the regulations, are included.

Full-time students 18 years of age or older (not head, spouse, or cohead)

Employment income above $480/year is excluded [24 CFR 5.609(c)(11)].

All other sources of income, except those specifically excluded by the regulations, are included.

Temporarily Absent Family Members

The income of family members approved to live in the unit will be counted, even if the family member is temporarily absent from the unit [HCV GB, p. 5-18].

PHA Policy

Generally an individual who is expected to be absent from the unit for 180 consecutive days or less is considered temporarily absent and continues to be considered a family member. An individual who is or is expected to be absent from the unit for more than 180 consecutive days is considered permanently absent and is no longer a family member. Exceptions to this general policy are discussed below.

Absent Students

PHA Policy

When someone who has been considered a family member attends school away from home, the person will continue to be considered a family member unless information becomes available to the PHA indicating that the student has established a separate household or the family declares that the student has established a separate household.

Absences Due to Placement in Foster Care

Children temporarily absent from the home as a result of placement in foster care are considered members of the family [24 CFR 5.403].

PHA Policy

If a child has been placed in foster care, the PHA will verify with the appropriate agency whether and when the child is expected to be returned to the home. Unless the agency confirms that the child has been permanently removed from the home, the child will be counted as a family member.

Absent Head, Spouse, or Cohead

PHA Policy

An employed head, spouse, or cohead absent from the unit more than 180 consecutive days due to employment will continue to be considered a family member.

Individuals Confined for Medical Reasons

PHA Policy

An individual confined to a nursing home or hospital on a permanent basis is not considered a family member.

If there is a question about the status of a family member, the PHA will request verification from a responsible medical professional and will use this determination. If the responsible medical professional cannot provide a determination, the person generally will be considered temporarily absent. The family may present evidence that the family member is confined on a permanent basis and request that the person not be considered a family member.

Joint Custody of Children

PHA Policy

Dependents that are subject to a joint custody arrangement will be considered a member of the family, if they live with the applicant or resident family 51 percent or more of the time.

When more than one applicant or assisted family are claiming the same dependents as family members, the family with primary custody at the time of the initial examination or reexamination will be able to claim the dependents. If there is a dispute about which family should claim them, the PHA will make the determination based on available documents such as court orders, or an IRS return showing which family has claimed the child for income tax purposes.
Caretakers for a Child

PHA Policy

If neither a parent nor a designated guardian remains in a household receiving assistance, the PHA will take the following actions.

If a responsible agency has determined that another adult is to be brought into the unit to care for a child for an indefinite period, the designated caretaker will not be considered a family member until a determination of custody or legal guardianship is made.

If a caretaker has assumed responsibility for a child without the involvement of a responsible agency or formal assignment of custody or legal guardianship, the caretaker will be treated as a visitor for 90 days. After the 90 days has elapsed, the caretaker will be considered a family member unless information is provided that would confirm that the caretaker’s role is temporary. In such cases the PHA will extend the caretaker’s status as an eligible visitor.

At any time that custody or guardianship legally has been awarded to a caretaker, the lease will be transferred to the caretaker, as head of household.

During any period that a caretaker is considered a visitor, the income of the caretaker is not counted in annual income and the caretaker does not qualify the family for any deductions from income.

6-I.C. ANTICIPATING ANNUAL INCOME

The PHA is required to count all income “anticipated to be received from a source outside the family during the 12-month period following admission or annual reexamination effective date” [24 CFR 5.609(a)(2)]. Policies related to anticipating annual income are provided below.

Basis of Annual Income Projection

The PHA generally will use current circumstances to determine anticipated income for the coming 12-month period. HUD authorizes the PHA to use other than current circumstances to anticipate income when:

·        An imminent change in circumstances is expected [HCV GB, p. 5-17]

·        It is not feasible to anticipate a level of income over a 12-month period (e.g., seasonal or cyclic income) [24 CFR 5.609(d)]

·        The PHA believes that past income is the best available indicator of expected future income [24 CFR 5.609(d)]

PHA Policy

When the PHA cannot readily anticipate income based upon current circumstances (e.g., in the case of seasonal employment, unstable working hours, or suspected fraud), the PHA will review and analyze historical data for patterns of employment, paid benefits, and receipt of other income and use the results of this analysis to establish annual income.

Known Changes in Income

If the PHA verifies an upcoming increase or decrease in income, annual income will be calculated by applying each income amount to the appropriate part of the 12-month period.

Example: An employer reports that a full-time employee who has been receiving $6/hour will begin to receive $6.25/hour in the eighth week after the effective date of the reexamination. In such a case the PHA would calculate annual income as follows: ($6/hour × 40 hours × 7 weeks) + ($6.25 × 40 hours × 45 weeks).

The family may present information that demonstrates that implementing a change before its effective date would create a hardship for the family. In such cases the PHA will calculate annual income using current circumstances and then require an interim reexamination when the change actually occurs. This requirement will be imposed even if the PHA’s policy on reexaminations does not require interim reexaminations for other types of changes.

Using Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) to Project Income

HUD strongly recommends the use of enterprise income verification (EIV). EIV is “the verification of income, before or during a family reexamination, through an independent source that systematically and uniformly maintains income information in computerized form for a large number of individuals” [PIH Notice 2004-01 Verification Guidance (“VG”), p. 7].

HUD allows PHAs to use EIV information in conjunction with family-provided documents to anticipate income.

PHA Policy

PHA procedures for anticipating annual income will include the use of EIV methods approved by HUD in conjunction with family-provided documents dated within the last 60 days of the PHA interview date.

The PHA will follow “HUD Guidelines for Projecting Annual Income When EIV Data Is Available” in handling differences between EIV and family-provided income data. The guidelines depend on whether a difference is substantial or not. HUD defines substantial difference as a difference of $200 or more per month.

No Substantial Difference. If EIV information for a particular income source differs from the information provided by a family by less than $200 per month, the PHA will follow these guidelines:

If the EIV figure is less than the family’s figure, the PHA will use the family’s information.

If the EIV figure is more than the family’s figure, the PHA will use the EIV data unless the family provides documentation of a change in circumstances to explain the discrepancy (e.g., a reduction in work hours). Upon receipt of acceptable family-provided documentation of a change in circumstances, the PHA will use the family-provided information.

Substantial Difference. If EIV information for a particular income source differs from the information provided by a family by $200 or more per month, the PHA will follow these guidelines:

The PHA will request written third-party verification from the discrepant income source in accordance with 24 CFR 5.236(b)(3)(i).

When the PHA cannot readily anticipate income (e.g., in cases of seasonal employment, unstable working hours, or suspected fraud), the PHA will review historical income data for patterns of employment, paid benefits, and receipt of other income.

The PHA will analyze all EIV, third-party, and family-provided data and attempt to resolve the income discrepancy.

The PHA will use the most current verified income data and, if appropriate, historical income data to calculate anticipated annual income.

6-I.D. EARNED INCOME

Types of Earned Income Included in Annual Income

Wages and Related Compensation [24 CFR 5.609(b)(1)]

The full amount, before any payroll deductions, of wages and salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips and bonuses, and other compensation for personal services is included in annual income.

Some Types of Military Pay

All regular pay, special pay and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces are counted [24 CFR 5.609(b)(8)] except for the special pay to a family member serving in the Armed Forces who is exposed to hostile fire [24 CFR 5.609(c)(7)].

Types of Earned Income Not Counted in Annual Income

Temporary, Nonrecurring, or Sporadic Income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(9)]

This type of income (including gifts) is not included in annual income.

Children’s Earnings [24 CFR 5.609(c)(1)]

Employment income earned by children (including foster children) under the age of 18 years is not included in annual income. (See Eligibility chapter for a definition of foster children.)

Certain Earned Income of Full-Time Students

Earnings in excess of $480 for each full-time student 18 years old or older (except for the head, spouse, or cohead) are not counted [24 CFR 5.609(c)(11)]. To be considered “full-time,” a student must be considered “full-time” by an educational institution with a degree or certificate program [HCV GB, p. 5-29].

Income of a Live-in Aide.

Income earned by a live-in aide, as defined in [24 CFR 5.403], is not included in annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(5)]. (See Eligibility chapter for a full discussion of live-in aides.)

Income Earned under Certain Federal Programs [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]

Income from some federal programs is specifically excluded from consideration as income, including:

·        Payments to volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 5044(g), 5058)

·        Payments received under programs funded in whole or in part under the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1552(b))

·        Awards under the federal work-study program (20 U.S.C. 1087 uu)

·        Payments received from programs funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 3056(f))

·        Allowances, earnings, and payments to AmeriCorps participants under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12637(d))

·        Allowances, earnings, and payments to participants in programs funded under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931)

Resident Service Stipend [24 CFR 5.600(c)(8)(iv)]

Amounts received under a resident service stipend are not included in annual income. A resident service stipend is a modest amount (not to exceed $200 per individual per month) received by a resident for performing a service for the PHA, on a part-time basis, that enhances the quality of life in the development. Such services may include, but are not limited to, fire patrol, hall monitoring, lawn maintenance, resident initiatives coordination, and serving as a member of the PHA’s governing board. No resident may receive more than one such stipend during the same period of time.

State and Local Employment Training Program

Incremental earnings and benefits to any family member resulting from participation in qualifying state or local employment training programs (including training programs not affiliated with a local government) and training of a family member as resident management staff are excluded from annual income. Amounts excluded by this provision must be received under employment training programs with clearly defined goals and objectives and are excluded only for the period during which the family member participates in the training program [24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(v)].

PHA Policy

      A training program qualifying under 24 CFR 5.609 (c)(8)(v) is defined as one with goals and objectives designed to lead to a higher level of proficiency, and one which enhances the individual’s ability to obtain employment. The training program may have performance standards to measure proficiency. Training may include, but is not limited to:

·        Classroom training in a specific occupational skill;

·        On-the-job training with wages subsidized by the program, or

·        Basic education.

The PHA defines incremental earnings and benefits as the difference between (1) the total amount of welfare assistance and earnings of a family member prior to enrollment in a training program and (2) the total amount of welfare assistance and earnings of the family member after enrollment in the program [expired Notice PIH 98-2, pp. 3–4].

In calculating the incremental difference, the PHA will use as the pre-enrollment income the total annualized amount of the family member’s welfare assistance and earnings reported on the family’s most recently completed HUD-50058.

End of participation in a training program must be reported in accordance with the PHA's interim reporting requirements (see chapter on reexaminations).

HUD-Funded Training Programs

Amounts received under training programs funded in whole or in part by HUD [24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(i)] are excluded from annual income. Eligible sources of funding for the training include operating subsidy, Section 8 administrative fees, and modernization, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME program, and other grant funds received from HUD.

PHA Policy

To qualify as a training program, the program must meet the definition of training program provided above for state and local employment training programs.

Earned Income Tax Credit. Earned income tax credit (EITC) refund payments received on or after January 1, 1991 (26 U.S.C. 32(j)), are excluded from annual income [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]. Although many families receive the EITC annually when they file taxes, an EITC can also be received throughout the year. The prorated share of the annual EITC is included in the employee’s payroll check.

Earned Income Disallowance. The earned income disallowance is discussed in section 6-I.E below.

6-I.E. EARNED INCOME DISALLOWANCE [24 CFR 960.255]

The earned income disallowance (EID) encourages people to enter the work force by not including the full value of increases in earned income for a period of time. The full text of 24 CFR 960.255 is included as Exhibit 6-4 at the end of this chapter. Eligibility criteria and limitations on the disallowance are summarized below.

Eligibility

This disallowance applies only to individuals in families already participating in the public housing program (not at initial examination). To qualify, the family must experience an increase in annual income that is the result of one of the following events:

·        Employment of a family member who was previously unemployed for one or more years prior to employment. Previously unemployed includes a person who annually has earned not more than the minimum wage applicable to the community multiplied by 500 hours. The applicable minimum wage is the federal minimum wage unless there is a higher state or local minimum wage.

·        Increased earnings by a family member whose earnings increase during participation in an economic self-sufficiency or job-training program. A self-sufficiency program includes a program designed to encourage, assist, train, or facilitate the economic independence of HUD-assisted families or to provide work to such families [24 CFR 5.603(b)].

·        New employment or increased earnings by a family member who has received benefits or services under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or any other state program funded under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act within the past six months. If the benefits are received in the form of monthly maintenance, there is no minimum amount. If the benefits or services are received in a form other than monthly maintenance, such as one-time payments, wage subsidies, or transportation assistance, the total amount received over the six-month period must be at least $500.

Calculation of the Disallowance

Calculation of the earned income disallowance for an eligible member of a qualified family begins with a comparison of the member’s current income with his or her “prior income.”

PHA Policy

The PHA defines prior income, or prequalifying income, as the family member’s last certified income prior to qualifying for the EID.

The family member’s prior, or prequalifying, income remains constant throughout the period that he or she is receiving the EID.

Initial 12-Month Exclusion

During the initial 12-month exclusion period, the full amount (100 percent) of any increase in income attributable to new employment or increased earnings is excluded. The 12 months are cumulative and need not be consecutive.

PHA Policy

The initial EID exclusion period will begin on the first of the month following the date an eligible member of a qualified family is first employed or first experiences an increase in earnings.

Second 12-Month Exclusion and Phase-In

During the second 12-month exclusion period, the exclusion is reduced to half (50 percent) of any increase in income attributable to employment or increased earnings. The 12 months are cumulative and need not be consecutive.

Lifetime Limitation

The EID has a four-year (48-month) lifetime maximum. The four-year eligibility period begins at the same time that the initial exclusion period begins and ends 48 months later. The one-time eligibility for the EID applies even if the eligible individual begins to receive assistance from another housing agency, if the individual moves between public housing and Section 8 assistance, or if there are breaks in assistance.

Individual Savings Accounts [24 CFR 960.255(d)]

PHA Policy

The PHA chooses not to establish a system of individual savings accounts (ISAs) for families who qualify for the EID.

6-I.F. BUSINESS INCOME [24 CFR 5.609(b)(2)]

Annual income includes “the net income from the operation of a business or profession. Expenditures for business expansion or amortization of capital indebtedness shall not be used as deductions in determining net income. An allowance for depreciation of assets used in a business or profession may be deducted, based on straight line depreciation, as provided in Internal Revenue Service regulations. Any withdrawal of cash or assets from the operation of a business or profession will be included in income, except to the extent the withdrawal is reimbursement of cash or assets invested in the operation by the family” [24 CFR 5.609(b)(2)].

Business Expenses

Net income is “gross income less business expense” [HCV GB, p. 5-19].

PHA Policy

To determine business expenses that may be deducted from gross income, the PHA will use current applicable Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules for determining allowable business expenses [see IRS Publication 535], unless a topic is addressed by HUD regulations or guidance as described below.

Business Expansion

HUD regulations do not permit the PHA to deduct from gross income expenses for business expansion.

PHA Policy

Business expansion is defined as any capital expenditures made to add new business activities, to expand current facilities, or to operate the business in additional locations. For example, purchase of a street sweeper by a construction business for the purpose of adding street cleaning to the services offered by the business would be considered a business expansion. Similarly, the purchase of a property by a hair care business to open at a second location would be considered a business expansion.

Capital Indebtedness

HUD regulations do not permit the PHA to deduct from gross income the amortization of capital indebtedness.

PHA Policy

Capital indebtedness is defined as the principal portion of the payment on a capital asset such as land, buildings, and machinery. This means the PHA will allow as a business expense interest, but not principal, paid on capital indebtedness.

Negative Business Income

If the net income from a business is negative, no business income will be included in annual income; a negative amount will not be used to offset other family income.

Withdrawal of Cash or Assets from a Business

HUD regulations require the PHA to include in annual income the withdrawal of cash or assets from the operation of a business or profession unless the withdrawal reimburses a family member for cash or assets invested in the business by the family.

PHA Policy

Acceptable investments in a business include cash loans and contributions of assets or equipment. For example, if a member of a tenant family provided an up-front loan of $2,000 to help a business get started, the PHA will not count as income any withdrawals from the business up to the amount of this loan until the loan has been repaid. Investments do not include the value of labor contributed to the business without compensation.

Co-owned Businesses

PHA Policy

If a business is co-owned with someone outside the family, the family must document the share of the business it owns. If the family’s share of the income is lower than its share of ownership, the family must document the reasons for the difference.

6-I.G. ASSETS [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3) and 24 CFR 5.603(b)]

Overview

There is no asset limitation for participation in the public housing program. However, HUD requires that the PHA include in annual income the “interest, dividends, and other net income of any kind from real or personal property” [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3)]. This section discusses how the income from various types of assets is determined. For most types of assets, the PHA must determine the value of the asset in order to compute income from the asset. Therefore, for each asset type, this section discusses:

·         How the value of the asset will be determined

·         How income from the asset will be calculated

Exhibit 6-1 provides the regulatory requirements for calculating income from assets [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3)], and Exhibit 6-3 provides the regulatory definition of net family assets. This section begins with a discussion of general policies related to assets and then provides HUD rules and PHA policies related to each type of asset.

General Policies

Income from Assets

The PHA generally will use current circumstances to determine both the value of an asset and the anticipated income from the asset. As is true for all sources of income, HUD authorizes the PHA to use other than current circumstances to anticipate income when (1) an imminent change in circumstances is expected (2) it is not feasible to anticipate a level of income over 12 months or (3) the PHA believes that past income is the best indicator of anticipated income. For example, if a family member owns real property that typically receives rental income but the property is currently vacant, the PHA can take into consideration past rental income along with the prospects of obtaining a new tenant.

Valuing Assets

The calculation of asset income sometimes requires the PHA to make a distinction between an asset’s market value and its cash value.

·         The market value of an asset is its worth (e.g., the amount a buyer would pay for real estate or the balance in an investment account).

·         The cash value of an asset is its market value less all reasonable amounts that would be incurred when converting the asset to cash.

PHA Policy

Reasonable costs that would be incurred when disposing of an asset include, but are not limited to, penalties for premature withdrawal, broker and legal fees, and settlement costs incurred in real estate transactions [HCV GB, p. 5-28 and PH Occ GB, p. 121].

Lump-Sum Receipts

Payments that are received in a single lump sum, such as inheritances, capital gains, lottery winnings, insurance settlements, and proceeds from the sale of property, are generally considered assets, not income. However, such lump-sum receipts are counted as assets only if they are retained by a family in a form recognizable as an asset (e.g., deposited in a savings or checking account) [RHIIP FAQs]. (For a discussion of lump-sum payments that represent the delayed start of a periodic payment, most of which are counted as income, see sections 6-I.H and 6-I.I.)

Imputing Income from Assets [24 CFR 5.609(b)(3)]

When net family assets are $5,000 or less, the PHA will include in annual income the actual income anticipated to be derived from the assets. When the family has net family assets in excess of $5,000, the PHA will include in annual income the greater of (1) the actual income derived from the assets or (2) the imputed income. Imputed income from assets is calculated by multiplying the total cash value of all family assets by the current HUD-established passbook savings rate.

Determining Actual Anticipated Income from Assets

It may or may not be necessary for the PHA to use the value of an asset to compute the actual anticipated income from the asset. When the value is required to compute the anticipated income from an asset, the market value of the asset is used. For example, if the asset is a property for which a family receives rental income, the anticipated income is determined by annualizing the actual monthly rental amount received for the property; it is not based on the property’s market value. However, if the asset is a savings account, the anticipated income is determined by multiplying the market value of the account by the interest rate on the account.

Withdrawal of Cash or Liquidation of Investments

Any withdrawal of cash or assets from an investment will be included in income except to the extent that the withdrawal reimburses amounts invested by the family. For example, when a family member retires, the amount received by the family from a retirement plan is not counted as income until the family has received payments equal to the amount the family member deposited into the retirement fund.

Jointly Owned Assets

The regulation at 24 CFR 5.609(a)(4) specifies that annual income includes “amounts derived (during the 12-month period) from assets to which any member of the family has access.”

PHA Policy

If an asset is owned by more than one person and any family member has unrestricted access to the asset, the PHA will count the full value of the asset. A family member has unrestricted access to an asset when he or she can legally dispose of the asset without the consent of any of the other owners.

If an asset is owned by more than one person, including a family member, but the family member does not have unrestricted access to the asset, the PHA will prorate the asset according to the percentage of ownership. If no percentage is specified or provided for by state or local law, the PHA will prorate the asset evenly among all owners.

Assets Disposed Of for Less than Fair Market Value [24 CFR 5.603(b)]

HUD regulations require the PHA to count as a current asset any business or family asset that was disposed of for less than fair market value during the two years prior to the effective date of the examination/reexamination, except as noted below.

Minimum Threshold

The PHA may set a threshold below which assets disposed of for less than fair market value will not be counted [HCV GB, p. 5-27].

PHA Policy

The PHA will not include the value of assets disposed of for less than fair market value unless the cumulative fair market value of all assets disposed of during the past two years exceeds the gross amount received for the assets by more than $1,000.

When the two-year period expires, the income assigned to the disposed asset(s) also expires. If the two-year period ends between annual recertifications, the family may request an interim recertification to eliminate consideration of the asset(s).

Assets placed by the family in nonrevocable trusts are considered assets disposed of for less than fair market value except when the assets placed in trust were received through settlements or judgments.

Separation or Divorce

The regulation also specifies that assets are not considered disposed of for less than fair market value if they are disposed of as part of a separation or divorce settlement and the applicant or tenant receives important consideration not measurable in dollar terms.

PHA Policy

All assets disposed of as part of a separation or divorce settlement will be considered assets for which important consideration not measurable in monetary terms has been received. In order to qualify for this exemption, a family member must be subject to a formal separation or divorce settlement agreement established through arbitration, mediation, or court order.

Foreclosure or Bankruptcy

Assets are not considered disposed of for less than fair market value when the disposition is the result of a foreclosure or bankruptcy sale.

Family Declaration

PHA Policy

Families must sign a declaration form at initial certification and each annual recertification identifying all assets that have been disposed of for less than fair market value or declaring that no assets have been disposed of for less than fair market value. The PHA may verify the value of the assets disposed of if other information available to the PHA does not appear to agree with the information reported by the family.

Types of Assets

Checking and Savings Accounts

For regular checking accounts and savings accounts, cash value has the same meaning as market value. If a checking account does not bear interest, the anticipated income from the account is zero.

PHA Policy

In determining the value of a checking account or savings account, the PHA will use the average monthly balance for the last six months.

In determining the anticipated income from an interest-bearing checking or savings account, the PHA will multiply the value of the account by the current rate of interest paid on the account.

Investment Accounts Such as Stocks, Bonds, Saving Certificates, and Money Market Funds

Interest or dividends earned by investment accounts are counted as actual income from assets even when the earnings are reinvested. The cash value of such an asset is determined by deducting from the market value any broker fees, penalties for early withdrawal, or other costs of converting the asset to cash.

PHA Policy

In determining the market value of an investment account, the PHA will use the value of the account on the most recent investment report.

How anticipated income from an investment account will be calculated depends on whether the rate of return is known. For assets that are held in an investment account with a known rate of return (e.g., savings certificates), asset income will be calculated based on that known rate (market value multiplied by rate of earnings). When the anticipated rate of return is not known (e.g., stocks), the PHA will calculate asset income based on the earnings for the most recent reporting period.

Equity in Real Property or Other Capital Investments

Equity (cash value) in a property or other capital asset is the estimated current market value of the asset less the unpaid balance on all loans secured by the asset and reasonable costs (such as broker fees) that would be incurred in selling the asset [HCV GB, p. 5-25 and PH, p. 121].

Equity in real property and other capital investments is considered in the calculation of asset income except for the following types of assets:

·        Equity accounts in HUD homeownership programs [24 CFR 5.603(b)]

·        Equity in real property when a family member’s main occupation is real estate [HCV GB, p. 5-25]. This real estate is considered a business asset, and income related to this asset will be calculated as described in section 6-I.F.

·        Interests in Indian Trust lands [24 CFR 5.603(b)]

·        Real property and capital assets that are part of an active business or farming operation [HCV GB, p. 5-25]

A family may have real property as an asset in two ways: (1) owning the property itself and (2) holding a mortgage or deed of trust on the property. In the case of a property owned by a family member, the anticipated asset income generally will be in the form of rent or other payment for the use of the property. If the property generates no income, actual anticipated income from the asset will be zero.

In the case of a mortgage or deed of trust held by a family member, the outstanding balance (unpaid principal) is the cash value of the asset. The interest portion only of payments made to the family in accordance with the terms of the mortgage or deed of trust is counted as anticipated asset income.

PHA Policy

In the case of capital investments owned jointly with others not living in a family’s unit, a prorated share of the property’s cash value will be counted as an asset unless the PHA determines that the family receives no income from the property and is unable to sell or otherwise convert the asset to cash.

Trusts

A trust is a legal arrangement generally regulated by state law in which one party (the creator or grantor) transfers property to a second party (the trustee) who holds the property for the benefit of one or more third parties (the beneficiaries).

Revocable Trusts

If any member of a family has the right to withdraw the funds in a trust, the value of the trust is considered an asset [HCV GB, p. 5-25]. Any income earned as a result of investment of trust funds is counted as actual asset income, whether the income is paid to the family or deposited in the trust. 

Nonrevocable Trusts

In cases where a trust is not revocable by, or under the control of, any member of a family, the value of the trust fund is not considered an asset. However, any income distributed to the family from such a trust is counted as a periodic payment or a lump-sum receipt, as appropriate [24 CFR 5.603(b)]. (Periodic payments are covered in section 6-I.H. Lump-sum receipts are discussed earlier in this section.)

Retirement Accounts

Company Retirement/Pension Accounts

In order to correctly include or exclude as an asset any amount held in a company retirement or pension account by an employed person, the PHA must know whether the money is accessible before retirement [HCV GB, p. 5-26].

While a family member is employed, only the amount the family member can withdraw without retiring or terminating employment is counted as an asset [HCV GB, p. 5-26].

After a family member retires or terminates employment, any amount distributed to the family member is counted as a periodic payment or a lump-sum receipt, as appropriate [HCV GB, p. 5-26], except to the extent that it represents funds invested in the account by the family member. (For more on periodic payments, see section 6-I.H.) The balance in the account is counted as an asset only if it remains accessible to the family member.

IRA, Keogh, and Similar Retirement Savings Accounts

IRA, Keogh, and similar retirement savings accounts are counted as assets even though early withdrawal would result in a penalty [HCV GB, p. 5-25].

Personal Property

Personal property held as an investment, such as gems, jewelry, coin collections, antique cars, etc., is considered an asset [HCV GB, p. 5-25].

PHA Policy

In determining the value of personal property held as an investment, the PHA will use the family’s estimate of the value. However, the PHA also may obtain an appraisal if appropriate to confirm the value of the asset. The family must cooperate with the appraiser but cannot be charged any costs related to the appraisal.

Generally, personal property held as an investment generates no income until it is disposed of. If regular income is generated (e.g., income from renting the personal property), the amount that is expected to be earned in the coming year is counted as actual income from the asset.

Necessary items of personal property are not considered assets [24 CFR 5.603(b)].

PHA Policy

Necessary personal property consists of items such as clothing, furniture, household furnishings, jewelry that is not held as an investment, and vehicles, including those specially equipped for persons with disabilities.

 Life Insurance

The cash value of a life insurance policy available to a family member before death, such as a whole life or universal life policy, is included in the calculation of the value of the family’s assets [HCV GB 5-25]. The cash value is the surrender value. If such a policy earns dividends or interest that the family could elect to receive, the anticipated amount of dividends or interest is counted as income from the asset whether or not the family actually receives it.

PHA Policy

As verification of an asset value the PHA will accept the following:

·        account statements

·        passbooks

·        certificates of deposit

·        broker’s statements

·        IRS forms from the financial institution

·        A letter from an accountant, attorney, real estate broker or buyer

·        Amortization schedule showing interest for the 12 months following the effective date.

·        Copies of latest rent receipts, leases or other documentation of rental amounts

·        Documentation of allowable operating expenses of the property; tax statements, insurance invoices and bills for reasonable maintenance and utilities

·        Lessee’s written statement verifying rent payments to the family and the family’s notarized statement as to the net income realized

·        PHA verification forms completed by the financial institution.

6-I.H. PERIODIC PAYMENTS

Periodic payments are forms of income received on a regular basis. HUD regulations specify periodic payments that are and are not included in annual income.

Periodic Payments Included in Annual Income

·        Periodic payments from sources such as social security, unemployment and welfare assistance, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, and pensions. However, periodic payments from retirement accounts, annuities, and similar forms of investments are counted only after they exceed the amount contributed by the family [24 CFR 5.609(b)(4) and (b)(3)].

·        Disability or death benefits and lottery receipts paid periodically, rather than in a single lump sum [24 CFR 5.609(b)(4) and HCV, p. 5-14]

Lump-Sum Payments for the Delayed Start of a Periodic Payment

Most lump sums received as a result of delays in processing periodic payments, such as unemployment or welfare assistance, are counted as income. However, lump-sum receipts for the delayed start of periodic social security or supplemental security income (SSI) payments are not counted as income [CFR 5.609(b)(4)].

Periodic Payments Excluded from Annual Income

·        Payments received for the care of foster children or foster adults (usually persons with disabilities, unrelated to the tenant family, who are unable to live alone) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(2)]

PHA Policy

The PHA will exclude payments for the care of foster children and foster adults only if the care is provided through an official arrangement with a local welfare agency [HCV GB, p. 5-18].

·        Amounts paid by a state agency to a family with a member who has a developmental disability and is living at home to offset the cost of services and equipment needed to keep the developmentally disabled family member at home [24 CFR 5.609(c)(16)]

·        Amounts received under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 1626(c)) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]

·        Amounts received under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858q) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]

·        Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refund payments (26 U.S.C. 32(j)) [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]. Note: EITC may be paid periodically if the family elects to receive the amount due as part of payroll payments from an employer.

·        Lump sums received as a result of delays in processing Social Security and SSI payments (see section 6-I.J.) [24 CFR 5.609(b)(4)].

6-I.I. PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF EARNINGS

Payments in lieu of earnings, such as unemployment and disability compensation, worker’s compensation, and severance pay, are counted as income [24 CFR 5.609(b)(5)] if they are received either in the form of periodic payments or in the form of a lump-sum amount or prospective monthly amounts for the delayed start of a periodic payment. If they are received in a one-time lump sum (as a settlement, for instance), they are treated as lump-sum receipts [24 CFR 5.609(c)(3)]. (See also the discussion of periodic payments in section 6-I.H and the discussion of lump-sum receipts in section 6-I.G.)

6-I.J. WELFARE ASSISTANCE

Overview

Welfare assistance is counted in annual income. Welfare assistance includes Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and any payments to individuals or families based on need that are made under programs funded separately or jointly by federal, state, or local governments [24 CFR 5.603(b)].

 Sanctions Resulting in the Reduction of Welfare Benefits [24 CFR 5.615]

The PHA must make a special calculation of annual income when the welfare agency imposes certain sanctions on certain families. The full text of the regulation at 24 CFR 5.615 is provided as Exhibit 6-5. The requirements are summarized below. This rule applies only if a family was a public housing resident at the time the sanction was imposed.

Covered Families

The families covered by 24 CFR 5.615 are those “who receive welfare assistance or other public assistance benefits (‘welfare benefits’) from a State or other public agency (’welfare agency’) under a program for which Federal, State or local law requires that a member of the family must participate in an economic self-sufficiency program as a condition for such assistance” [24 CFR 5.615(b)]

Imputed Income

When a welfare agency imposes a sanction that reduces a family’s welfare income because the family commits fraud or fails to comply with the agency’s economic self-sufficiency program or work activities requirement, the PHA must include in annual income “imputed” welfare income. The PHA must request that the welfare agency inform the PHA when the benefits of a public housing resident are reduced. The imputed income is the amount the family would have received if the family had not been sanctioned.

This requirement does not apply to reductions in welfare benefits: (1) at the expiration of the lifetime or other time limit on the payment of welfare benefits, (2) if a family member is unable to find employment even though the family member has complied with the welfare agency economic self-sufficiency or work activities requirements, or (3) because a family member has not complied with other welfare agency requirements [24 CFR 5.615(b)(2)].

For special procedures related to grievance hearings based upon the PHA’s denial of a family’s request to lower rent when the family experiences a welfare benefit reduction, see Chapter 14, Grievances and Appeals.

Offsets

The amount of the imputed income is offset by the amount of additional income the family begins to receive after the sanction is imposed. When the additional income equals or exceeds the imputed welfare income, the imputed income is reduced to zero [24 CFR 5.615(c)(4)].

6-I.K. PERIODIC AND DETERMINABLE ALLOWANCES [24 CFR 5.609(b)(7)]

Annual income includes periodic and determinable allowances, such as alimony and child support payments, and regular contributions or gifts received from organizations or from persons not residing with a tenant family.

Alimony and Child Support

The PHA must count alimony or child support amounts awarded as part of a divorce or separation agreement.

PHA Policy

The PHA will count court-awarded amounts for alimony and child support unless the PHA verifies that (1) the payments are not being made and (2) the family has made reasonable efforts to collect amounts due, including filing with courts or agencies responsible for enforcing payments [HCV GB, pp. 5-23 and 5-47].

Families who do not have court-awarded alimony and child support awards are not required to seek a court award and are not required to take independent legal action to obtain collection.

Regular Contributions or Gifts

The PHA must count as income regular monetary and nonmonetary contributions or gifts from persons not residing with a tenant family [24 CFR 5.609(b)(7)]. Temporary, nonrecurring, or sporadic income and gifts are not counted [24 CFR 5.609(c)(9)].

PHA Policy

Examples of regular contributions include: (1) regular payment of a family’s bills (e.g., utilities, telephone, rent, credit cards, and car payments), (2) cash or other liquid assets provided to any family member on a regular basis, and (3) “in-kind” contributions such as groceries and clothing provided to a family on a regular basis.

Nonmonetary contributions will be valued at the cost of purchasing the items, as determined by the PHA. For contributions that may vary from month to month (e.g., utility payments), the PHA will include an average amount based upon past history.

6-I.L. ADDITIONAL EXCLUSIONS FROM ANNUAL INCOME

Other exclusions contained in 24 CFR 5.609(c) that have not been discussed earlier in this chapter include the following:

·        Reimbursement of medical expenses [24 CFR 5.609(c)(4)]

·        The full amount of student financial assistance paid directly to the student or to the educational institution [24 CFR 5.609(c)(6)], except that in accordance with Section 224 of the FY 2005 Appropriations Act, the portion of any athletic scholarship assistance available for housing costs must be included in annual income [PIH Notice 2005-16].

PHA Policy

Regular financial support from parents or guardians to students for food, clothing personal items, and entertainment is not considered student financial assistance and is included in annual income.

·        Amounts received by participants in other publicly assisted programs which are specifically for or in reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred and which are made solely to allow participation in a specific program [24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(iii)]

·        Amounts received by a person with a disability that are disregarded for a limited time for purposes of Supplemental Security Income eligibility and benefits because they are set aside for use under a Plan to Attain Self-Sufficiency (PASS) [(24 CFR 5.609(c)(8)(ii)]

·        Reparation payments paid by a foreign government pursuant to claims filed under the laws of that government by persons who were persecuted during the Nazi era [24 CFR 5.609(c)(10)]

·        Adoption assistance payments in excess of $480 per adopted child [24 CFR 5.609(c)(12)]

·        Refunds or rebates on property taxes paid on the dwelling unit [24 CFR 5.609(c)(15)]

·        Amounts paid by a state agency to a family with a member who has a developmental disability and is living at home to offset the cost of services and equipment needed to keep the developmentally disabled family member at home [24 CFR 5.609(c)(16)]

·        Amounts specifically excluded by any other federal statute [24 CFR 5.609(c)(17)]. HUD publishes an updated list of these exclusions periodically. It includes:

(a)   The value of the allotment provided to an eligible household under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2017 (b))

(b)   Payments to Volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 5044(g), 5058)

(c)   Payments received under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1626(c))

(d)   Income derived from certain submarginal land of the United States that is held in trust for certain Indian tribes (25 U.S.C. 459e)

(e)   Payments or allowances made under the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 8624(f))

(f)    Payments received under programs funded in whole or in part under the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1552(b)) (Effective July 1, 2000, references to Job Training Partnership Act shall be deemed to refer to the corresponding provision of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931).)

(g)   Income derived from the disposition of funds to the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians (Pub. L. 94-540, 90 Stat. 2503-04)

 (h)  The first $2,000 of per capita shares received from judgment funds awarded by the Indian Claims Commission or the U. S. Claims Court, the interests of individual Indians in trust or restricted lands, including the first $2,000 per year of income received by individual Indians from funds derived from interests held in such trust or restricted lands (25 U.S.C. 1407-1408)

(i)    Amounts of scholarships funded under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, including awards under the federal work-study program or under the Bureau of Indian Affairs student assistance programs (20 U.S.C. 1087uu)

(j)    Payments received from programs funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 3056(f))

(k)   Payments received on or after January 1, 1989, from the Agent Orange Settlement Fund or any other fund established pursuant to the settlement in In Re Agent-product liability litigation, M.D.L. No. 381 (E.D.N.Y.)

(l)    Payments received under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (25 U.S.C. 1721)

(m)  The value of any child care provided or arranged (or any amount received as payment for such care or reimbursement for costs incurred for such care) under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858q)

(n)   Earned income tax credit (EITC) refund payments received on or after January 1, 1991 (26 U.S.C. 32(j))

(o)   Payments by the Indian Claims Commission to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Indian Nation or the Apache Tribe of Mescalero Reservation (Pub. L. 95-433)

(p)   Allowances, earnings and payments to AmeriCorps participants under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12637(d))

(q)   Any allowance paid under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1805 to a child suffering from spina bifida who is the child of a Vietnam veteran (38 U.S.C. 1805)

(r)    Any amount of crime victim compensation (under the Victims of Crime Act) received through crime victim assistance (or payment or reimbursement of the cost of such assistance) as determined under the Victims of Crime Act because of the commission of a crime against the applicant under the Victims of Crime Act (42 U.S.C. 10602)

(s)   Allowances, earnings and payments to individuals participating in programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931)

PART II: ADJUSTED INCOME

6-II.A. INTRODUCTION

Overview

HUD regulations require PHAs to deduct from annual income any of five mandatory deductions for which a family qualifies. The resulting amount is the family’s adjusted income. Mandatory deductions are found in 24 CFR 5.611.

5.611(a) Mandatory deductions. In determining adjusted income, the responsible entity (PHA) must deduct the following amounts from annual income:

(1) $480 for each dependent;

(2) $400 for any elderly family or disabled family;

(3) The sum of the following, to the extent the sum exceeds three percent of annual income:

(i) Unreimbursed medical expenses of any elderly family or disabled family;

(ii) Unreimbursed reasonable attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses for each member of the family who is a person with disabilities, to the extent necessary to enable any member of the family (including the member who is a person with disabilities) to be employed. This deduction may not exceed the earned income received by family members who are 18 years of age or older and who are able to work because of such attendant care or auxiliary apparatus; and

(4) Any reasonable child care expenses necessary to enable a member of the family to be employed or to further his or her education.

This part covers policies related to these mandatory deductions. Verification requirements related to these deductions are found in Chapter 7, Verifications.

 Anticipating Expenses

PHA Policy

Generally, the PHA will use current circumstances to anticipate expenses. When possible, for costs that are expected to fluctuate during the year (e.g., child care during school and nonschool periods and cyclical medical expenses), the PHA will estimate costs based on historic data and known future costs.

If a family has an accumulated debt for medical or disability assistance expenses, the PHA will include as an eligible expense the portion of the debt that the family expects to pay during the period for which the income determination is being made. However, amounts previously deducted will not be allowed even if the amounts were not paid as expected in a preceding period. The PHA may require the family to provide documentation of payments made in the preceding year.

6-II.B. DEPENDENT DEDUCTION

A deduction of $480 is taken for each dependent [24 CFR 5.611(a)(1)]. Dependent is defined as any family member other than the head, spouse, or cohead who is under the age of 18 or who is 18 or older and is a person with disabilities or a full-time student. Foster children, foster adults, and live-in aides are never considered dependents [24 CFR 5.603(b)].

6-II.C. ELDERLY OR DISABLED FAMILY DEDUCTION

A single deduction of $400 is taken for any elderly or disabled family [24 CFR 5.611(a)(2)]. An elderly family is a family whose head, spouse, cohead, or sole member is 62 years of age or older, and a disabled family is a family whose head, spouse, cohead, or sole member is a person with disabilities [24 CFR 5.403].

6-II.D. MEDICAL EXPENSES DEDUCTION [24 CFR 5.611(a)(3)(i)]

Unreimbursed medical expenses may be deducted to the extent that, in combination with any disability assistance expenses, they exceed three percent of annual income.

The medical expense deduction is permitted only for families in which the head, spouse, or cohead is at least 62 or is a person with disabilities. If a family is eligible for a medical expense deduction, the medical expenses of all family members are counted [VG, p. 28].

Definition of Medical Expenses

HUD regulations define medical expenses at 24 CFR 5.603(b) to mean “medical expenses, including medical insurance premiums, that are anticipated during the period for which annual income is computed, and that are not covered by insurance.”

Summary of Allowable Medical Expenses from IRS Publication 502

Services of medical professionals

Surgery and medical procedures that are necessary, legal, noncosmetic

Services of medical facilities

Hospitalization, long-term care, and in-home nursing services

Prescription medicines and insulin, but not nonprescription medicines even if recommended by a doctor

Improvements to housing directly related to medical needs (e.g., ramps for a wheel chair, handrails)

Substance abuse treatment programs

Psychiatric treatment

Ambulance services and some costs of transportation related to medical expenses

The cost and care of necessary equipment related to a medical condition (e.g., eyeglasses/lenses, hearing aids, crutches, and artificial teeth)

Cost and continuing care of necessary service animals

Medical insurance premiums or the cost of a health maintenance organization (HMO)

Note: This chart provides a summary of eligible medical expenses only. Detailed information is provided in IRS Publication 502. Medical expenses are considered only to the extent they are not reimbursed by insurance or some other source.

Families That Qualify for Both Medical and Disability Assistance Expenses

PHA Policy

This policy applies only to families in which the head, spouse, or cohead is 62 or older or is a person with disabilities.

When expenses anticipated by a family could be defined as either medical or disability assistance expenses, the PHA will consider them medical expenses unless it is clear that the expenses are incurred exclusively to enable a person with disabilities to work.

6-II.E. DISABILITY ASSISTANCE EXPENSES DEDUCTION [24 CFR 5.603(b) and
24 CFR 5.611(a)(3)(ii)]

Reasonable expenses for attendant care and auxiliary apparatus for a disabled family member may be deducted if they: (1) are necessary to enable a family member 18 years or older to work, (2) are not paid to a family member or reimbursed by an outside source, (3) in combination with any medical expenses, exceed three percent of annual income, and (4) do not exceed the earned income received by the family member who is enabled to work.

Earned Income Limit on the Disability Assistance Expense Deduction

A family can qualify for the disability assistance expense deduction only if at least one family member (who may be the person with disabilities) is enabled to work [24 CFR 5.603(b)].

The disability expense deduction is capped by the amount of “earned income received by family members who are 18 years of age or older and who are able to work” because of the expense [24 CFR 5.611(a)(3)(ii)]. The earned income used for this purpose is the amount verified before any earned income disallowances or income exclusions are applied.

PHA Policy

The family must identify the family members enabled to work as a result of the disability assistance expenses. In evaluating the family’s request, the PHA will consider factors such as how the work schedule of the relevant family members relates to the hours of care provided, the time required for transportation, the relationship of the family members to the person with disabilities, and any special needs of the person with disabilities that might determine which family members are enabled to work.

When the PHA determines that the disability assistance expenses enable more than one family member to work, the disability assistance expenses will be capped by the sum of the family members’ incomes [PH Occ GB,  p. 124].

Eligible Disability Expenses

Examples of auxiliary apparatus are provided in the PH Occupancy Guidebook as follows: “Auxiliary apparatus: Including wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, reading devices for persons with visual disabilities, equipment added to cars and vans to permit their use by the family member with a disability, or service animals” [PH Occ GB, p. 124], but only if these items are directly related to permitting the disabled person or other family member to work [HCV GB, p. 5-30].

HUD advises PHAs to further define and describe auxiliary apparatus [VG, p. 30].

Eligible Auxiliary Apparatus

PHA Policy

Expenses incurred for maintaining or repairing an auxiliary apparatus are eligible. In the case of an apparatus that is specially adapted to accommodate a person with disabilities (e.g., a vehicle or computer), the cost to maintain the special adaptations (but not maintenance of the apparatus itself) is an eligible expense. The cost of service animals trained to give assistance to persons with disabilities, including the cost of acquiring the animal, veterinary care, food, grooming, and other continuing costs of care, will be included.

Eligible Attendant Care

The family determines the type of attendant care that is appropriate for the person with disabilities.

PHA Policy

Attendant care includes, but is not limited to, reasonable costs for home medical care, nursing services, in-home or center-based care services, interpreters for persons with hearing impairments, and readers for persons with visual disabilities.

Attendant care expenses will be included for the period that the person enabled to work is employed plus reasonable transportation time. The cost of general housekeeping and personal services is not an eligible attendant care expense. However, if the person enabled to work is the person with disabilities, personal services necessary to enable the person with disabilities to work are eligible.

If the care attendant also provides other services to the family, the PHA will prorate the cost and allow only that portion of the expenses attributable to attendant care that enables a family member to work. For example, if the care provider also cares for a child who is not the person with disabilities, the cost of care must be prorated. Unless otherwise specified by the care provider, the calculation will be based upon the number of hours spent in each activity and/or the number of persons under care.

Payments to Family Members

No disability expenses may be deducted for payments to a member of a tenant family [23 CFR 5.603(b)]. However, expenses paid to a relative who is not a member of the tenant family may be deducted if they are reimbursed by an outside source.

Necessary and Reasonable Expenses

The family determines the type of care or auxiliary apparatus to be provided and must describe how the expenses enable a family member to work. The family must certify that the disability assistance expenses are necessary and are not paid or reimbursed by any other source.

PHA Policy

The PHA determines the reasonableness of the expenses based on typical costs of care or apparatus in the locality. To establish typical costs, the PHA will collect information from organizations that provide services and support to persons with disabilities. A family may present, and the PHA will consider, the family’s justification for costs that exceed typical costs in the area.

Families That Qualify for Both Medical and Disability Assistance Expenses

PHA Policy

This policy applies only to families in which the head, spouse, or cohead is 62 or older or is a person with disabilities.

When expenses anticipated by a family could be defined as either medical or disability assistance expenses, the PHA will consider them medical expenses unless it is clear that the expenses are incurred exclusively to enable a person with disabilities to work.

6-II.F. CHILD CARE EXPENSE DEDUCTION

HUD defines child care expenses at 24 CFR 5.603(b) as “amounts anticipated to be paid by the family for the care of children under 13 years of age during the period for which annual income is computed, but only where such care is necessary to enable a family member to actively seek employment, be gainfully employed, or to further his or her education and only to the extent such amounts are not reimbursed. The amount deducted shall reflect reasonable charges for child care. In the case of child care necessary to permit employment, the amount deducted shall not exceed the amount of employment income that is included in annual income.”

Child care expenses do not include child support payments made to another on behalf of a minor who is not living in an assisted family’s household [VG, p. 26]. However, child care expenses for foster children that are living in the assisted family’s household, are included when determining the family’s child care expenses.

Qualifying for the Deduction

Determining Who Is Enabled to Pursue an Eligible Activity

PHA Policy

The family must identify the family member(s) enabled to pursue an eligible activity. The term eligible activity in this section means any of the activities that may make the family eligible for a child care deduction (seeking work, pursuing an education, or being gainfully employed).

In evaluating the family’s request, the PHA will consider factors such as how the schedule for the claimed activity relates to the hours of care provided, the time required for transportation, the relationship of the family member(s) to the child, and any special needs of the child that might help determine which family member is enabled to pursue an eligible activity.

Seeking Work

PHA Policy

If the child care expense being claimed is to enable a family member to seek employment, the family must provide evidence of the family member’s efforts to obtain employment at each reexamination. The deduction may be reduced or denied if the family member’s job search efforts are not commensurate with the child care expense being allowed by the PHA.

Furthering Education

PHA Policy

If the child care expense being claimed is to enable a family member to further his or her education, the member must be enrolled in school (academic or vocational) or participating in a formal training program. The family member is not required to be a full-time student, but the time spent in educational activities must be commensurate with the child care claimed.

Being Gainfully Employed

PHA Policy

If the child care expense being claimed is to enable a family member to be gainfully employed, the family must provide evidence of the family member’s employment during the time that child care is being provided. Gainful employment is any legal work activity (full- or part-time) for which a family member is compensated.

Earned Income Limit on Child Care Expense Deduction

When a family member looks for work or furthers his or her education, there is no cap on the amount that may be deducted for child care – although the care must still be necessary and reasonable. However, when child care enables a family member to work, the deduction is capped by “the amount of employment income that is included in annual income” [24 CFR 5.603(b)].

The earned income used for this purpose is the amount of earned income verified after any earned income disallowances or income exclusions are applied.

When the person who is enabled to work is a person who receives the earned income disallowance (EID) or a full-time student whose earned income above $480 is excluded, child care costs related to enabling a family member to work may not exceed the portion of the person’s earned income that actually is included in annual income. For example, if a family member who qualifies for the EID makes $15,000 but because of the EID only $5,000 is included in annual income, child care expenses are limited to $5,000.

The PHA must not limit the deduction to the least expensive type of child care. If the care allows the family to pursue more than one eligible activity, including work, the cap is calculated in proportion to the amount of time spent working [HCV GB, p. 5-30].

Eligible Child Care Expenses

The type of care to be provided is determined by the tenant family. The PHA may not refuse to give a family the child care expense deduction because there is an adult family member in the household that may be available to provide child care [VG, p. 26].

Necessary and Reasonable Costs

Child care expenses will be considered necessary if: (1) a family adequately explains how the care enables a family member to work, actively seek employment, or further his or her education, and (2) the family certifies, and the child care provider verifies, that the expenses are not paid or reimbursed by any other source.

PHA Policy

Child care expenses will be considered for the time required for the eligible activity plus reasonable transportation time. For child care that enables a family member to go to school, the time allowed may include not more than one study hour for each hour spent in class.

6-II.G. PERMISSIVE DEDUCTIONS [24 CFR 5.611(b)(1)]

Permissive deductions are additional, optional deductions that may be applied to annual income. As with mandatory deductions, permissive deductions must be based on need or family circumstance and deductions must be designed to encourage self-sufficiency or other economic purpose.  If the PHA offers permissive deductions, they must be granted to all families that qualify for them and should complement existing income exclusions and deductions [PH Occ GB, p. 128].

The Form HUD-50058 Instruction Booklet states that the maximum allowable amount for total permissive deductions is less than $90,000 per year.

PHA Policy

The PHA offers the following permissive deductions to annual income:

Employment allowance: $550 for family members who are 18 and older and are currently employed (not to exceed two (2) members per household).

PART III: CALCULATING RENT

6-III.A. OVERVIEW OF INCOME-BASED RENT CALCULATIONS

The first step in calculating income-based rent is to determine each family’s total tenant payment (TTP). Then, if the family is occupying a unit that has tenant-paid utilities, the utility allowance is subtracted from the TTP. The result of this calculation, if a positive number, is the tenant rent. If the TTP is less than the utility allowance, the result of this calculation is a negative number, and is called the utility reimbursement, which may be paid to the family or directly to the utility company by the PHA.

TTP Formula [24 CFR 5.628]

HUD regulations specify the formula for calculating the total tenant payment (TTP) for a tenant   family. TTP is the highest of the following amounts, rounded to the nearest dollar:

·        30 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income (adjusted income is defined in Part II)

·        10 percent of the family’s monthly gross income (annual income, as defined in Part I, divided by 12)

·        The welfare rent (in as-paid states only)

·        A minimum rent between $0 and $50 that is established by the PHA

The PHA has authority to suspend and exempt families from minimum rent when a financial hardship exists, as defined in section 6-III.B.

Welfare Rent [24 CFR 5.628]

PHA Policy

Welfare rent does not apply in this locality.

Minimum Rent [24 CFR 5.630]

PHA Policy

The minimum rent for this locality is $0.

Optional Changes to Income-Based Rents [24 CFR 960.253(c)(2) and PH Occ GB, pp. 131‑134]

PHAs have been given very broad flexibility to establish their own, unique rent calculation systems as long as the rent produced is not higher than that calculated using the TTP and mandatory deductions. At the discretion of the PHA, rent policies may structure a system that uses combinations of permissive deductions, escrow accounts, income-based rents, and the required flat and minimum rents.

The PHA’s minimum rent and rent choice policies still apply to affected families. Utility allowances are applied to PHA designed income-based rents in the same manner as they are applied to the regulatory income-based rents.

The choices are limited only by the requirement that the method used not produce a TTP or tenant rent greater than the TTP or tenant rent produced under the regulatory formula.

PHA Policy

The PHA chooses not to adopt optional changes to income-based rents.

Ceiling Rents [24 CFR 960.253 (c)(2) and (d)]

Ceiling rents are used to cap income-based rents. They are part of the income-based formula. If the calculated TTP exceeds the ceiling rent for the unit, the ceiling rent is used to calculate tenant rent (ceiling rent/TTP minus utility allowance). Increases in income do not affect the family since the rent is capped. The use of ceiling rents fosters upward mobility and income mixing.

Because of the mandatory use of flat rents, the primary function of ceiling rents now is to assist families who cannot switch back to flat rent between annual reexaminations and would otherwise be paying an income-based tenant rent that is higher than the flat rent.

Ceiling rents must be set to the level required for flat rents (which will require the addition of the utility allowance to the flat rent for properties with tenant-paid utilities) [PH Occ GB, p. 135].

PHA Policy

The PHA has established the following ceiling rents:

1 Bedroom = $366

2 Bedroom = $430

3 Bedroom = $538

4 Bedroom = $602

5 Bedroom = $783

Utility Reimbursement [24 CFR 960.253(c)(3)]

Utility reimbursement occurs when any applicable utility allowance for tenant-paid utilities exceeds the TTP. HUD permits the PHA to pay the reimbursement to the family or directly to the utility provider.

6-III.B. FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS AFFECTING MINIMUM RENT [24 CFR 5.630]

PHA Policy

The financial hardship rules described below do not apply in this jurisdiction because the PHA has established a minimum rent of $0.

Overview

If the PHA establishes a minimum rent greater than zero, the PHA must grant an exemption from the minimum rent if a family is unable to pay the minimum rent because of financial hardship.

The financial hardship exemption applies only to families required to pay the minimum rent. If a family’s TTP is higher than the minimum rent, the family is not eligible for a hardship exemption. If the PHA determines that a hardship exists, the TTP is the highest of the remaining components of the family’s calculated TTP.

HUD-Defined Financial Hardship

Financial hardship includes the following situations:

(1)  The family has lost eligibility for or is awaiting an eligibility determination for a federal, state, or local assistance program. This includes a family member who is a noncitizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act who would be entitled to public benefits but for Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996.  

(2)  The family would be evicted because it is unable to pay the minimum rent.

(3)  Family income has decreased because of changed family circumstances, including the loss of employment.

(4)  A death has occurred in the family.

PHA Policy

In order to qualify under this provision, a family must describe how the death has created a financial hardship (e.g., because of funeral-related expenses or the loss of the family member’s income).

(5)  The family has experienced other circumstances determined by the PHA.

Implementation of Hardship Exemption

Determination of Hardship

When a family requests a financial hardship exemption, the PHA must suspend the minimum rent requirement beginning the first of the month following the family’s request.

The PHA then determines whether the financial hardship exists and whether the hardship is temporary or long-term.

PHA Policy

The PHA defines temporary hardship as a hardship expected to last 90 days or less.  Long term hardship is defined as a hardship expected to last more than 90 days.

The PHA may not evict the family for nonpayment of minimum rent during the 90-day period beginning the month following the family’s request for a hardship exemption.

When the minimum rent is suspended, the TTP reverts to the highest of the remaining components of the calculated TTP. The example below demonstrates the effect of the minimum rent exemption.

No Financial Hardship

If the PHA determines there is no financial hardship, the PHA will reinstate the minimum rent and require the family to repay the amounts suspended.

For procedures pertaining to grievance hearing requests based upon the PHA’s denial of a hardship exemption, see Chapter 14, Grievances and Appeals.

PHA Policy

The PHA will require the family to repay the suspended amount within 30 calendar days of the PHA’s notice that a hardship exemption has not been granted.

 Temporary Hardship

If the PHA determines that a qualifying financial hardship is temporary, the PHA must reinstate the minimum rent from the beginning of the first of the month following the date of the family’s request for a hardship exemption.

The family must resume payment of the minimum rent and must repay the PHA the amounts suspended. HUD requires the PHA to offer a reasonable repayment agreement, on terms and conditions established by the PHA. The PHA also may determine that circumstances have changed and the hardship is now a long-term hardship.

For procedures pertaining to grievance hearing requests based upon the PHA’s denial of a hardship exemption, see Chapter 14, Grievances and Appeals.

PHA Policy

The PHA will enter into a repayment agreement in accordance with the PHA's repayment agreement policy (see Chapter 16).

Long-Term Hardship

If the PHA determines that the financial hardship is long-term, the PHA must exempt the family from the minimum rent requirement for so long as the hardship continues. The exemption will apply from the first of the month following the family’s request until the end of the qualifying hardship. When the financial hardship has been determined to be long-term, the family is not required to repay the minimum rent.

PHA Policy

The hardship period ends when any of the following circumstances apply:

(1)  At an interim or annual reexamination, the family’s calculated TTP is greater than the minimum rent.

(2)  For hardship conditions based on loss of income, the hardship condition will continue to be recognized until new sources of income are received that are at least equal to the amount lost. For example, if a hardship is approved because a family no longer receives a $60/month child support payment, the hardship will continue to exist until the family receives at least $60/month in income from another source or once again begins to receive the child support.

(3)  For hardship conditions based upon hardship-related expenses, the minimum rent exemption will continue to be recognized until the cumulative amount exempted is equal to the expense incurred.

6-III.C. UTILITY ALLOWANCES [24 CFR 965, Subpart E]

Overview

Utility allowances are provided to families paying income-based rents when the cost of utilities is not included in the rent. When determining a family’s income-based rent, the PHA must use the utility allowance applicable to the type of dwelling unit leased by the family.

For policies on establishing and updating utility allowances, see Chapter 16.

 Reasonable Accommodation [24 CFR 8]

On request from a family, PHAs must approve a utility allowance that is higher than the applicable amount for the dwelling unit if a higher utility allowance is needed as a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to and usable by the family with a disability [PH Occ GB, p. 172].

Residents with disabilities may not be charged for the use of certain resident-supplied appliances if there is a verified need for special equipment because of the disability [PH Occ GB, p. 172].

See Chapter 2 for policies related to reasonable accommodations.

Utility Allowance Revisions [24 CFR 965.507]

The PHA must review its schedule of utility allowances each year. Between annual reviews, the PHA must revise the utility allowance schedule if there is a rate change that by itself or together with prior rate changes not adjusted for, results in a change of 10 percent or more from the rate on which such allowances were based. Adjustments to resident payments as a result of such changes must be retroactive to the first day of the month following the month in which the last rate change taken into account in such revision became effective [PH Occ GB, p. 171].

The tenant rent calculations must reflect any changes in the PHA’s utility allowance schedule [24 CFR 960.253(c)(3)].

PHA Policy

Unless the PHA is required to revise utility allowances retroactively, revised utility allowances will be applied to a family’s rent calculations at the first annual reexamination after the allowance is adopted.

6-III.D. PRORATED RENT FOR MIXED FAMILIES [24 CFR 5.520]

HUD regulations prohibit assistance to ineligible family members. A mixed family is one that includes at least one U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant and any number of ineligible family members. The PHA must prorate the assistance provided to a mixed family. The PHA will first determine TTP as if all family members were eligible and then prorate the rent based upon the number of family members that actually are eligible. To do this, the PHA must:

(1)  Subtract the TTP from a maximum rent applicable to the unit. The result is the maximum subsidy for which the family could qualify if all members were eligible.

(2)  Divide the family maximum subsidy by the number of persons in the family to determine the maximum subsidy per each family member who is eligible (member maximum subsidy).

(3)  Multiply the member maximum subsidy by the number of eligible family members.

(4)  Subtract the subsidy calculated in the last step from the maximum rent.  This is the prorated TTP.

(5)  Subtract the utility allowance for the unit from the prorated TTP.  This is the prorated rent for the mixed family.

For policies related to the establishment of the public housing maximum rent see Chapter 16.

6-III.E. FLAT RENTS AND FAMILY CHOICE IN RENTS [24 CFR 960.253]

Flat Rents [24 CFR 960.253(b)]

The flat rent is designed to encourage self-sufficiency and to avoid creating disincentives for continued residency by families who are attempting to become economically self-sufficient.

There is no utility allowance or reimbursement with flat rents. When the family elects to pay the flat rent, the flat rent amount quoted to the family by the PHA is the amount the family pays. Changes in family income, expenses, or composition will not affect the flat rent amount because it is outside the income-based formula.

Policies related to the reexamination of families paying flat rent are contained in Chapter 9, and policies related to the establishment and review of flat rents are contained in Chapter 16.

Family Choice in Rents [24 CFR 960.253(a) and (e)]

Once each year, the PHA must offer families the choice between a flat rent and an income-based rent. The family may not be offered this choice more than once a year. The PHA must document that flat rents were offered to families under the methods used to determine flat rents for the PHA.

PHA Policy

The annual PHA offer to a family of the choice between flat and income-based rent will be conducted upon admission and upon each subsequent annual reexamination.

The PHA will require families to submit their choice of flat or income-based rent in writing and will maintain such requests in the tenant file as part of the admission or annual reexamination process.

The PHA must provide sufficient information for families to make an informed choice. This information must include the PHA’s policy on switching from flat rent to income-based rent due to financial hardship and the dollar amount of the rent under each option. However, if the family chose the flat rent for the previous year the PHA is required to provide an income-based rent amount only in the year that a reexamination of income is conducted or if the family specifically requests it and submits updated income information.

Switching from Flat Rent to Income-Based Rent Due to Hardship [24 CFR 960.253(f)]

A family can opt to switch from flat rent to income-based rent at any time if they are unable to pay the flat rent due to financial hardship. If the PHA determines that a financial hardship exists, the PHA must immediately allow the family to switch from flat rent to the income-based rent.

PHA Policy

Upon determination by the PHA that a financial hardship exists, the PHA will allow a family to switch from flat rent to income-based rent effective the first of the month following the family’s request.

Reasons for financial hardship include:

·        The family has experienced a decrease in income because of changed circumstances, including loss or reduction of employment, death in the family, or reduction in or loss of earnings or other assistance

·        The family has experienced an increase in expenses, because of changed circumstances, for medical costs, child care, transportation, education, or similar items

·        Such other situations determined by the PHA to be appropriate

PHA Policy

The PHA considers payment of flat rent to be a financial hardship whenever the switch to income-based rent would be lower than the flat rent [PH Occ GB, p. 137].

Flat Rents and Earned Income Disallowance [A&O FAQs]

Because the EID is a function of income-based rents, a family paying flat rent cannot qualify for the EID even if a family member experiences an event that would qualify the family for the EID. If the family later chooses to pay income-based rent, they would only qualify for the EID if a new qualifying event occurred.

A family currently paying flat rent that previously qualified for the EID while paying income-based rent and is currently within their 48 month period would have the 12 cumulative months of full (100 percent) and phase-in (50 percent) exclusion continue while paying flat rent as long as the employment that is the subject of the exclusion continues, and the 48-month lifetime limit would continue uninterrupted. A family paying flat rent could therefore see a family member’s 48-month lifetime limit expire while the family is paying flat rent.

Flat Rents and Mixed Families [A&O FAQs]

Mixed families electing to pay flat rent must first have a flat rent worksheet completed to see if the flat rent must be prorated. The worksheet is located in Appendix III of the Form HUD-50058 Instruction Booklet.

If the flat rent is greater than or equal to the public housing maximum rent, there is no proration of flat rent and the family pays the flat rent for the unit.

If the flat rent is less than the maximum rent, the worksheet will calculate a prorated flat rent. The mixed family will pay the prorated flat rent.

EXHIBIT 6-1: ANNUAL INCOME INCLUSIONS

24 CFR 5.609

(a) Annual income means all amounts, monetary or not, which:

(1) Go to, or on behalf of, the family head or spouse (even if temporarily absent) or to any other family member; or

(2) Are anticipated to be received from a source outside the family during the 12-month period following admission or annual reexamination effective date; and

(3) Which are not specifically excluded in paragraph (c) of this section.

(4) Annual income also means amounts derived (during the 12-month period) from assets to which any member of the family has access.

(b) Annual income includes, but is not limited to:

(1) The full amount, before any payroll deductions, of wages and salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips and bonuses, and other compensation for personal services;

(2) The net income from the operation of a business or profession. Expenditures for business expansion or amortization of capital indebtedness shall not be used as deductions in determining net income. An allowance for depreciation of assets used in a business or profession may be deducted, based on straight line depreciation, as provided in Internal Revenue Service regulations. Any withdrawal of cash or assets from the operation of a business or profession will be included in income, except to the extent the withdrawal is reimbursement of cash or assets invested in the operation by the family;

(3) Interest, dividends, and other net income of any kind from real or personal property. Expenditures for amortization of capital indebtedness shall not be used as deductions in determining net income. An allowance for depreciation is permitted only as authorized in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Any withdrawal of cash or assets from an investment will be included in income, except to the extent the withdrawal is reimbursement of cash or assets invested by the family. Where the family has net family assets in excess of $5,000, annual income shall include the greater of the actual income derived from all net family assets or a percentage of the value of such assets based on the current passbook savings rate, as determined by HUD;

(4) The full amount of periodic amounts received from Social Security, annuities, insurance policies, retirement funds, pensions, disability or death benefits, and other similar types of periodic receipts, including a lump-sum amount or prospective monthly amounts for the delayed start of a periodic amount (except as provided in paragraph (c)(14) of this section);

(5) Payments in lieu of earnings, such as unemployment and disability compensation, worker's compensation and severance pay (except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section);

(6) Welfare assistance payments.

(i) Welfare assistance payments made under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are included in annual income only to the extent such payments:

(A) Qualify as assistance under the TANF program definition at 45 CFR 260.31[1]; and

(B) Are not otherwise excluded under paragraph (c) of this section.

(ii) If the welfare assistance payment includes an amount specifically designated for shelter and utilities that is subject to adjustment by the welfare assistance agency in accordance with the actual cost of shelter and utilities, the amount of welfare assistance income to be included as income shall consist of:

(A) The amount of the allowance or grant exclusive of the amount specifically designated for shelter or utilities; plus

(B) The maximum amount that the welfare assistance agency could in fact allow the family for shelter and utilities. If the family's welfare assistance is ratably reduced from the standard of need by applying a percentage, the amount calculated under this paragraph shall be the amount resulting from one application of the percentage.

(7) Periodic and determinable allowances, such as alimony and child support payments, and regular contributions or gifts received from organizations or from persons not residing in the dwelling;

(8) All regular pay, special pay and allowances of a member of the Armed Forces (except as provided in paragraph (c)(7) of this section)

HHS DEFINITION OF "ASSISTANCE"

45 CFR:  General Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

260.31  What does the term “assistance” mean?

(a)(1) The term “assistance” includes cash, payments, vouchers, and other forms of benefits designed to meet a family’s ongoing basic needs (i.e., for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, household goods, personal care items, and general incidental expenses).

(2) It includes such benefits even when they are:

(i) Provided in the form of payments by a TANF agency, or other agency on its behalf, to individual recipients; and

(ii) Conditioned on participation in work experience or community service (or any other work activity under 261.30 of this chapter).

(3) Except where excluded under paragraph (b) of this section, it also includes supportive services such as transportation and child care provided to families who are not employed.

(b) [The definition of “assistance”] excludes: (1) Nonrecurrent, short-term benefits that:

(i) Are designed to deal with a specific crisis situation or episode of need;

(ii) Are not intended to meet recurrent or ongoing needs; and

(iii) Will not extend beyond four months.

(2) Work subsidies (i.e., payments to employers or third parties to help cover the costs of employee wages, benefits, supervision, and training);

(3) Supportive services such as child care and transportation provided to families who are employed;

(4) Refundable earned income tax credits;

(5) Contributions to, and distributions from, Individual Development Accounts;

(6) Services such as counseling, case management, peer support, child care information and referral, transitional services, job retention, job advancement, and other employment-related services that do not provide basic income support; and

(7) Transportation benefits provided under a Job Access or Reverse Commute project, pursuant to section 404(k) of [the Social Security] Act, to an individual who is not otherwise receiving assistance.

 

EXHIBIT 6-2: ANNUAL INCOME EXCLUSIONS

24 CFR 5.609

(c) Annual income does not include the following:

(1) Income from employment of children (including foster children) under the age of 18 years;

(2) Payments received for the care of foster children or foster adults (usually persons with disabilities, unrelated to the tenant family, who are unable to live alone);

(3) Lump-sum additions to family assets, such as inheritances, insurance payments (including payments under health and accident insurance and worker's compensation), capital gains and settlement for personal or property losses (except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section);

(4) Amounts received by the family that are specifically for, or in reimbursement of, the cost of medical expenses for any family member;

(5) Income of a live-in aide, as defined in Sec. 5.403;

(6) The full amount of student financial assistance paid directly to the student or to the educational institution;

(7) The special pay to a family member serving in the Armed Forces who is exposed to hostile fire;

(8) (i) Amounts received under training programs funded by HUD;

(ii) Amounts received by a person with a disability that are disregarded for a limited time for purposes of Supplemental Security Income eligibility and benefits because they are set aside for use under a Plan to Attain Self-Sufficiency (PASS);

(iii) Amounts received by a participant in other publicly assisted programs which are specifically for or in reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred (special equipment, clothing, transportation, child care, etc.) and which are made solely to allow participation in a specific program;

(iv) Amounts received under a resident service stipend. A resident service stipend is a modest amount (not to exceed $200 per month) received by a resident for performing a service for the PHA or owner, on a part-time basis, that enhances the quality of life in the development. Such services may include, but are not limited to, fire patrol, hall monitoring, lawn maintenance, resident initiatives coordination, and serving as a member of the PHA's governing board. No resident may receive more than one such stipend during the same period of time;

(v) Incremental earnings and benefits resulting to any family member from participation in qualifying State or local employment training programs (including training programs not affiliated with a local government) and training of a family member as resident management staff. Amounts excluded by this provision must be received under employment training programs with clearly defined goals and objectives, and are excluded only for the period during which the family member participates in the employment training program;

(9) Temporary, nonrecurring or sporadic income (including gifts);

(10) Reparation payments paid by a foreign government pursuant to claims filed under the laws of that government by persons who were persecuted during the Nazi era;

(11) Earnings in excess of $480 for each full-time student 18 years old or older (excluding the head of household and spouse);

(12) Adoption assistance payments in excess of $480 per adopted child;

(13) [Reserved]

(14) Deferred periodic amounts from supplemental security income and social security benefits that are received in a lump sum amount or in prospective monthly amounts.

(15) Amounts received by the family in the form of refunds or rebates under State or local law for property taxes paid on the dwelling unit;

(16) Amounts paid by a State agency to a family with a member who has a developmental disability and is living at home to offset the cost of services and equipment needed to keep the developmentally disabled family member at home; or

(17) Amounts specifically excluded by any other Federal statute from consideration as income for purposes of determining eligibility or benefits under a category of assistance programs that includes assistance under any program to which the exclusions set forth in 24 CFR 5.609(c) apply. A notice will be published in the Federal Register and distributed to PHAs and housing owners identifying the benefits that qualify for this exclusion. Updates will be published and distributed when necessary. [See the following chart for a list of benefits that qualify for this exclusion.]

Sources of Income Excluded by Federal Statute from Consideration as Income for Purposes of Determining Eligibility or Benefits

a) The value of the allotment provided to an eligible household under the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 2017 (b));

b) Payments to Volunteers under the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (42 U.S.C. 5044(g), 5058);

c) Payments received under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1626(c));

d) Income derived from certain submarginal land of the United States that is held in trust for certain Indian tribes (25 U.S.C. 459e);

e) Payments or allowances made under the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 8624(f));

f) Payments received under programs funded in whole or in part under the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. 1552(b); (effective July 1, 2000, references to Job Training Partnership Act shall be deemed to refer to the corresponding provision of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931);

g) Income derived from the disposition of funds to the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians (Pub.L- 94-540, 90 Stat. 2503-04);

h) The first $2000 of per capita shares received from judgment funds awarded by the Indian Claims Commission or the U. S. Claims Court, the interests of individual Indians in trust or restricted lands, including the first $2000 per year of income received by individual Indians from funds derived from interests held in such trust or restricted lands (25 U.S.C. 1407-1408);

i) Amounts of scholarships funded under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, including awards under federal work-study program or under the Bureau of Indian Affairs student assistance programs (20 U.S.C. 1087uu);

j) Payments received from programs funded under Title V of the Older Americans Act of 1985 (42 U.S.C. 3056(f));

k) Payments received on or after January 1, 1989, from the Agent Orange Settlement Fund or any other fund established pursuant to the settlement in In Re Agent-product liability litigation, M.D.L. No. 381 (E.D.N.Y.);

l) Payments received under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (25 U.S.C. 1721);

m) The value of any child care provided or arranged (or any amount received as payment for such care or reimbursement for costs incurred for such care) under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858q);

n) Earned income tax credit (EITC) refund payments received on or after January 1, 1991 (26 U.S.C. 32(j));

o) Payments by the Indian Claims Commission to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Indian Nation or the Apache Tribe of Mescalero Reservation (Pub. L. 95-433);

p) Allowances, earnings and payments to AmeriCorps participants under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12637(d));

q) Any allowance paid under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1805 to a child suffering from spina bifida who is the child of a Vietnam veteran (38 U.S.C. 1805);

r) Any amount of crime victim compensation (under the Victims of Crime Act) received through crime victim assistance (or payment or reimbursement of the cost of such assistance) as determined under the Victims of Crime Act because of the commission of a crime against the applicant under the Victims of Crime Act (42 U.S.C. 10602); and

s) Allowances, earnings and payments to individuals participating in programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (29 U.S.C. 2931).

EXHIBIT 6-3: TREATMENT OF FAMILY ASSETS

24 CFR 5.603(b) Net Family Assets

(1) Net cash value after deducting reasonable costs that would be incurred in disposing of real property, savings, stocks, bonds, and other forms of capital investment, excluding interests in Indian trust land and excluding equity accounts in HUD homeownership programs. The value of necessary items of personal property such as furniture and automobiles shall be excluded.

(2) In cases where a trust fund has been established and the trust is not revocable by, or under the control of, any member of the family or household, the value of the trust fund will not be considered an asset so long as the fund continues to be held in trust. Any income distributed from the trust fund shall be counted when determining annual income under Sec. 5.609.

(3) In determining net family assets, PHAs or owners, as applicable, shall include the value of any business or family assets disposed of by an applicant or tenant for less than fair market value (including a disposition in trust, but not in a foreclosure or bankruptcy sale) during the two years preceding the date of application for the program or reexamination, as applicable, in excess of the consideration received therefor. In the case of a disposition as part of a separation or divorce settlement, the disposition will not be considered to be for less than fair market value if the applicant or tenant receives important consideration not measurable in dollar terms.

(4) For purposes of determining annual income under Sec. 5.609, the term "net family assets'' does not include the value of a home currently being purchased with assistance under part 982, subpart M of this title. This exclusion is limited to the first 10 years after the purchase date of the home.

EXHIBIT 6-4: EARNED INCOME DISALLOWANCE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

24 CFR 5.617 Self-sufficiency incentives for persons with disabilities–Disallowance of increase in annual income.

(a) Applicable programs. The disallowance of increase in annual income provided by this section is applicable only to the following programs: HOME Investment Partnerships Program (24 CFR part 92); Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (24 CFR part 574); Supportive Housing Program (24 CFR part 583); and the Housing Choice Voucher Program (24 CFR part 982).

(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply for purposes of this section.

Disallowance. Exclusion from annual income.

Previously unemployed includes a person with disabilities who has earned, in the twelve months previous to employment, no more than would be received for 10 hours of work per week for 50 weeks at the established minimum wage.

Qualified family. A family residing in housing assisted under one of the programs listed in paragraph (a) of this section or receiving tenant-based rental assistance under one of the programs listed in paragraph (a) of this section.

(1) Whose annual income increases as a result of employment of a family member who is a person with disabilities and who was previously unemployed for one or more years prior to employment;

(2) Whose annual income increases as a result of increased earnings by a family member who is a person with disabilities during participation in any economic self-sufficiency or other job training program; or

(3) Whose annual income increases, as a result of new employment or increased earnings of a family member who is a person with disabilities, during or within six months after receiving assistance, benefits or services under any state program for temporary assistance for needy families funded under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act, as determined by the responsible entity in consultation with the local agencies administering temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) and Welfare-to-Work (WTW) programs. The TANF program is not limited to monthly income maintenance, but also includes such benefits and services as one-time payments, wage subsidies and transportation assistance-- provided that the total amount over a six-month period is at least $500.

(c) Disallowance of increase in annual income—

(1) Initial twelve month exclusion. During the cumulative twelve month period beginning on the date a member who is a person with disabilities of a qualified family is first employed or the family first experiences an increase in annual income attributable to employment, the responsible entity must exclude from annual income (as defined in the regulations governing the applicable program listed in paragraph (a) of this section) of a qualified family any increase in income of the family member who is a person with disabilities as a result of employment over prior income of that family member.

(2) Second twelve month exclusion and phase-in. During the second cumulative twelve month period after the date a member who is a person with disabilities of a qualified family is first employed or the family first experiences an increase in annual income attributable to employment, the responsible entity must exclude from annual income of a qualified family fifty percent of any increase in income of such family member as a result of employment over income of that family member prior to the beginning of such employment.
(3) Maximum four year disallowance. The disallowance of increased income of an individual family member who is a person with disabilities as provided in paragraph (c)(1) or (c)(2) is limited to a lifetime 48 month period. The disallowance only applies for a maximum of twelve months for disallowance under paragraph (c)(1) and a maximum of twelve months for disallowance under paragraph (c)(2), during the 48 month period starting from the initial exclusion under paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(d) Inapplicability to admission. The disallowance of increases in income as a result of employment of persons with disabilities under this section does not apply for purposes of admission to the program (including the determination of income eligibility or any income targeting that may be applicable).

EXHIBIT 6-5: THE EFFECT OF WELFARE BENEFIT REDUCTION

24 CFR 5.615

Public housing program and Section 8 tenant-based assistance program: How welfare benefit reduction affects family income.

(a) Applicability. This section applies to covered families who reside in public housing (part 960 of this title) or receive Section 8 tenant-based assistance (part 982 of this title).

(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply for purposes of this section:

Covered families. Families who receive welfare assistance or other public assistance benefits ("welfare benefits'') from a State or other public agency ("welfare agency'') under a program for which Federal, State, or local law requires that a member of the family must participate in an economic self-sufficiency program as a condition for such assistance.

Economic self-sufficiency program. See definition at Sec. 5.603.

Imputed welfare income. The amount of annual income not actually received by a family, as a result of a specified welfare benefit reduction, that is nonetheless included in the family's annual income for purposes of determining rent.

Specified welfare benefit reduction.

(1) A reduction of welfare benefits by the welfare agency, in whole or in part, for a family member, as determined by the welfare agency, because of fraud by a family member in connection with the welfare program; or because of welfare agency sanction against a family member for noncompliance with a welfare agency requirement to participate in an economic self-sufficiency program.
(2) "Specified welfare benefit reduction'' does not include a reduction or termination of welfare benefits by the welfare agency:

(i) at expiration of a lifetime or other time limit on the payment of welfare benefits;

(ii) because a family member is not able to obtain employment, even though the family member has complied with welfare agency economic self-sufficiency or work activities requirements; or

(iii) because a family member has not complied with other welfare agency requirements.

(c) Imputed welfare income.

(1) A family's annual income includes the amount of imputed welfare income (because of a specified welfare benefits reduction, as specified in notice to the PHA by the welfare agency), plus the total amount of other annual income as determined in accordance with Sec. 5.609.

(2) At the request of the PHA, the welfare agency will inform the PHA in writing of the amount and term of any specified welfare benefit reduction for a family member, and the reason for such reduction, and will also inform the PHA of any subsequent changes in the term or amount of such specified welfare benefit reduction. The PHA will use this information to determine the amount of imputed welfare income for a family.

(3) A family's annual income includes imputed welfare income in family annual income, as determined at the PHA's interim or regular reexamination of family income and composition, during the term of the welfare benefits reduction (as specified in information provided to the PHA by the welfare agency).

(4) The amount of the imputed welfare income is offset by the amount of additional income a family receives that commences after the time the sanction was imposed. When such additional income from other sources is at least equal to the imputed

(5) The PHA may not include imputed welfare income in annual income if the family was not an assisted resident at the time of sanction.

(d) Review of PHA decision.

(1) Public housing. If a public housing tenant claims that the PHA has not correctly calculated the amount of imputed welfare income in accordance with HUD requirements, and if the PHA denies the family's request to modify such amount, the PHA shall give the tenant written notice of such denial, with a brief explanation of the basis for the PHA determination of the amount of imputed welfare income. The PHA notice shall also state that if the tenant does not agree with the PHA determination, the tenant may request a grievance hearing in accordance with part 966, subpart B of this title to review the PHA determination. The tenant is not required to pay an escrow deposit pursuant to Sec. 966.55(e) for the portion of tenant rent attributable to the imputed welfare income in order to obtain a grievance hearing on the PHA determination.

(2) Section 8 participant. A participant in the Section 8 tenant-based assistance program may request an informal hearing, in accordance with Sec. 982.555 of this title, to review the PHA determination of the amount of imputed welfare income that must be included in the family's annual income in accordance with this section. If the family claims that such amount is not correctly calculated in accordance with HUD requirements, and if the PHA denies the family's request to modify such amount, the PHA shall give the family written notice of such denial, with a brief explanation of the basis for the PHA determination of the amount of imputed welfare income. Such notice shall also state that if the family does not agree with the PHA determination, the family may request an informal hearing on the determination under the PHA hearing procedure.

(e) PHA relation with welfare agency.

(1) The PHA must ask welfare agencies to inform the PHA of any specified welfare benefits reduction for a family member, the reason for such reduction, the term of any such reduction, and any subsequent welfare agency determination affecting the amount or term of a specified welfare benefits reduction. If the welfare agency determines a specified welfare benefits reduction for a family member, and gives the PHA written notice of such reduction, the family's annual incomes shall include the imputed welfare income because of the specified welfare benefits reduction.

 (2) The PHA is responsible for determining the amount of imputed welfare income that is included in the family's annual income as a result of a specified welfare benefits reduction as determined by the welfare agency, and specified in the notice by the welfare agency to the PHA. However, the PHA is not responsible for determining whether a reduction of welfare benefits by the welfare agency was correctly determined by the welfare agency in accordance with welfare program requirements and procedures, nor for providing the opportunity for review or hearing on such welfare agency determinations.

 (3) Such welfare agency determinations are the responsibility of the welfare agency, and the family may seek appeal of such determinations through the welfare agency's normal due process procedures. The PHA shall be entitled to rely on the welfare agency notice to the PHA of the welfare agency's determination of a specified welfare benefits reduction.

Chapter 7

VERIFICATION

[24 CFR 960.259, 24 CFR 5.230]

INTRODUCTION

The PHA must verify all information that is used to establish the family’s eligibility and level of assistance and is required to obtain the family’s consent to collect the information. Applicants and tenants must cooperate with the verification process as a condition of receiving assistance. The PHA must not pass on the cost of verification to the family.

The PHA will follow the verification guidance provided by HUD in PIH Notice 2004-01 Verification Guidance (“VG”) and any subsequent guidance issued by HUD. This chapter summarizes those requirements and provides supplementary PHA policies.

Part I describes the general verification process. More detailed requirements related to individual factors are provided in subsequent parts including family information (Part II), income and assets (Part III), and mandatory deductions (Part IV).

Verification policies, rules and procedures will be modified as needed to accommodate persons with disabilities. All information obtained through the verification process will be handled in accordance with the records management policies established by the PHA.

PART I: GENERAL VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

7-I.A. FAMILY CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION
[24 CFR 960.259, 24 CFR 5.230]

The family must supply any information that the PHA or HUD determines is necessary to the administration of the program and must consent to PHA verification of that information [24 CFR 960.259(a)(1)].

Consent Forms

It is required that all adult applicants and tenants sign form HUD-9886, Authorization for Release of Information. The purpose of form HUD-9886 is to facilitate automated data collection and computer matching from specific sources and provides the family's consent only for the specific purposes listed on the form. HUD and the PHA may collect information from State Wage Information Collection Agencies (SWICAs) and current and former employers of adult family members. Only HUD is authorized to collect information directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Adult family members must sign other consent forms as needed to collect information relevant to the family’s eligibility and level of assistance.

Penalties for Failing to Consent [24 CFR 5.232]

If any family member who is required to sign a consent form fails to do so, the PHA will deny admission to applicants and terminate the lease of tenants. The family may request a hearing in accordance with the PHA's grievance procedures.


 

7-I.B. OVERVIEW OF VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

HUD’s Verification Hierarchy [VG, p. 11-14]

HUD authorizes the PHA to use five methods to verify family information and specifies the circumstances in which each method will be used. In general HUD requires the PHA to use the most reliable form of verification that is available and to document the reasons when the PHA uses a lesser form of verification.

PHA Policy

In order of priority, the forms of verification that the PHA will use are:

Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) whenever available

Third-party Written Verification

Third-party Oral Verification

Review of Documents

Self-Certification

Each of the verification methods is discussed in subsequent sections below. Exhibit 7-1 at the end of the chapter contains an excerpt from the Verification Guidance that provides guidance with respect to how each method may be used.

Requirements for Acceptable Documents

PHA Policy

Any documents used for verification must be the original (not photocopies) and generally must be dated within 60 calendar days of the date they are provided to the PHA. The documents must not be damaged, altered or in any way illegible.

The PHA will accept documents dated up to 6 months before the effective date of the family's reexamination if the document represents the most recent scheduled report from a source. For example, if the holder of a pension annuity provides semi-annual reports, the PHA would accept the most recent report.

Print-outs from web pages are considered original documents.

The PHA staff member who views the original document must make a photocopy, annotate the copy with the name of the person who provided the document and the date the original was viewed, and sign the copy.

Any family self-certifications must be made in a format acceptable to the PHA and must be signed in the presence of a PHA representative or PHA notary public.

File Documentation

The PHA must document in the file how the figures used in income and rent calculations were determined. All verification attempts, information obtained, and decisions reached during the verification process will be recorded in the family’s file in sufficient detail to demonstrate that the PHA has followed all of the verification policies set forth in this ACOP. The record should be sufficient to enable a staff member or HUD reviewer to understand the process followed and conclusions reached.

7-I.C. ENTERPRISE INCOME VERIFICATION (EIV)

Enterprise income verification (EIV) refers to the PHA’s use of the verification tools available from independent sources that maintain computerized information about earnings and benefits. UIV will be used to the extent that these systems are available to the PHA.

PHA Policy

The PHA will inform all applicants and residents of its use of the following EIV resources during the admission and reexamination process:

HUD’s EIV system

The PHA must restrict access to and safeguard EIV data in accordance with HUD guidance on security procedures, as issued and made available by HUD.

There may be legitimate differences between the information provided by the family and EIV-generated information. No adverse action can be taken against a family until the PHA has independently verified the EIV information and the family has been granted an opportunity to contest any adverse findings through the PHA's informal review/hearing processes.

Definition of Substantial Difference

EIV information is used differently depending upon whether there is a substantial difference between information provided by the family and the EIV information. In "HUD Guidelines for Projecting Annual Income When EIV Data is Available," HUD recommends using $200 per month as the threshold for a substantial difference. The PHA will use the $200 per month as the threshold for a substantial difference.

See Chapter 6 for the PHA’s policies on the definition of substantial difference and the use of EIV to project annual income and for the PHA’s threshold for substantial difference.

When No Substantial Difference Exists

If EIV information does not differ substantially from family information, the EIV documentation may serve as third-party written verification.

When a Substantial Difference Exists [24 CFR 5.236(b)]

When there is a substantial difference between the information provided by the EIV source and the family, the PHA must request another form of third-party written verification and use any other verification methods (in priority order) to reconcile the difference(s).

Tenant Income Data (TID) Reports

The data shown on TID reports is updated quarterly. Data may be between 3 and 6 months old at the time reports are generated.

PHA Policy

The PHA will obtain TID reports for annual reexaminations on a monthly basis. Reports will be generated as part of the regular reexamination process.

TID reports will be compared to family-provided information as part of the annual reexamination process. TID reports may be used in the calculation of annual income, as described in Chapter 6.I.C. TID reports may also be used to meet the regulatory requirement for third party verification, as described above. Policies for resolving discrepancies between TID reports and family-provided information will be resolved as described in Chapter 6.I.C. and in this chapter.

TID reports will be used in interim reexaminations when it is necessary to verify and calculate earned income, unemployment benefits, Social Security and/or SSI benefits, and to verify that families claiming zero income are not receiving income from any of these sources.

TID reports will be retained in resident files with the applicable annual or interim reexamination documents.

When the PHA determines through TID reports and third party verification that a family has concealed or under-reported income, corrective action will be taken pursuant to the policies in Chapter 15, Program Integrity.

Exceeds Threshold Reports (ETRs)

The ETR is a tool for identifying families who may have concealed or under-reported income. Data in the ETR represents income for past reporting periods and may be between 6 months and 30 months old at the time ETRs are generated.

Families who have not concealed or under-reported income may appear on the ETR in some circumstances, such as loss of a job or addition of new family members.

EIV Identity Verification

The EIV system verifies resident identities against SSA records. These records are compared to PIC data for a match on Social Security number, name, and date of birth.

When identity verification for a resident fails, a message will be displayed within the EIV system and no income information will be displayed.

PHA Policy

The PHA will identify residents whose identity verification has failed as part of the annual reexamination process.

The PHA will attempt to resolve PIC/SSA discrepancies by reviewing file documents. When the PHA determines that discrepancies exist due to PHA errors such as spelling errors or incorrect birth dates, the errors will be corrected promptly.

7-I.D. THIRD-PARTY WRITTEN AND ORAL VERIFICATION

Reasonable Effort and Timing

Unless third-party verification is not required as described below, HUD requires the PHA to make at least two unsuccessful attempts to obtain third-party verification before using another form of verification [VG, p. 15].

 

PHA Policy

The PHA will diligently seek third-party verification using a combination of written and oral requests to verification sources. Information received orally from third parties may be used either to clarify information provided in writing by the third party or as independent verification when written third-party verification is not received in a timely fashion.

The PHA may mail, fax, e-mail, or hand deliver third-party written verification requests and will accept third-party responses using any of these methods. The PHA will send a written request for verification to each required source within 5 business days of securing a family’s authorization for the release of the information and give the source 10 business days to respond in writing. If a response has not been received by the 11th business day, the PHA will request third-party oral verification.

The PHA will make a minimum of two attempts, one of which may be oral, to obtain third-party verification. A record of each attempt to contact the third-party source (including no-answer calls) and all contacts with the source will be documented in the file. Regarding third-party oral verification, PHA staff will record in the family’s file the name and title of the person contacted, the date and time of the conversation (or attempt), the telephone number used, and the facts provided.

When any source responds verbally to the initial written request for verification the PHA will accept the verbal response as oral verification but will also request that the source complete and return any verification forms that were provided.

If a third party agrees to confirm in writing the information provided orally, the PHA will wait no more than 5 business days for the information to be provided. If the information is not provided by the 6th business day, the PHA will use any information provided orally in combination with reviewing family-provided documents (see below).

When Third-Party Information is Late

When third-party verification has been requested and the timeframes for submission have been exceeded, the PHA will use the information from documents on a provisional basis. If the PHA later receives third-party verification that differs from the amounts used in income and rent determinations and it is past the deadline for processing the reexamination, the PHA will conduct an interim reexamination to adjust the figures used for the reexamination, regardless of the PHA’s interim reexamination policy.

When Third-Party Verification is Not Required

Primary Documents

Third-party verification is not required when legal documents are the primary source, such as a birth certificate or other legal documentation of birth.

Certain Assets and Expenses

The PHA may accept a self-certification from the family as verification of assets disposed of for less than fair market value [HCV GB, p. 5-28].

The PHA may determine that third-party verification is not available if the asset or expense involves an insignificant amount, making it not cost-effective or reasonable to obtain third-party verification [VG, p. 15].

Certain Income, Asset and Expense Sources

The PHA will determine that third-party verification is not available when it is known that an income source does not have the ability to provide written or oral third-party verification [VG, p. 15]. For example, the PHA will rely upon review of documents when the PHA determines that a third party's privacy rules prohibit the source from disclosing information.

7-I.E. REVIEW OF DOCUMENTS

Using Review of Documents as Verification

PHA Policy

If the PHA has determined that third-party verification is not available or not required, the PHA will use documents provided by the family as verification.

The PHA may also review documents when necessary to help clarify information provided by third parties. In such cases the PHA will document in the file how the PHA arrived at a final conclusion about the income or expense to include in its calculations.

7-I.F. SELF-CERTIFICATION

PHA Policy

When information cannot be verified by a third party or by review of documents, family members will be required to submit self-certifications attesting to the accuracy of the information they have provided to the PHA.

The PHA may require a family to certify that a family member does not receive a particular type of income or benefit.

The self-certification must be made in a format acceptable to the PHA and must be signed by the family member whose information or status is being verified. All self-certifications must be signed in the presence of a PHA representative or PHA notary public.

Part II: Verifying FAMILY INFORMATION

7-II.A. VERIFICATION OF LEGAL IDENTITY

PHA Policy

The PHA will require families to furnish verification of legal identity for each household member.

Verification of Legal Identity for Adults

Verification of Legal Identity for Children

Certificate of birth, naturalization papers

Church issued baptismal certificate

Current, valid driver's license or Department of Motor Vehicle identification card

U.S. military discharge (DD 214)

U.S. passport

Employer identification card

Certificate of birth

Adoption papers

Custody agreement

Health and Human Services ID

School records

If a document submitted by a family is illegible or otherwise questionable, more than one of these documents may be required.

If none of these documents can be provided and at the PHA’s discretion, a third party who knows the person may attest to the person’s identity. The certification must be provided in a format acceptable to the PHA and be signed in the presence of a PHA representative or PHA notary public.

Legal identity will be verified on an as needed basis.

7-II.B. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS [24 CFR 5.216 and HCV, p. 5-12]

For every family member age 6 or older, the family must provide documentation of a valid social security number (SSN), or a self-certification stating that no SSN has been issued. The self-certification must be executed personally by any family member 18 or older, or by a parent or guardian for a minor.

PHA Policy

The PHA will also accept the following documents as evidence if the SSN is provided on the document:

Driver’s license

Other identification card issued by a federal, state, or local agency, a medical insurance company or provider, or employer or trade union

Payroll stubs

Benefit award letters from government agencies; retirement benefit letters; life insurance policies

Court records (real estate, tax notices, marriage and divorce, judgment or bankruptcy records)

If the family reports an SSN but cannot provide acceptable documentation of the number, the PHA will require a self-certification stating that documentation of the SSN cannot be provided at this time. The PHA will require documentation of the SSN within 60 calendar days from the date of the family member’s self-certification mentioned above. If the family is an applicant, assistance cannot be provided until proper documentation of the SSN is provided.

 

PHA Policy

The PHA will instruct the family to obtain a duplicate card from the local Social Security Administration (SSA) office.

For individuals who are at least 62 years of age and are unable to submit the required documentation of their SSN within the initial 60-day period, the PHA will grant an additional 60 calendar days to provide documentation.

Social security numbers must be verified only once during continuously-assisted occupancy.

If any family member obtains an SSN after admission to the program, the new SSN must be disclosed at the next regularly scheduled reexamination. In addition, if a child reaches the age of 6 and has no SSN, the parent or guardian must execute a self-certification stating that the child has no SSN at the next regularly scheduled reexamination.

The social security numbers of household members, such as live-in aids, must be verified for the purpose of conducting criminal background checks.

7-II.C. DOCUMENTATION OF AGE

A birth certificate or other official record of birth is the preferred form of age verification for all family members. For elderly family members an original document that provides evidence of the receipt of social security retirement benefits is acceptable.

PHA Policy

If an official record of birth or evidence of social security retirement benefits cannot be provided, the PHA will require the family to submit other documents that support the reported age of the family member (e.g., school records, driver's license if birth year is recorded) and to provide a self-certification.       

Age must be verified only once during continuously-assisted occupancy.

7-II.D. FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Applicants and tenants are required to identify the relationship of each household member to the head of household. Definitions of the primary household relationships are provided in the Eligibility chapter.

PHA Policy

Family relationships are verified only to the extent necessary to determine a family’s eligibility and level of assistance. Certification by the head of household normally is sufficient verification of family relationships.

Marriage

PHA Policy

Certification by the head of household is normally sufficient verification. If the PHA has reasonable doubts about a marital relationship, the PHA will require the family to document the marriage.

A marriage certificate generally is required to verify that a couple is married.

Separation or Divorce

PHA Policy

A certified copy of a divorce decree, signed by a court officer, is required to document that a couple is divorced.

A copy of a court-ordered maintenance or other court record is required to document a separation.

If no court document is available, documentation from a community-based agency will be accepted or certification by head of household.

Absence of Adult Member

PHA Policy

If an adult member who was formerly a member of the household is reported to be permanently absent, the family must provide evidence to support that the person is no longer a member of the family (e.g., documentation of another address at which the person resides such as a lease or utility bill).

Foster Children and Foster Adults

PHA Policy

Third-party verification from the state or local government agency responsible for the placement of the individual with the family is required.

7-II.E. VERIFICATION OF STUDENT STATUS

PHA Policy

The PHA requires families to provide information about the student status of all students who are 18 years of age or older. This information will be verified only if:

The family claims full-time student status for an adult other than the head, spouse, or cohead, or

The family claims a child care deduction to enable a family member to further his or her education.

7-II.F. DOCUMENTATION OF DISABILITY

The PHA must verify the existence of a disability in order to allow certain income disallowances and deductions from income. The PHA is not permitted to inquire about the nature or extent of a person’s disability [24 CFR 100.202(c)]. The PHA may not inquire about a person’s diagnosis or details of treatment for a disability or medical condition. If the PHA receives a verification document that provides such information, the PHA will not place this information in the tenant file. Under no circumstances will the PHA request a resident’s medical record(s). For more information on health care privacy laws, see the Department of Health and Human Services’ website at www.os.dhhs.gov.

The above cited regulation does not prohibit the following inquiries, provided these inquiries are made of all applicants, whether or not they are persons with disabilities [VG, p. 24]:

·        Inquiry into an applicant’s ability to meet the requirements of ownership or tenancy

·        Inquiry to determine whether an applicant is qualified for a dwelling available only to persons with disabilities or to persons with a particular type of disability

·        Inquiry to determine whether an applicant for a dwelling is qualified for a priority available to persons with disabilities or to persons with a particular type of disability

·        Inquiring whether an applicant for a dwelling is a current illegal abuser or addict of a controlled substance

·        Inquiring whether an applicant has been convicted of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance

Family Members Receiving SSA Disability Benefits

Verification of receipt of SSA benefits or SSI based upon disability is sufficient for verification of disability for the purpose of qualification for waiting list preferences or certain income disallowances and deductions [VG, p. 23].

PHA Policy

For family members claiming disability who receive SSI or other disability payments from the SSA, the PHA will attempt to obtain information about disability benefits through the HUD Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system when it is available, or HUD’s Tenant Assessment Subsystem (TASS). If documentation from HUD’s EIV System or TASS is not available, the PHA will request a current (dated within the last 60 days) SSA benefit verification letter from each family member claiming disability status. If the family is unable to provide the document(s), the PHA will ask the family to request a benefit verification letter by either calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or by requesting it from www.ssa.gov. Once the applicant or resident receives the benefit verification letter they will be required to provide it to the PHA.

Family Members Not Receiving SSA Disability Benefits

Receipt of veteran’s disability benefits, worker’s compensation, or other non-SSA benefits based on the individual’s claimed disability are not sufficient verification that the individual meets HUD’s definition of disability in 24 CFR 5.603, necessary to qualify for waiting list preferences or certain income disallowances and deductions.

PHA Policy

For family members claiming disability who do not receive SSI or other disability payments from the SSA, a knowledgeable professional must provide third-party verification that the family member meets the HUD definition of disability. See the Eligibility chapter for the HUD definition of disability. The knowledgeable professional will verify whether the family member does or does not meet the HUD definition.

7-II.G. CITIZENSHIP OR ELIGIBLE IMMIGRATION STATUS [24 CFR 5.508]

Overview

Housing assistance is not available to persons who are not citizens, nationals, or eligible immigrants. Prorated assistance is provided for "mixed families" containing both eligible and ineligible persons. See the Eligibility chapter for detailed discussion of eligibility requirements. This chapter (7) discusses HUD and PHA verification requirements related to citizenship status.

The family must provide a certification that identifies each family member as a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, an eligible noncitizen or an ineligible noncitizen and submit the documents discussed below for each family member. Once eligibility to receive assistance has been verified for an individual it need not be collected or verified again during continuously-assisted occupancy [24 CFR 5.508(g)(5)]

U.S. Citizens and Nationals

HUD requires a declaration for each family member who claims to be a U.S. citizen or national. The declaration must be signed personally by any family member 18 or older and by a guardian for minors.

The PHA may request verification of the declaration by requiring presentation of a birth certificate, United States passport or other appropriate documentation.

PHA Policy

Family members who claim U.S. citizenship or national status will not be required to provide additional documentation unless the PHA receives information indicating that an individual’s declaration may not be accurate.

Eligible Immigrants

Documents Required

All family members claiming eligible immigration status must declare their status in the same manner as U.S. citizens and nationals.

The documentation required for eligible noncitizens varies depending upon factors such as the date the person entered the U.S., the conditions under which eligible immigration status has been granted, age, and the date on which the family began receiving HUD-funded assistance. Exhibit 7-2 at the end of this chapter summarizes documents family members must provide.

PHA Verification [HCV GB, pp 5-3 and 5-7]

For family members age 62 or older who claim to be eligible immigrants, proof of age is required in the manner described in 7-II.C. of this ACOP. No further verification of eligible immigration status is required.

For family members under the age of 62 who claim to be eligible immigrants, the PHA must verify immigration status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The PHA will follow all USCIS protocols for verification of eligible immigration status.

PART III: Verifying Income AND ASSETS

Chapter 6, Part I of this ACOP describes in detail the types of income that are included and excluded and how assets and income from assets are handled. Any assets and income reported by the family must be verified. This part provides PHA policies that supplement the general verification procedures specified in Part I of this chapter.

7-III.A. EARNED INCOME

Tips

PHA Policy

Unless tip income is included in a family member’s W-2 by the employer, persons who work in industries where tips are standard will be required to sign a certified estimate of tips received for the prior year and tips anticipated to be received in the coming year.

7-III.B. BUSINESS AND SELF EMPLOYMENT INCOME

PHA Policy

Business owners and self-employed persons will be required to provide:

An audited financial statement for the previous fiscal year if an audit was conducted. If an audit was not conducted, a statement of income and expenses must be submitted and the business owner or self-employed person must certify to its accuracy.

All schedules completed for filing federal and local taxes in the preceding year.

If accelerated depreciation was used on the tax return or financial statement, an accountant's calculation of depreciation expense, computed using straight-line depreciation rules.

The PHA will provide a format for any person who is unable to provide such a statement to record income and expenses for the coming year. The business owner/self-employed person will be required to submit the information requested and to certify to its accuracy at all future reexaminations.

At any reexamination the PHA may request documents that support submitted financial statements such as manifests, appointment books, cash books, or bank statements.

If a family member has been self-employed less than three (3) months, the PHA will accept the family member's certified estimate of income and schedule an interim reexamination in three (3) months. If the family member has been self-employed for three (3) to twelve (12) months the PHA will require the family to provide documentation of income and expenses for this period and use that information to project income.


 

7-III.C. PERIODIC PAYMENTS AND PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF EARNINGS

Social Security/SSI Benefits

PHA Policy

To verify the SS/SSI benefits of applicants, the PHA will request a current (dated within the last 60 days) SSA benefit verification letter from each family member that receives social security benefits. If the family is unable to provide the document(s), the PHA will ask the family to request a benefit verification letter. Once the applicant has received the benefit verification letter they will be required to provide it to the PHA.

To verify the SS/SSI benefits of residents, the PHA will obtain information about social security/SSI benefits through the HUD EIV System or the Tenant Assessment Subsystem (TASS). If benefit information is not available in HUD systems, the PHA will request a current SSA benefit verification letter from each family member that receives social security benefits.  If the family is unable to provide the document(s) the PHA will ask the family to request a benefit verification letter. Once the resident has received the benefit verification letter they will be required to provide it to the PHA.

7-III.D. ALIMONY OR CHILD SUPPORT

PHA Policy

The way the PHA will seek verification for alimony and child support differs depending on whether the family declares that it receives regular payments.

If the family declares that it receives regular payments, verification will be sought in the following order.

If payments are made through a state or local entity, the PHA will request a record of payments for the past 12 months and request that the entity disclose any known information about the likelihood of future payments.

Third-party verification from the person paying the support

Copy of a separation or settlement agreement or a divorce decree stating amount and type of support and payment schedules

Copy of the latest check and/or payment stubs

Family's self-certification of amount received and of the likelihood of support payments being received in the future, or that support payments are not being received.

If the family declares that it receives irregular or no payments, in addition to the verification process listed above, the family must provide evidence that it has taken all reasonable efforts to collect amounts due. This may include:

A statement from any agency responsible for enforcing payment that shows the family has requested enforcement and is cooperating with all enforcement efforts

If the family has made independent efforts at collection, a written statement from the attorney or other collection entity that has assisted the family in these efforts

Note: Families are not required to undertake independent enforcement action.

7-III.E. ASSETS AND INCOME FROM ASSETS

Assets Disposed of for Less than Fair Market Value

The family must certify whether any assets have been disposed of for less than fair market value in the preceding two years. The PHA needs to verify only those certifications that warrant documentation [HCV GB, p. 5-28].

PHA Policy

The PHA will verify the value of assets disposed of only if:

The PHA does not already have a reasonable estimation of its value from previously collected information, or

The amount reported by the family in the certification appears obviously in error.

Example 1: An elderly participant reported a $10,000 certificate of deposit at the last annual reexamination and the PHA verified this amount. Now the person reports that she has given this $10,000 to her son. The PHA has a reasonable estimate of the value of the asset; therefore, reverification of the value of the asset is not necessary.

Example 2: A family member has disposed of its 1/4 share of real property located in a desirable area and has valued her share at approximately 5,000. Based upon market conditions, this declaration does not seem realistic. Therefore, the PHA will verify the value of this asset.

7-III.F. NET INCOME FROM RENTAL PROPERTY

PHA Policy

The family must provide:

A current executed lease for the property that shows the rental amount or certification from the current tenant

A self-certification from the family members engaged in the rental of property providing an estimate of expenses for the coming year and the most recent IRS Form 1040 with Schedule E (Rental Income). If schedule E was not prepared, the PHA will require the family members involved in the rental of property to provide a self-certification of income and expenses for the previous year and may request documentation to support the statement including: tax statements, insurance invoices, bills for reasonable maintenance and utilities, and bank statements or amortization schedules showing monthly interest expense.


 

7-III.G. RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

PHA Policy

When third-party verification is not available the type of original document that will be accepted depends upon the family member’s retirement status.

Before retirement, the PHA will accept an original document from the entity holding the account with a date that shows it is the most recently scheduled statement for the account but in no case earlier than 6 months from the effective date of the examination.

Upon retirement, the PHA will accept an original document from the entity holding the account that reflects any distributions of the account balance, any lump sums taken and any regular payments.

After retirement, the PHA will accept an original document from the entity holding the account dated no earlier than 12 months before that reflects any distributions of the account balance, any lump sums taken and any regular payments.

7-III.H. INCOME FROM EXCLUDED SOURCES

A detailed discussion of excluded income is provided in Chapter 6, Part I.

The PHA must obtain verification for income exclusions only if, without verification, the PHA would not be able to determine whether the income is to be excluded. For example: If a family’s 16 year old has a job at a fast food restaurant, the PHA will confirm that PHA records verify the child’s age but will not send a verification request to the restaurant. However, if a family claims the earned income disallowance for a source of income, both the source and the income must be verified.

PHA Policy

The PHA will reconcile differences in amounts reported by the third party and the family only when the excluded amount is used to calculate the family’s rent (as is the case with the earned income disallowance). In all other cases, the PHA will report the amount to be excluded as indicated on documents provided by the family.

7-III.I. ZERO ANNUAL INCOME STATUS

PHA Policy

The PHA will check EIV sources and/or request information from third-party sources to verify that certain forms of income such as unemployment benefits, TANF, SSI, etc. are not being received by families claiming to have zero annual income.

All families claiming zero income are required to report to the office on a monthly basis all expenses for the previous month. The family is also required to show verification of those expenses (receipts, donation letters, etc.)
PART IV: Verifying
MANDATORY DEDUCTIONS

7-IV.A. DEPENDENT AND ELDERLY/DISABLED HOUSEHOLD DEDUCTIONS

The dependent and elderly/disabled family deductions require only that the PHA verify that the family members identified as dependents or elderly/disabled persons meet the statutory definitions. No further verifications are required.

Dependent Deduction

See Chapter 6 (6-II.B.) for a full discussion of this deduction. The PHA will verify that:

·        Any person under the age of 18 for whom the dependent deduction is claimed is not the head, spouse or cohead of the family and is not a foster child

·        Any person age 18 or older for whom the dependent deduction is claimed is not a foster adult or live-in aide, and is a person with a disability or a full time student

Elderly/Disabled Family Deduction

See the Eligibility chapter for a definition of elderly and disabled families and Chapter 6 (6-II.C.) for a discussion of the deduction. The PHA will verify that the head, spouse, or cohead is 62 years of age or older or a person with disabilities.

7-IV.B. MEDICAL EXPENSE DEDUCTION

Policies related to medical expenses are found in 6-II.D. The amount of the deduction will be verified following the standard verification procedures described in Part I.

Amount of Expense

PHA Policy

The PHA will provide a third-party verification form directly to the medical provider requesting the needed information.

Medical expenses will be verified through:

Third-party verification form signed by the provider, when possible

If third-party is not possible, copies of cancelled checks used to make medical expense payments and/or printouts or receipts from the source will be used. In this case the PHA will make a best effort to determine what expenses from the past are likely to continue to occur in the future. The PHA will also accept evidence of monthly payments or total payments that will be due for medical expenses during the upcoming 12 months.

If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification as to costs anticipated to be incurred during the upcoming 12 months

In addition, the PHA must verify that:

·        The household is eligible for the deduction.

·        The costs to be deducted are qualified medical expenses.

·        The expenses are not paid for or reimbursed by any other source.

·        Costs incurred in past years are counted only once.

Eligible Household

The medical expense deduction is permitted only for households in which the head, spouse, or cohead is at least 62 or a person with disabilities. The PHA will verify that the family meets the definition of an elderly or disabled family provided in the Eligibility chapter, and as described in Chapter 7 (7-IV.A) of this plan.

Qualified Expenses

To be eligible for the medical expenses deduction, the costs must qualify as medical expenses. See Chapter 6 (6-II.D.) for the PHA’s policy on what counts as a medical expense.

Unreimbursed Expenses

To be eligible for the medical expenses deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.

PHA Policy

The family will be required to certify that the medical expenses are not paid or reimbursed to the family from any source.

Expenses Incurred in Past Years

PHA Policy

When anticipated costs are related to on-going payment of medical bills incurred in past years, the PHA will verify:

The anticipated repayment schedule

The amounts paid in the past, and

Whether the amounts to be repaid have been deducted from the family’s annual income in past years

7-IV.C. DISABILITY ASSISTANCE EXPENSES

Policies related to disability assistance expenses are found in 6-II.E. The amount of the deduction will be verified following the standard verification procedures described in Part I.

Amount of Expense

Attendant Care

PHA Policy

The PHA will provide a third-party verification form directly to the care provider requesting the needed information.

Expenses for attendant care will be verified through:

Third-party verification form signed by the provider, when possible.

If third-party is not possible, copies of cancelled checks used to make attendant care payments and/or receipts from care source

If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification as to costs anticipated to be incurred for the upcoming 12 months

Auxiliary Apparatus

PHA Policy

Expenses for auxiliary apparatus will be verified through:

Third-party verification of anticipated purchase costs of auxiliary apparatus

If third-party is not possible, billing statements for purchase of auxiliary apparatus, or other evidence of monthly payments or total payments that will be due for the apparatus during the upcoming 12 months

If third-party or document review is not possible, written family certification of estimated apparatus costs for the upcoming 12 months

In addition, the PHA must verify that:

·        The family member for whom the expense is incurred is a person with disabilities (as described in 7-II.F above).

·        The expense permits a family member, or members, to work (as described in 6-II.E.).

·        The expense is not reimbursed from another source (as described in 6-II.E.).

Family Member is a Person with Disabilities

To be eligible for the disability assistance expense deduction, the costs must be incurred for attendant care or auxiliary apparatus expense associated with a person with disabilities. The PHA will verify that the expense is incurred for a person with disabilities (See 7-II.F.).

Family Member(s) Permitted to Work

The PHA must verify that the expenses claimed actually enable a family member, or members, (including the person with disabilities) to work.

PHA Policy

The PHA will seek third-party verification from a Rehabilitation Agency or knowledgeable medical professional indicating that the person with disabilities requires attendant care or an auxiliary apparatus to be employed, or that the attendant care or auxiliary apparatus enables another family member, or members, to work (See 6-II.E.).

If third-party and document review verification has been attempted and is either unavailable or proves unsuccessful, the family must certify that the disability assistance expense frees a family member, or members (possibly including the family member receiving the assistance), to work.

Unreimbursed Expenses

To be eligible for the disability expenses deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.

PHA Policy

An attendant care provider will be asked to certify that, to the best of the provider’s knowledge, the expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.

The family will be required to certify that attendant care or auxiliary apparatus expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.

7-IV.D. CHILD CARE EXPENSES

Policies related to child care expenses are found in Chapter 6 (6-II.F). The amount of the deduction will be verified following the standard verification procedures described in Part I. In addition, the PHA must verify that:

·        The child is eligible for care.

·        The costs claimed are not reimbursed.

·        The costs enable a family member to pursue an eligible activity.

·        The costs are for an allowable type of child care.

·        The costs are reasonable.

Eligible Child

To be eligible for the child care deduction, the costs must be incurred for the care of a child under the age of 13. The PHA will verify that the child being cared for (including foster children) is under the age of 13 (See 7-II.C.).

Unreimbursed Expense

To be eligible for the child care deduction, the costs must not be reimbursed by another source.

PHA Policy

The child care provider will be asked to certify that, to the best of the provider’s knowledge, the child care expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.

The family will be required to certify that the child care expenses are not paid by or reimbursed to the family from any source.

Pursuing an Eligible Activity

The PHA must verify that the family member(s) that the family has identified as being enabled to seek work, pursue education, or be gainfully employed, are actually pursuing those activities.

PHA Policy

Information to be Gathered

The PHA will verify information about how the schedule for the claimed activity relates to the hours of care provided, the time required for transportation, the time required for study (for students), the relationship of the family member(s) to the child, and any special needs of the child that might help determine which family member is enabled to pursue an eligible activity.

Seeking Work

Whenever possible the PHA will use documentation from a state or local agency that monitors work-related requirements (e.g., welfare or unemployment). In such cases the PHA will request verification from the agency of the member’s job seeking efforts to date and require the family to submit to the PHA any reports provided to the other agency.

In the event third-party verification is not available, the PHA will provide the family with a form on which the family member must record job search efforts. The PHA will review this information at each subsequent reexamination for which this deduction is claimed.

Furthering Education

The PHA will ask that the academic or vocational educational institution verify that the person permitted to further his or her education by the child care is enrolled and provide information about the timing of classes for which the person is registered.

Gainful Employment

The PHA will seek verification from the employer of the work schedule of the person who is permitted to work by the child care. In cases in which two or more family members could be permitted to work, the work schedules for all relevant family members may be verified.

Allowable Type of Child Care

The type of care to be provided is determined by the family, but must fall within certain guidelines, as discussed in Chapter 6.

PHA Policy

The PHA .will verify that the type of child care selected by the family is allowable, as described in Chapter 6 (6-II.F).

The PHA will verify that the fees paid to the child care provider cover only child care costs (e.g., no housekeeping services or personal services) and are paid only for the care of an eligible child (e.g., prorate costs if some of the care is provided for ineligible family members).

The PHA will verify that the child care provider is not an assisted family member. Verification will be made through the head of household’s declaration of family members who are expected to reside in the unit.

Reasonableness of Expenses

Only reasonable child care costs can be deducted.

PHA Policy

The actual costs the family incurs will be compared with the PHA’s established standards of reasonableness for the type of care in the locality to ensure that the costs are reasonable.

If the family presents a justification for costs that exceed typical costs in the area, the PHA will request additional documentation, as required, to support a determination that the higher cost is appropriate.

Exhibit 7-1: Excerpt from HUD Verification Guidance Notice (PIH 2004-01, pp. 11-14)


 



Exhibit 7-2: Summary of Documentation Requirements for Noncitizens
[HCV GB, pp. 5-9 and 5-10)

·        All noncitizens claiming eligible status must sign a declaration of eligible immigrant status on a form acceptable to the PHA.

·        Except for persons 62 or older, all noncitizens must sign a verification consent form

·        Additional documents are required based upon the person's status.

Elderly Noncitizens

·        A person 62 years of age or older who claims eligible immigration status also must provide proof of age such as birth certificate, passport, or documents showing receipt of SS old-age benefits.

All other Noncitizens

·        Noncitizens that claim eligible immigration status also must present the applicable USCIS document. Acceptable USCIS documents are listed below.

·        Form I-551 Alien Registration Receipt Card (for permanent resident aliens)

·        Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record annotated with one of the following:

·        “Admitted as a Refugee Pursuant to Section 207”

·        “Section 208” or “Asylum”

·        “Section 243(h)” or “Deportation stayed by Attorney General”

·        “Paroled Pursuant to Section 221 (d)(5) of the USCIS”

·        Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record with no annotation accompanied by:

·        A final court decision granting asylum (but only if no appeal is taken);

·        A letter from a USCIS asylum officer granting asylum (if application is filed on or after 10/1/90) or from a USCIS district director granting asylum (application filed before 10/1/90);

·        A court decision granting withholding of deportation; or

·        A letter from an asylum officer granting withholding or deportation (if application filed on or after 10/1/90).

·        Form I-688 Temporary Resident Card annotated “Section 245A” or Section 210”.

Form I-688B Employment Authorization Card annotated “Provision of Law 274a. 12(11)” or “Provision of Law 274a.12”.

·        A receipt issued by the USCIS indicating that an application for issuance of a replacement document in one of the above listed categories has been made and the applicant’s entitlement to the document has been verified; or

·        Other acceptable evidence. If other documents are determined by the USCIS to constitute acceptable evidence of eligible immigration status, they will be announced by notice published in the Federal Register

 

Chapter 8

LEASING AND INSPECTIONS

[24 CFR 5, Subpart G; 24 CFR 966, Subpart A]

INTRODUCTION

Public housing leases are the basis of the legal relationship between the PHA and the tenant. All units must be occupied pursuant to a dwelling lease agreement that complies with HUD’s regulations.

HUD rules also require the PHA to inspect each dwelling unit prior to move-in, at move-out, and annually during occupancy. In addition, the PHA may require additional inspections in accordance with PHA policy.

This chapter is divided into two parts as follows:

Part I: Leasing. This part describes pre-leasing activities and the PHA’s policies pertaining to lease execution, modification, and payments under the lease.

Part II: Inspections. This part describes the PHA’s policies for inspecting dwelling units.

PART I: LEASING

8-I.A. OVERVIEW

An eligible family may occupy a public housing dwelling unit under the terms of a lease. The lease must meet all regulatory requirements, and must also comply with applicable state and local laws and codes.

The term of the lease must be for a period of 12 months. The lease must be renewed automatically for another 12-month term, except that the PHA may not renew the lease if the family has violated the community service requirement [24 CFR 966.4(a)(2)].

Part I of this chapter contains regulatory information, when applicable, as well as the PHA’s policies governing leasing issues.

8-I.B. LEASE ORIENTATION

PHA Policy

After unit acceptance but prior to occupancy, a PHA representative will provide a lease orientation to the family. The head of household and spouse is required to attend.

Orientation Agenda

PHA Policy

When families attend the lease orientation, they will be provided with:

A copy of the lease

A copy of the PHA’s grievance procedure

A copy of the Tenant Handbook

A copy of the Smoke Detector Policy

A copy of the Community Service Policy

A copy of the Pet Policy

A copy of the pamphlet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home

A copy of the Appendix F Mode lNotice of Section 214 Requirements

Topics to be discussed will include:

Applicable deposits and other charges

Review and explanation of lease provisions

Unit maintenance and work orders

The PHA’s reporting requirements

Explanation of occupancy forms

Community service requirements

Family choice of rent

8-I.C. EXECUTION OF LEASE

The lease must be executed by the tenant and the PHA, except for automatic renewals of a lease [24 CFR 966.4(a)(3)].

A lease is executed at the time of admission for all new residents. A new lease is also executed at the time of transfer from one PHA unit to another.

The lease must state the composition of the household as approved by the PHA (family members and any PHA-approved live-in aide) [24 CFR 966.4(a)(1)(v)]. See Section 8-I.D. for policies regarding changes in family composition during the lease term.

PHA Policy

The head of household, spouse or cohead, and all other adult members of the household will be required to sign the public housing lease prior to admission. An appointment will be scheduled for the parties to execute the lease. The head of household will be provided a copy of the executed lease and the PHA will retain a copy in the resident’s file.

Files for households that include a live-in aide will contain file documentation signed by the live-in aide, that the live-in aide is not a party to the lease and is not entitled to PHA assistance. The live-in aide is only approved to live in the unit while serving as the attendant for the participant family member.

8-I.D. MODIFICATIONS TO THE LEASE

The lease may be modified at any time by written agreement of the tenant and the PHA [24 CFR 966.4(a)(3)].

Modifications to the Lease Form

The PHA may modify its lease from time to time. However, the PHA must give residents 30 days advance notice of the proposed changes and an opportunity to comment on the changes. The PHA must also consider any comments before formally adopting the new lease [24 CFR 966.3].

After proposed changes have been incorporated into the lease and approved by the Board, each family must be notified at least 60 days in advance of the effective date of the new lease or lease revision. A resident's refusal to accept permissible and reasonable lease modifications that are made in accordance with HUD requirements, or are required by HUD, is grounds for termination of tenancy [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2)(iii)(E)].

PHA Policy

The family will have 30 days to accept the revised lease. If the family does not accept the offer of the revised lease within that 30 day timeframe, the family’s tenancy will be terminated for other good cause in accordance with the policies in Chapter 13.

Schedules of special charges and rules and regulations are subject to modification or revision. Because these schedules are incorporated into the lease by reference, residents and resident organizations must be provided at least thirty days written notice of the reason(s) for any proposed modifications or revisions, and must be given an opportunity to present written comments. The notice must be delivered directly or mailed to each tenant; or posted in at least three conspicuous places within each structure or building in which the affected dwelling units are located, as well as in a conspicuous place at the project office, if any, or if none, a similar central business location within the project. Comments must be taken into consideration before any proposed modifications or revisions become effective [24 CFR 966.5].

After the proposed revisions become effective they must be publicly posted in a conspicuous manner in the project office and must be furnished to applicants and tenants on request [24 CFR 966.5].

Other Modifications

PHA Policy

The lease will be amended to reflect all changes in family composition.

If, for any reason, any member of the household ceases to reside in the unit, the lease will be amended by drawing a line through the person's name. The head of household and PHA will be required to initial and date the change.

If a new household member is approved by the PHA to reside in the unit, the person’s name and birth date will be added to the lease. The head of household and PHA will be required to initial and date the change. If the new member of the household is an adult, s/he will also be required to sign and date the lease.

Policies governing when and how changes in family composition must be reported are contained in Chapter 9, Reexaminations.

8-I.E. SECURITY DEPOSITS [24 CFR 966.4(b)(5)]

At the option of the PHA, the lease may require security deposits. The amount of the security deposit cannot exceed one month’s rent or a reasonable fixed amount as determined by the PHA. The PHA may allow for gradual accumulation of the security deposit by the family, or the family may be required to pay the security deposit in full prior to occupancy. Subject to applicable laws, interest earned on security deposits may be refunded to the tenant after vacating the unit, or used for tenant services or activities.

PHA Policy

Residents must pay a security deposit to the PHA at the time of admission. The amount of the security deposit must be paid in full prior to occupancy.

The PHA will hold the security deposit for the period the family occupies the unit. The PHA will not use the security deposit for rent or other charges while the resident is living in the unit.

Within 30 days of move-out, the PHA will refund to the resident the amount of the security deposit provided the tenant has completed the necessary requirements to obtain a refund. If the tenant fails to complete the necessary requirements for a refund, the security deposit will be forfeited for administrative fees and will not be applied to the tenant’s account.

If the resident transfers to another unit, the PHA will transfer the security deposit to the new unit. The tenant will be billed for any maintenance or other charges due for the “old” unit. See Transfer Policy.

8-I.F. PAYMENTS UNDER THE LEASE

Rent Payments [24 CFR 966.4(b)(1)]

Families must pay the amount of the monthly tenant rent determined by the PHA in accordance with HUD regulations and other requirements. The amount of the tenant rent is subject to change in accordance with HUD requirements.

The lease must specify the initial amount of the tenant rent at the beginning of the initial lease term, and the PHA must give written notice stating any change in the amount of tenant rent and when the change is effective.

PHA Policy

The tenant rent is due and payable at the PHA-designated location on the first working day of every month.

If a family’s tenant rent changes, the PHA will notify the family of the new amount and the effective date by sending a "Notice of Rent Adjustment" which will become an attachment to the lease.

Late Fees and Nonpayment

At the option of the PHA, the lease may provide for payment of penalties when the family is late in paying tenant rent [24 CFR 966.4(b)(3)].

The lease must provide that late payment fees are not due and collectible until two weeks after the PHA gives written notice of the charges. The written notice is considered an adverse action, and must meet the requirements governing a notice of adverse action [24 CFR 966.4(b)(4)].

The notice of proposed adverse action must identify the specific grounds for the action and inform the family of their right for a hearing under the PHA grievance procedures. The PHA must not take the proposed action until the time for the tenant to request a grievance hearing has expired, or (if a hearing was requested within the required timeframe,) the grievance process has been completed [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)].

PHA Policy

If the family fails to pay their rent by the fifth working day of the month, and the PHA has not agreed to accept payment at a later date, a $15.00 late fee will applied to the tenant’s account. Charges are due and payable 10 calendar days after billing.

When a check is returned for insufficient funds or is written on a closed account, the rent will be considered unpaid and a returned check fee of $25.00 will be charged to the family in addition to the late fee. The fee will be due and payable 10 days after billing.

Excess Utility Charges

If the PHA charges the tenant for consumption of excess utilities, the lease must state the basis for the determination of such charges. The imposition of charges for consumption of excess utilities is permissible only if the charges are determined by an individual check meter servicing the leased unit or result from the use of major tenant-supplied appliances [24 CFR 966.4(b)(2)].

Schedules of special charges for utilities that are required to be incorporated in the lease by reference must be publicly posted in a conspicuous manner in the development office and must be furnished to applicants and tenants on request [24 CFR 966.5].

The lease must provide that charges for excess utility consumption are not due and collectible until two weeks after the PHA gives written notice of the charges. The written notice is considered an adverse action, and must meet the requirements governing a notice of adverse action [24 CFR 966.4(b)(4)].

The notice of proposed adverse action must identify the specific grounds for the action and inform the family of their right for a hearing under the PHA grievance procedures. The PHA must not take the proposed action until the time for the tenant to request a grievance hearing has expired, or (if a hearing was requested within the required timeframe,) the grievance process has been completed [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)].

Maintenance and Damage Charges

If the PHA charges the tenant for maintenance and repair beyond normal wear and tear, the lease must state the basis for the determination of such charges [24 CFR 966.4(b)(2)].

Schedules of special charges for services and repairs which are required to be incorporated in the lease by reference must be publicly posted in a conspicuous manner in the development office and must be furnished to applicants and tenants on request [24 CFR 966.5].

The lease must provide that charges for maintenance and repair beyond normal wear and tear are not due and collectible until two weeks after the PHA gives written notice of the charges. The written notice is considered an adverse action, and must meet the requirements governing a notice of adverse action [24 CFR 966.4(b)(4)].

The notice of proposed adverse action must identify the specific grounds for the action and inform the family of their right for a hearing under the PHA grievance procedures. The PHA must not take the proposed action until the time for the tenant to request a grievance hearing has expired, or (if a hearing was requested within the required timeframe,) the grievance process has been completed [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)].

PHA Policy

When applicable, families will be charged for maintenance and/or damages according to the PHA’s current schedule. Work that is not covered in the schedule will be charged based on the actual cost of labor and materials to make needed repairs (including overtime, if applicable).

Notices of maintenance and damage charges will be mailed monthly and will be in accordance with requirements regarding notices of adverse actions. Charges are due and payable per the PHA’s repayment policy. If the family requests a grievance hearing within the required timeframe, the PHA may not take action for nonpayment of the charges until the conclusion of the grievance process.

Nonpayment of maintenance and damage charges is a violation of the lease and is grounds for eviction.

PART II: INSPECTIONS

8-II.A. OVERVIEW

HUD rules require the PHA to inspect each dwelling unit prior to move-in, at move-out, and annually during occupancy. In addition, the PHA may require additional inspections, in accordance with PHA Policy. This part contains the PHA’s policies governing inspections, notification of unit entry, and inspection results.

8-II.B. TYPES OF INSPECTIONS

Move-In Inspections [24 CFR 966.4(i)]

The lease must require the PHA and the family to inspect the dwelling unit prior to occupancy in order to determine the condition of the unit and equipment in the unit. A copy of the initial inspection, signed by the PHA and the resident, must be provided to the tenant and be kept in the resident file.

PHA Policy

All adult family member must attend the initial inspection and sign the inspection form for the head of household.

Move-Out Inspections [24 CFR 966.4(i)]

The PHA must inspect the unit at the time the resident vacates the unit and must allow the resident to participate in the inspection if he or she wishes, unless the tenant vacates without notice to the PHA. The PHA must provide to the tenant a statement of any charges to be made for maintenance and damage beyond normal wear and tear.

The difference between the condition of the unit at move-in and move-out establishes the basis for any charges against the security deposit so long as the work needed exceeds that for normal wear and tear.

 

 

 

PHA Policy

When applicable, the PHA will provide the tenant with a statement of charges to be made for maintenance and damage beyond normal wear and tear, within 30 days of conducting the move-out inspection.

Annual Inspections

Under the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS), the PHA is required to inspect all occupied units annually using HUD's Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) [24 CFR 902.43(a)(4)].

Quality Control Inspections

The purpose of quality control inspections is to assure that all defects were identified in the original inspection, and that repairs were completed at an acceptable level of craftsmanship and within an acceptable time frame

Special Inspections

PHA Policy

PHA staff may conduct a special inspection for any of the following reasons:

Housekeeping

Unit condition

Suspected lease violation

Preventive maintenance

Routine maintenance

There is reasonable cause to believe an emergency exists

Other Inspections

PHA Policy

Building exteriors, grounds, common areas and systems will be inspected according to the PHA’s maintenance plan.

8-II.C. NOTICE AND SCHEDULING OF INSPECTIONS

Notice of Entry

Non-emergency Entries [24 CFR 966.4(j)(1)]

The PHA may enter the unit, with reasonable advance notification to perform routine inspections and maintenance, make improvements and repairs, or to show the unit for re-leasing. A written statement specifying the purpose of the PHA entry delivered to the dwelling unit at least 24 hours before such entry is considered reasonable advance notification.

PHA Policy

The PHA will notify the resident in writing at least 24 hours prior to any non-emergency inspection.

For regular annual inspections, the family will receive at least 24 hours written notice of the inspection to allow the family to prepare the unit for the inspection.

Entry for repairs requested by the family will not require prior notice. Resident-requested repairs presume permission for the PHA to enter the unit.

Emergency Entries [24 CFR 966.4(j)(2)]

The PHA may enter the dwelling unit at any time without advance notice when there is reasonable cause to believe that an emergency exists.

Scheduling of Inspections

PHA Policy

Inspections will be conducted during business hours.

Attendance at Inspections

Residents are required to be present for move-in inspections [24 CFR 966.4(i)]. There is no such requirement for other types of inspections.

PHA Policy

Except at move-in inspections, the resident is not required to be present for the inspection. The resident may attend the inspection if he or she wishes.

If no one is at home, the inspector will enter the unit and conduct the inspection.

8-II.D. INSPECTION RESULTS

The PHA is obligated to maintain dwelling units and the project in decent, safe and sanitary condition and to make necessary repairs to dwelling units [24 CFR 966.4(e)].

Emergency Repairs [24 CFR 966.4(h)]

If the unit is damaged to the extent that conditions are created which are hazardous to the life, health, or safety of the occupants, the tenant must immediately notify the PHA of the damage, and the PHA must make repairs within a reasonable time frame.

If the damage was caused by a household member or guest, the PHA must charge the family for the reasonable cost of repairs. The PHA may also take lease enforcement action against the family.

If the PHA cannot make repairs quickly, the PHA must offer the family standard alternative accommodations. If the PHA can neither repair the defect within a reasonable time frame nor offer alternative housing, rent shall be abated in proportion to the seriousness of the damage and loss in value as a dwelling. Rent shall not be abated if the damage was caused by a household member or guest, or if the resident rejects the alternative accommodations.

PHA Policy

When conditions in the unit are hazardous to life, health, or safety, the PHA will make repairs or otherwise abate the situation within 24 hours.

Defects hazardous to life, health or safety include, but are not limited to, the following:

Any condition that jeopardizes the security of the unit

Major plumbing leaks or flooding, waterlogged ceiling or floor in imminent danger of falling

Natural or LP gas or fuel oil leaks

Any electrical problem or condition that could result in shock or fire

Absence of a working heating system when outside temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit

Utilities not in service, including no running hot water

Conditions that present the imminent possibility of injury

Obstacles that prevent safe entrance or exit from the unit

Absence of a functioning toilet in the unit

Inoperable smoke detectors

Non-emergency Repairs

PHA Policy

The PHA will correct non-life threatening health and safety defects within 30 days of the inspection date. If the PHA is unable to make repairs within that period due to circumstances beyond the PHA’s control (e.g. required parts or services are not available, weather conditions, etc.) the PHA will notify the family of an estimated date of completion.

The family must allow the PHA access to the unit to make repairs.

Resident-Caused Damages

PHA Policy

Damages to the unit beyond wear and tear will be billed to the tenant in accordance with the policies in 8-I.G., Maintenance and Damage Charges.

Repeated or excessive damages to the unit beyond normal wear and tear will be considered a serious or repeated violation of the lease.

Housekeeping

PHA Policy

Residents whose housekeeping habits pose a non-emergency health or safety risk, encourage insect or rodent infestation, or cause damage to the unit are in violation of the lease. In these instances, the PHA will provide proper notice of a lease violation.

A reinspection will be conducted within 5 days to confirm that the resident has complied with the requirement to abate the problem. Failure to abate the problem or allow for a reinspection is considered a violation of the lease and may result in termination of tenancy in accordance with Chapter 13.

A notice to vacate the unit will be immediately issued to residents who purposely disengage the unit’s smoke detector.

Chapter 9

REEXAMINATIONS

[24 CFR 960.257, 960.259, 966.4]

INTRODUCTION

The PHA is required to monitor each family’s income and composition over time, and to adjust the family’s rent accordingly. PHAs must adopt policies concerning the conduct of annual and interim reexaminations that are consistent with regulatory requirements, and must conduct reexaminations in accordance with such policies [24 CFR 960.257(c)].

The frequency with which the PHA must reexamine income for a family depends on whether the family pays income-based or flat rent.  HUD requires the PHA to offer all families the choice of paying income-based rent or flat rent at least annually. The PHA’s policies for offering families a choice of rents are located in Chapter 6.

This chapter discusses both annual and interim reexaminations.

Part I: Annual Reexaminations for Families Paying Income Based Rents. This part discusses the requirements for annual reexamination of income and family composition. Full reexaminations are conducted at least once a year for families paying income-based rents.

Part II: Reexaminations for Families Paying Flat Rents. This part contains the PHA’s policies for conducting full reexaminations of family income and composition for families paying flat rents. These full reexaminations are conducted at least once every 3 years. This part also contains the PHA’s policies for conducting annual updates of family composition for flat rent families.

Part III: Interim Reexaminations. This part includes HUD requirements and PHA policies related to when a family may and must report changes that occur between annual reexaminations.

Part IV: Recalculating Tenant Rent. After gathering and verifying required information for an annual or interim reexamination, the PHA must recalculate the tenant rent. While the basic policies that govern these calculations are provided in Chapter 6, this part lays out policies that affect these calculations during a reexamination.

Policies governing reasonable accommodation, family privacy, required family cooperation and program abuse, as described elsewhere in this ACOP, apply to annual and interim reexaminations.

PART I: ANNUAL REEXAMINATIONS FOR FAMILIES PAYING INCOME BASED RENTS [24 CFR 960.257]

9-I.A. OVERVIEW

For those families who choose to pay income-based rent, the PHA must conduct a reexamination of income and family composition at least annually [24 CFR 960.257(a)(1)].  For families who choose flat rents, the PHA must conduct a reexamination of family composition at least annually, and must conduct a reexamination of family income at least once every 3 years [24 CFR 960.257(a)(2)].  Policies related to the reexamination process for families paying flat rent are located in Part II of this chapter.

For all residents of public housing, whether those residents are paying income-based or flat rents, the PHA must conduct an annual review of community service requirement compliance. This annual reexamination is also a good time to have residents sign consent forms for criminal background checks in case the criminal history of a resident is needed at some point to determine the need for lease enforcement or eviction.

The PHA is required to obtain information needed to conduct reexaminations. How that information will be collected is left to the discretion of the PHA.  Families are required to provide current and accurate information on income, assets, allowances and deductions, family composition and community service compliance as part of the reexamination process [24 CFR 960.259].

This part contains the PHA’s policies for conducting annual reexaminations.

9-I.B. SCHEDULING ANNUAL REEXAMINATIONS

The PHA must establish a policy to ensure that the annual reexamination for each family paying an income-based rent is completed within a 12 month period [24 CFR 960.257(a)(1)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will schedule annual reexaminations to coincide with the family's anniversary date. The PHA will begin the annual reexamination process approximately 90 days in advance of the scheduled effective date.

Anniversary date is defined as 12 months from the effective date of the family’s last annual reexamination or, during a family’s first year in the program, from the effective date of the family’s initial examination (admission).

The PHA may also schedule an annual reexamination for completion prior to the anniversary date for administrative purposes.

Notification of and Participation in the Annual Reexamination Process

The PHA is required to obtain information needed to conduct annual reexaminations. How that information will be collected is left to the discretion of the PHA.

PHA Policy

Families are required to participate in an annual reexamination interview, which must be attended by all household members 18 years of age or older. If participation in an in-person interview poses a hardship because of a family member’s disability, the family should contact the PHA to request a reasonable accommodation.

Notification of annual reexamination interviews will be sent by first-class mail and will contain the date, time, and location of the interview. In addition, it will inform the family of the information and documentation that must be brought to the interview.

If the family is unable to attend a scheduled interview, the family should contact the PHA in advance of the interview to schedule a new appointment. In all circumstances, if a family does not attend the scheduled interview the PHA will send a second notification with a new interview appointment time.

If a family fails to attend two scheduled interviews without PHA approval, the family will be in violation of their lease and may be terminated in accordance with the policies in Chapter 13.

An advocate, interpreter, or other assistant may assist the family in the interview process.

9-I.C. CONDUCTING ANNUAL REEXAMINATIONS

The terms of the public housing lease require the family to furnish information necessary for the redetermination of rent and family composition [24 CFR 966.4(c)(2)].

PHA Policy

Families will be asked to bring all required information (as described in the reexamination notice) to the reexamination appointment.

Any required documents or information that the family is unable to provide at the time of the interview must be provided within 10 business days of the interview. If the family is unable to obtain the information or materials within the required time frame, the family may request an extension not to exceed 30 days from the original interview.

If the family does not provide the required documents or information within the required time frame (plus any extensions), the family will be in violation of their lease and may be terminated in accordance with the policies in Chapter 13.

The information provided by the family generally must be verified in accordance with the policies in Chapter 7. Unless the family reports a change, or the agency has reason to believe a change has occurred in information previously reported by the family, certain types of information that are verified at admission typically do not need to be re-verified on an annual basis. These include:

·        Legal identity

·        Age

·        Social security numbers

·        A person’s disability status

·        Citizenship or immigration status

Change in Unit Size

Changes in family or household composition may make it appropriate to consider transferring the family to comply with occupancy standards. The PHA may use the results of the annual reexamination to require the family to move to an appropriate size unit [24 CFR 960.257(a)(4)].  Policies related to such transfers are located in Chapter 12.

Criminal Background Checks

Information obtained through criminal background checks may be used for lease enforcement and eviction [24 CFR 5.903(e)(1)(ii)]. Criminal background checks of residents will be conducted in accordance with the policy in Section 13-IV.B.

Compliance with Community Service

For families who include nonexempt individuals, the PHA must determine compliance with community service requirements once each 12 months [24 CFR 960.257(a)(3)].

See Chapter 11 for the PHA’s policies governing compliance with the community service requirement.

9-I.D. EFFECTIVE DATES

As part of the annual reexamination process, the PHA must make appropriate adjustments in the rent after consultation with the family and upon verification of the information [24 CFR 960.257(a)(1)].

PHA Policy

In general, an increase in the tenant rent that results from an annual reexamination will take effect on the family’s anniversary date, and the family will be notified at least 30 days in advance.

If less than 30 days remain before the scheduled effective date, the increase will take effect on the first of the month following the end of the 30-day notice period.

If the PHA chooses to schedule an annual reexamination for completion prior to the family’s anniversary date for administrative purposes, the effective date will be determined by the PHA, but will always allow for the 30-day notice period.

If the family causes a delay in processing the annual reexamination, increases in the family share of the rent will be applied retroactively, to the scheduled effective date of the annual reexamination. The family will be responsible for any underpaid rent and may be offered a repayment agreement in accordance with the policies in Chapter 16.

In general, a decrease in the tenant rent that results from an annual reexamination will take effect on the family’s anniversary date.

If the PHA chooses to schedule an annual reexamination for completion prior to the family’s anniversary date for administrative purposes, the effective date will be determined by the PHA.

If the family causes a delay in processing the annual reexamination, decreases in the family share of the rent will be applied prospectively, from the first day of the month following completion of the reexamination processing.

Delays in reexamination processing are considered to be caused by the family if the family fails to provide information requested by the PHA by the date specified, and this delay prevents the PHA from completing the reexamination as scheduled.

 

 

 

PART II: REEXAMINATIONS FOR FAMILIES PAYING FLAT RENTS

[24 CFR 960.257(2)]

9-II.A. OVERVIEW

HUD requires that the PHA offer all families the choice of paying income-based rent or flat rent at least annually. The PHA’s policies for offering families a choice of rents are located in Chapter 6.

For families who choose flat rents, the PHA must conduct a reexamination of family composition at least annually, and must conduct a reexamination of family income at least once every 3 years [24 CFR 960.257(a)(2)].  The PHA is only required to provide the amount of income-based rent the family might pay in those years that the PHA conducts a full reexamination of income and family composition, or upon request of the family after the family submits updated income information [24 CFR 960.253(e)(2)].

As it does for families that pay income-based rent, on an annual basis, the PHA must also review community service compliance and should have each adult resident consent to a criminal background check.

This part contains the PHA’s policies for conducting reexaminations of families who choose to pay flat rents.

9-II.B. FULL REEXAMINATION OF FAMILY INCOME AND COMPOSITION

Frequency of Reexamination

PHA Policy

For families paying flat rents, the PHA will conduct a full reexamination of family income and composition once every 3 years.

Reexamination Policies

PHA Policy

In conducting full reexaminations for families paying flat rents, the PHA will follow the policies used for the annual reexamination of families paying income-based rent as set forth in Sections 9-I.B through 9-I.D above.

9-II.C. REEXAMINATION OF FAMILY COMPOSITION (“ANNUAL UPDATE”)

As noted above, full reexaminations are conducted every 3 years for families paying flat rents. In the years between full reexaminations, regulations require the PHA to conduct a reexamination of family composition (“annual update”) [24 CFR 960.257(a)(2)].

The annual update process is similar to the annual reexamination process, except that the PHA does not collect information about the family’s income and expenses, and the family’s rent is not recalculated following an annual update.

Scheduling

The PHA must establish a policy to ensure that the reexamination of family composition for families choosing to pay the flat rent is completed at least annually [24 CFR 960.257(a)(2)].

PHA Policy

For families paying flat rents, annual updates will be conducted in each of the 2 years following the full reexamination.

In scheduling the annual update, the PHA will follow the policy used for scheduling the annual reexamination of families paying income-based rent as set forth in Section 9-I.B. above.

Change in Unit Size

Changes in family or household composition may make it appropriate to consider transferring the family to comply with occupancy standards. The PHA may use the results of the annual update to require the family to move to an appropriate size unit [24 CFR 960.257(a)(4)].  Policies related to such transfers are located in Chapter 12.

Criminal Background Checks       

Information obtained through criminal background checks may be used for lease enforcement and eviction [24 CFR 5.903(e)].  Criminal background checks of residents will be conducted in accordance with the policy in Section 13-IV.B.

Compliance with Community Service

For families who include nonexempt individuals, the PHA must determine compliance with community service requirements once each 12 months [24 CFR 960.257(a)(3)].

See Chapter 11 for the PHA’s policies governing compliance with the community service requirement.

PART III: INTERIM REEXAMINATIONS [24 CFR 960.257; 24 CFR 966.4]

9-III.A. OVERVIEW

Family circumstances may change throughout the period between annual reexaminations. HUD and PHA policies dictate what kinds of information about changes in family circumstances must be reported, and under what circumstances the PHA must process interim reexaminations to reflect those changes. HUD regulations also permit the PHA to conduct interim reexaminations of income or family composition at any time.

In addition to specifying what information the family must report, HUD regulations permit the family to request an interim determination if other aspects of the family’s income or composition change. The PHA must complete the interim reexamination within a reasonable time after the family’s request.

This part includes HUD and PHA policies describing what changes families are required to report, what changes families may choose to report, and how the PHA will process both PHA- and family-initiated interim reexaminations.

9-III.B. CHANGES IN FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION

The PHA must adopt policies prescribing when and under what conditions the family must report changes in family composition. However, due to provisions of the public housing lease, the PHA has limited discretion in this area.

Changes in family or household composition may make it appropriate to consider transferring the family to comply with occupancy standards. Policies related to such transfers are located in Chapter 12.

PHA Policy

All families, those paying income-based rent as well as flat rent, must report all changes in family and household composition that occur between annual reexaminations (or annual updates).

The PHA will conduct interim reexaminations to account for any changes in household composition that occur between annual reexaminations.

New Family Members Not Requiring Approval

The addition of a family member as a result of birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody does not require PHA approval. However, the family is required to promptly notify the PHA of the addition [24 CFR 966.4(a)(1)(v)].

PHA Policy

The family must inform the PHA of the birth, adoption or court-awarded custody of a child within 10 calendar days.

New Family and Household Members Requiring Approval

With the exception of children who join the family as a result of birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody, a family must request PHA approval to add a new family member [24 CFR 966.4(a)(1)(v)] or other household member (live-in aide or foster child)  [24 CFR 966.4(d)(3)].

The PHA may adopt reasonable policies concerning residence by a foster child or a live-in aide, and defining the circumstances in which PHA consent will be given or denied. Under such policies, the factors considered by the PHA may include [24 CFR 966.4(d)(3)(i)]:

·        Whether the addition of a new occupant may necessitate a transfer of the family to another unit, and whether such units are available.

·        The PHAs obligation to make reasonable accommodation for handicapped persons.

PHA Policy

Families must request PHA approval to add a new family member, live-in aide, foster child, or foster adult. This includes any person not on the lease who is expected to stay in the unit for more than 14 calendar days and therefore no longer qualifies as a “guest.” Requests must be made in writing and approved by the PHA prior to the individual moving into the unit.

The PHA will not approve the addition of new family or household members other than by birth, adoption, court-awarded custody, or marriage, if it will require the family to transfer to a larger size unit (under the transfer policy in Chapter 12), unless the family can demonstrate that there are medical needs or other extenuating circumstances, including reasonable accommodation, that should be considered by the PHA. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The PHA will not approve the addition of a new family or household member unless the individual meets the PHA’s eligibility criteria (see Chapter 3).

If the PHA determines that an individual does not meet the PHA’s eligibility criteria as defined in Chapter 3, the PHA will notify the family in writing of its decision to deny approval of the new family or household member and the reasons for the denial.

The PHA will make its determination within 10 business days of receiving all information required to verify the individual’s eligibility.

Departure of a Family or Household Member

PHA Policy

If a family member ceases to reside in the unit, the family must inform the PHA within 10 business days. This requirement also applies to family members who had been considered temporarily absent, who are now permanently absent.

If a live-in aide, foster child, or foster adult ceases to reside in the unit, the family must inform the PHA within 10 business days.

9-III.C. CHANGES AFFECTING INCOME OR EXPENSES

Interim reexaminations can be scheduled either because the PHA has reason to believe that changes in income or expenses may have occurred, or because the family reports a change. When a family reports a change, the PHA may take different actions depending on whether the family reported the change voluntarily, or because it was required to do so.

PHA Policy

This section only applies to families paying income-based rent. Families paying flat rent are not required to report changes in income or expenses.

PHA-initiated Interim Reexaminations

PHA-initiated interim reexaminations are those that are scheduled based on circumstances or criteria defined by the PHA. They are not scheduled because of changes reported by the family.

PHA Policy

The PHA will conduct interim reexaminations in each of the following instances:

For families receiving the Earned Income Disallowance (EID), the PHA will conduct an interim reexamination at the start, to adjust the exclusion with any changes in income, and at the conclusion of the second 12 month exclusion period (50 percent phase-in period).

If the family has reported zero income, the PHA will conduct an interim reexamination every month as long as the family continues to report that they have no income.

If at the time of the annual reexamination, tenant-provided documents were used on a provisional basis due to the lack of third-party verification, and third-party verification becomes available, the PHA will conduct an interim reexamination.

The PHA may conduct an interim reexamination at any time in order to correct an error in a previous reexamination, or to investigate a tenant fraud complaint.

Family-Initiated Interim Reexaminations

The PHA must adopt policies prescribing when and under what conditions the family must report changes in family income or expenses [24 CFR 960.257(c)]. In addition, HUD regulations require that the family be permitted to obtain an interim reexamination any time the family has experienced a change in circumstances since the last determination [24 CFR 960.257(b)].

Required Reporting

HUD regulations give the PHA the freedom to determine the circumstances under which families will be required to report changes affecting income.

PHA Policy

Families are required to report all increases in earned income, including new employment, within 14 calendar days of the date the change takes effect.

The PHA will only conduct interim reexaminations for families that qualify for the earned income disallowance (EID), and only when the EID family’s rent will change as a result of the increase. In all other cases, the PHA will note the information in the tenant file, but will not conduct an interim reexamination.

Optional Reporting

The family may request an interim reexamination any time the family has experienced a change in circumstances since the last determination [24 CFR 960.257(b)]. The PHA must process the request if the family reports a change that will result in a reduced family income [PH Occ GB, p. 159].

If a family reports a decrease in income from the loss of welfare benefits due to fraud or non-compliance with a welfare agency requirement to participate in an economic self-sufficiency program, the family’s share of the rent will not be reduced [24 CFR 5.615]. For more information regarding the requirement to impute welfare income see Chapter 6.

9-III.D. PROCESSING THE INTERIM REEXAMINATION

Method of Reporting

PHA Policy

The family may notify the PHA of changes either orally or in writing. If the family provides oral notice, the PHA will also require the family to submit the changes in writing.

Generally, the family will not be required to attend an interview for an interim reexamination. However, if the PHA determines that an interview is warranted, the family may be required to attend.

Based on the type of change reported, the PHA will determine the documentation the family will be required to submit. The family must submit any required information or documents within 5 business days of receiving a request from the PHA. This time frame may be extended for good cause with PHA approval. The PHA will accept required documentation by mail, by fax, or in person.

Effective Dates

The PHA must make the interim reexamination within a reasonable time after the family request [24 CFR 960.257(b)].

PHA Policy

If the family share of the rent is to increase:

The increase generally will be effective on the first of the month following 30 days’ notice to the family.

If a family fails to report a change within the required time frames, or fails to provide all required information within the required time frames, the increase will be applied retroactively, to the date it would have been effective had the information been provided on a timely basis. The family will be responsible for any underpaid rent and may be offered a repayment agreement in accordance with the policies in Chapter 16.

If the family share of the rent is to decrease:

The decrease will be effective on the first day of the month following the month in which the change was reported. In cases where the change cannot be verified until after the date the change would have become effective, the change will be made retroactively.

PART IV: RECALCULATING TENANT RENT

9-IV.A. OVERVIEW

For those families paying income-based rent, the PHA must recalculate the rent amount based on the income information received during the reexamination process and notify the family of the changes [24 CFR 966.4, 960.257]. While the basic policies that govern these calculations are provided in Chapter 6, this part lays out policies that affect these calculations during a reexamination.

9-IV.B. CHANGES IN UTILITY ALLOWANCES [24 CFR 965.507, 24 CFR 966.4]

The tenant rent calculations must reflect any changes in the PHA’s utility allowance schedule [24 CFR 960.253(c)(3)]. Chapter 16 discusses how utility allowance schedules are established.

9-IV.C. NOTIFICATION OF NEW TENANT RENT

The public housing lease requires the PHA to give the tenant written notice stating any change in the amount of tenant rent, and when the change is effective [24 CFR 966.4(b)(1)(ii)].

When the PHA redetermines the amount of rent (Total Tenant Payment or Tenant Rent) payable by the tenant, not including determination of the PHAs schedule of Utility Allowances for families in the PHAs Public Housing Program, or determines that the tenant must transfer to another unit based on family composition, the PHA must notify the tenant that the tenant may ask for an explanation stating the specific grounds of the PHA determination, and that if the tenant does not agree with the determination, the tenant shall have the right to request a hearing under the PHA’s grievance procedure [24 CFR 966.4(c)(4)].

9-IV.D. DISCREPANCIES

During an annual or interim reexamination, the PHA may discover that information previously reported by the family was in error, or that the family intentionally misrepresented information. In addition, the PHA may discover errors made by the PHA. When errors resulting in the overpayment or underpayment of rent are discovered, corrections will be made in accordance with the policies in Chapter 15.

Chapter 10

PETS

[24 CFR 5, Subpart C; 24 CFR 960, Subpart G]

INTRODUCTION

This chapter explains the PHA's policies on the keeping of pets and any criteria or standards pertaining to the policies. The rules adopted are reasonably related to the legitimate interest of the PHA to provide a decent, safe and sanitary living environment for all tenants, and to protect and preserve the physical condition of the property, as well as the financial interest of the PHA.

The chapter is organized as follows:

Part I: Assistance Animals. This part explains the difference between assistance animals and pets and contains policies related to the designation of an assistance animal as well as their care and handling.

Part II: Pet policies for all developments. This part includes pet policies that are common to both elderly/disabled developments and general occupancy developments.

Part III: Pet deposits and fees for elderly/disabled developments. This part contains policies for pet deposits and fees that are applicable to elderly/disabled developments.

Part IV: Pet deposits and fees for general occupancy developments. This part contains policies for pet deposits and fees that are applicable to general occupancy developments.

PART I: ASSISTANCE ANIMALS

[Section 504; Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C.); 24 CFR 5.303]

10-I.A. OVERVIEW

This part discusses situations under which permission for an assistance animal may be denied, and also establishes standards for the care of assistance animals.

Assistance animals are animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provide emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. Assistance animals – often referred to as “service animals,” “assistive animals,” “support animals,” or “therapy animals” – perform many disability-related functions, including but not limited to the following:

·        Guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision

·        Alerting individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired

·        Providing minimal protection or rescue assistance

·        Pulling a wheelchair

·        Fetching items

·        Alerting persons to impending seizures

·        Providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support

Assistance animals that are needed as a reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities are not considered pets, and thus, are not subject to the PHA’s pet policies described in Parts II through IV of this chapter [24 CFR 5.303; 960.705].

10-I.B. APPROVAL OF ASSISTANCE ANIMALS

A person with a disability is not automatically entitled to have an assistance animal. Reasonable accommodation requires that there is a relationship between the person’s disability and his or her need for the animal [PH Occ GB, p. 179].

A PHA may not refuse to allow a person with a disability to have an assistance animal merely because the animal does not have formal training. Some, but not all, animals that assist persons with disabilities are professionally trained. Other assistance animals are trained by the owners themselves and, in some cases, no special training is required. The question is whether or not the animal performs the assistance or provides the benefit needed by the person with the disability [PH Occ GB, p. 178].

A PHA’s refusal to permit persons with a disability to use and live with an assistance animal that is needed to assist them, would violate Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act unless [PH Occ GB, p. 179]:

·        There is reliable objective evidence that the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by a reasonable accommodation

·        There is reliable objective evidence that the animal would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others

PHAs have the authority to regulate assistance animals under applicable federal, state, and local law [24 CFR 5.303(b)(3); 960.705(b)(3)].

10-I.C. CARE AND HANDLING

HUD regulations do not affect any authority a PHA may have to regulate assistance animals under federal, state, and local law [24 CFR 5.303; 24 CFR 960.705].

PHA Policy

Residents must care for assistance animals in a manner that complies with state and local laws, including anti-cruelty laws.

Residents must ensure that assistance animals do not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or cause substantial physical damage to the development, dwelling unit, or property of other residents.

When a resident’s care or handling of an assistance animal violates these policies, the PHA will consider whether the violation could be reduced or eliminated by a reasonable accommodation. If the PHA determines that no such accommodation can be made, the PHA may withdraw the approval of a particular assistance animal.

 

PART II: PET POLICIES FOR ALL DEVELOPMENTS

[24 CFR 5, Subpart C; 24 CFR 960, Subpart G]

10-II.A. OVERVIEW

The purpose of a pet policy is to establish clear guidelines for ownership of pets and to ensure that no applicant or resident is discriminated against regarding admission or continued occupancy because of ownership of pets. It also establishes reasonable rules governing the keeping of common household pets. This part contains pet policies that apply to all developments.

10-II.B. MANAGEMENT APPROVAL OF PETS

Registration of Pets

PHAs may require registration of the pet with the PHA [24 CFR 960.707(b)(5)].

PHA Policy

Pets must be registered with the PHA before they are brought onto the premises.

Registration includes documentation signed by a licensed veterinarian or state/local authority that the pet has received all inoculations required by state or local law, and that the pet has no communicable disease(s) and is pest-free. This registration must be renewed annually and will be coordinated with the annual reexamination date.

Pets will not be approved to reside in a unit until completion of the registration requirements.

Refusal to Register Pets

PHA Policy

The PHA will refuse to register a pet if:

The pet is not a common household pet as defined in Section 10-II.C. below

Keeping the pet would violate any pet restrictions listed in this policy

The pet owner fails to provide complete pet registration information, or fails to update the registration annually

The applicant has previously been charged with animal cruelty under state or local law; or has been evicted, had to relinquish a pet or been prohibited from future pet ownership due to pet rule violations or a court order

The PHA reasonably determines that the pet owner is unable to keep the pet in compliance with the pet rules and other lease obligations. The pet's temperament and behavior may be considered as a factor in determining the pet owner's ability to comply with provisions of the lease.

If the PHA refuses to register a pet, a written notification will be sent to the pet owner within 10 business days of the PHA’s decision. The notice will state the reason for refusing to register the pet and will inform the family of their right to appeal the decision in accordance with the PHA’s grievance procedures.

Pet Agreement

PHA Policy

Residents who have been approved to have a pet must enter into a pet agreement with the PHA, or the approval of the pet will be withdrawn.

The pet agreement is the resident’s certification that he or she has received a copy of the PHA’s pet policy and applicable house rules, that he or she has read the policies and/or rules, understands them, and agrees to comply with them.

The resident further certifies by signing the pet agreement that he or she understands that noncompliance with the PHA’s pet policy and applicable house rules may result in the withdrawal of PHA approval of the pet or termination of tenancy.

10-II.C. STANDARDS FOR PETS [24 CFR 5.318; 960.707(b)]

PHAs may establish reasonable requirements related to pet ownership including, but not limited to:

·        Limitations on the number of animals in a unit, based on unit size

·        Prohibitions on types of animals that the PHA classifies as dangerous, provided that such classifications are consistent with applicable state and local law

·        Prohibitions on individual animals, based on certain factors, including the size and weight of the animal

·        Requiring pet owners to have their pets spayed or neutered

PHA’s may not require pet owners to have any pet’s vocal cords removed.

Definition of “Common Household Pet”

There is no regulatory definition of common household pet for public housing programs, although the regulations for pet ownership in both elderly/disabled and general occupancy developments use the term. The regulations for pet ownership in elderly/disabled developments expressly authorize PHAs to define the term [24 CFR 5.306(2)].

PHA Policy

Common household pet means a domesticated animal, such as a dog, cat, bird, or fish that is traditionally recognized as a companion animal and is kept in the home for pleasure rather than commercial purposes.

The following animals are not considered common household pets:

Reptiles

Rodents

Insects

Arachnids

Wild animals or feral animals

Pot-bellied pigs

Animals used for commercial breeding

Pet Restrictions

PHA Policy

The following animals are not permitted:

Any animal whose adult weight will exceed 25 pounds

Dogs of the Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Chow, Doberman pincher, German Shepherd or Boxer breeds

Ferrets or other animals whose natural protective mechanisms pose a risk to small children of serious bites or lacerations

Any animal not permitted under state or local law or code

Number of Pets

PHA Policy

Residents may own a maximum of 2 pets, only 1 of which may be a cat or dog.

In the case of fish, residents may keep no more than can be maintained in a safe and healthy manner in a tank holding up to 25 gallons. Such a tank or aquarium will be counted as 1 pet.

Other Requirements

PHA Policy

Dogs and cats must be spayed or neutered at the time of registration or, in the case of underage animals, within 30 days of the pet reaching 6 months of age. Exceptions may be made upon veterinary certification that subjecting this particular pet to the procedure would be temporarily or permanently medically unsafe or unnecessary.

Pets must be licensed in accordance with state or local law. Residents must provide proof of licensing at the time of registration and annually, in conjunction with the resident’s annual reexamination.

10-II.D. PET RULES

Pet owners must maintain pets responsibly, in accordance with PHA policies, and in compliance with applicable state and local public health, animal control, and animal cruelty laws and regulations [24 CFR 5.315; 24 CFR 960.707(a)].

Pet Area Restrictions

PHA Policy

Pets must be maintained within the resident's unit. When outside of the unit (within the building or on the grounds) dogs and cats must be kept on a leash or carried, under the control of the resident and in the presence of the resident or other responsible individual at all times.

Pets other than dogs or cats must be kept in a cage or carrier when outside of the unit.

Pets are not permitted in common areas including lobbies, community rooms and laundry areas except for those common areas which are entrances to and exits from the building.

Pet owners are not permitted to exercise pets or permit pets to deposit waste on project premises outside of the areas designated for such purposes.

Designated Pet/No-Pet Areas [24 CFR 5.318(g), PH Occ GB, p. 182]

PHAs may designate buildings, floors of buildings, or sections of buildings as no-pet areas where pets generally may not be permitted. Pet rules may also designate buildings, floors of building, or sections of building for residency by pet-owning tenants.

PHAs may direct initial tenant moves as may be necessary to establish pet and no-pet areas. The PHA may not refuse to admit, or delay admission of, an applicant on the grounds that the applicant’s admission would violate a pet or no-pet area. The PHA may adjust the pet and no-pet areas or may direct such additional moves as may be necessary to accommodate such applicants for tenancy or to meet the changing needs of the existing tenants.

PHAs may not designate an entire development as a no-pet area, since regulations permit residents to own pets.

Cleanliness

PHA Policy

The pet owner shall be responsible for the removal of waste from the exercise area by placing it in a sealed plastic bag and disposing of it in a container provided by the PHA.

The pet owner shall take adequate precautions to eliminate any pet odors within or around the unit and to maintain the unit in a sanitary condition at all times.

Litter box requirements:

Pet owners must promptly dispose of waste from litter boxes and must maintain litter boxes in a sanitary manner.

Litter shall not be disposed of by being flushed through a toilet.

Litter boxes shall be kept inside the resident's dwelling unit.

Alterations to Unit

PHA Policy

Pet owners shall not alter their unit, patio, premises or common areas to create an enclosure for any animal.

Installation of pet doors is prohibited.

Noise

PHA Policy

Pet owners must agree to control the noise of pets so that such noise does not constitute a nuisance to other residents or interrupt their peaceful enjoyment of their housing unit or premises. This includes, but is not limited to loud or continuous barking, howling, whining, biting, scratching, chirping, or other such activities.

Pet Care

PHA Policy

Each pet owner shall be responsible for adequate care, nutrition, exercise and medical attention for his/her pet.

Each pet owner shall be responsible for appropriately training and caring for his/her pet to ensure that the pet is not a nuisance or danger to other residents and does not damage PHA property.

No animals may be tethered or chained inside or outside the dwelling unit at any time.

Responsible Parties

PHA Policy

A resident who cares for another resident's pet must notify the PHA and sign a statement that they agree to abide by all of the pet rules.

Pets Temporarily on the Premises

PHA Policy

Pets that are not owned by a tenant are not allowed on the premises. Residents are prohibited from feeding or harboring stray animals.

This rule does not apply to visiting pet programs sponsored by a humane society or other non-profit organizations, and approved by the PHA.

Pet Rule Violations

PHA Policy

All complaints of cruelty and all dog bites will be referred to animal control or an applicable agency for investigation and enforcement.

If a determination is made on objective facts supported by written statements, that a resident/pet owner has violated the pet rules, written notice will be served.

The notice will contain a brief statement of the factual basis for the determination and the pet rule(s) that were violated. The notice will also state:

That the pet owner has 10 business days from the effective date of the service of notice to correct the violation or make written request for a meeting to discuss the violation

That the pet owner is entitled to be accompanied by another person of his or her choice at the meeting

That the pet owner's failure to correct the violation, request a meeting, or appear at a requested meeting may result in initiation of procedures to remove the pet, or to terminate the pet owner's tenancy

 

 

 

Notice for Pet Removal

PHA Policy

If the pet owner and the PHA are unable to resolve the violation at the meeting or the pet owner fails to correct the violation in the time period allotted by the PHA, the PHA may serve notice to remove the pet.

The notice will contain:

A brief statement of the factual basis for the PHA's determination of the pet rule that has been violated

The requirement that the resident/pet owner must remove the pet within 30 calendar days of the notice

A statement that failure to remove the pet may result in the initiation of termination of tenancy procedures

Termination of Tenancy

PHA Policy

The PHA may initiate procedures for termination of tenancy based on a pet rule violation if:

The pet owner has failed to remove the pet or correct a pet rule violation within the time period specified

The pet rule violation is sufficient to begin procedures to terminate tenancy under terms of the lease

Emergencies

PHA Policy

The PHA will take all necessary steps to ensure that pets that become vicious, display symptoms of severe illness, or demonstrate behavior that constitutes an immediate threat to the health or safety of others, are immediately removed from the premises by referring the situation to the appropriate state or local entity authorized to remove such animals.

If it is necessary for the PHA to place the pet in a shelter facility, the cost will be the responsibility of the pet owner.

If the pet is removed as a result of any aggressive act on the part of the pet, the pet will not be allowed back on the premises.

PART III: PET DEPOSITS

10-III.A. OVERVIEW

This part describes the PHA’s policies for pet deposits and fees.


 

10-III.B. PET DEPOSITS

Payment of Deposit

The PHA may require tenants who own or keep pets in their units to pay a refundable pet deposit. This deposit is in addition to any other financial obligation generally imposed on tenants of the project [24 CFR 5.318(d)(1)].

The maximum amount of pet deposit that may be charged by a PHA on a per dwelling unit basis, is the higher of the total tenant payment (TTP) or such reasonable fixed amount as the PHA may require. The PHA may permit gradual accumulation of the pet deposit by the pet owner [24 CFR 5.318(d)(3)].

The pet deposit is not part of the rent payable by the resident [24 CFR 5.318(d)(5)].

PHA Policy

Pet owners are required to pay a pet deposit in addition to any other required deposits. The amount of the deposit is equal to one month flat rent for the unit size leased to the family.

Refund of Deposit [24 CFR 5.318(d)(1)]

The PHA may use the pet deposit only to pay reasonable expenses directly attributable to the presence of the pet, including (but not limited to) the costs of repairs and replacements to, and fumigation of, the tenant’s dwelling unit. The PHA must refund the unused portion of the pet deposit to the tenant within a reasonable time after the tenant moves from the project or no longer owns or keeps a pet in the unit.

PHA Policy

The PHA will refund the pet deposit to the resident, less the costs of any damages caused by the pet to the dwelling unit, within 30 days of move-out or removal of the pet from the unit.

The resident will be billed for any amount that exceeds the pet deposit.

The PHA will provide the resident with a written list of any charges against the pet deposit. If the resident disagrees with the amount charged to the pet deposit, the PHA will provide a meeting to discuss the charges.

10-III.C. OTHER CHARGES

Pet-Related Damages During Occupancy

PHA Policy

All reasonable expenses incurred by the PHA as a result of damages directly attributable to the presence of the pet in the project will be the responsibility of the resident, including:

The cost of repairs and replacements to the resident's dwelling unit

Fumigation of the dwelling unit

Repairs to common areas of the project

The expense of flea elimination shall also be the responsibility of the resident.

If the resident is in occupancy when such costs occur, the resident shall be billed for such costs in accordance with the policies in Section 8-I.G, Maintenance and Damage Charges. Pet deposits will not be applied to the costs of pet-related damages during occupancy.

Charges for pet-related damage are not part of rent payable by the resident.

Pet Waste Removal Charge

The regulations do not address the PHA’s ability to impose charges for house pet rule violations. However, charges for violation of PHA pet rules may be treated like charges for other violations of the lease and PHA tenancy rules.

PHA Policy

A separate pet waste removal charge of $20.00 per occurrence will be assessed against pet owners who fail to remove pet waste in accordance with this policy.

Notices of pet waste removal charges will be in accordance with requirements regarding notices of adverse action. Charges are due and payable the first working day of the following month. If the family requests a grievance hearing within the required timeframe, the PHA may not take action for nonpayment of the charge until the conclusion of the grievance process.

Charges for pet waste removal are not part of rent payable by the resident.

Chapter 11

COMMUNITY SERVICE

INTRODUCTION

This chapter explains HUD regulations requiring PHAs to implement a community service program for all non-exempt adults living in public housing.

This chapter describes HUD regulations and PHA policies related to these topics in two parts:

Part I: Community Service Requirements. This part describes who is subject to the community service requirement, who is exempt, and HUD’s definition of economic self-sufficiency.

Part II: PHA Implementation of Community Service. This part provides PHA policy regarding PHA implementation and program design.

PART I: COMMUNITY SERVICE REQUIREMENT

11-I.A. OVERVIEW

HUD regulations pertaining to the community service requirement are contained in 24 CFR 960 Subpart F (960.600 through 960.609). PHAs and residents must comply with the community service requirement, effective with PHA fiscal years that commenced on or after October 1, 2000. Per 903.7(l)(1)(iii), the PHA Plan must contain a statement of the how the PHA will comply with the community service requirement, including any cooperative agreement that the PHA has entered into or plans to enter into.

Community service is the performance of voluntary work or duties that are a public benefit, and that serve to improve the quality of life, enhance resident self-sufficiency, or increase resident self-responsibility in the community. Community service is not employment and may not include political activities [24 CFR 960.601(b)].

In administering community service requirements, the PHA must comply with all nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements [24 CFR 960.605(c)(5)].

11-I.B. REQUIREMENTS

Each adult resident of the PHA, who is not exempt, must [24 CFR 960.603(a)]:

§         Contribute 8 hours per month of community service; or

§         Participate in an economic self-sufficiency program (as defined in the regulations) for 8 hours per month; or

§         Perform 8 hours per month of combined activities (community service and economic self-sufficiency programs).

PHA Policy

An individual may not skip a month and then double up the following month, unless special circumstances warrant it. The PHA will make the determination of whether to permit a deviation from the schedule.

Individuals who have special circumstances which they believe will prevent them from completing the required community service hours for a given month, must notify the PHA in writing within 5 business days of the circumstances becoming known. The PHA will review the request and notify the individual, in writing, of its determination within 10 business days. The PHA may require those individuals to provide documentation to support their claim.

Definitions

Exempt Individual [24 CFR 960.601(b)]

An exempt individual is an adult who:

§         Is age 62 years or older

§         Is blind or disabled (as defined under section 216[i][l] or 1614 of the Social Security Act), and who certifies that because of this disability s/he is unable to comply with the service provisions

§         Is a primary caretaker of such an individual

§         Is engaged in work activities

PHA Policy

The PHA will consider 15 hours per week as the minimum number of hours needed to qualify for a work activity exemption.

§         Meets the requirements for being exempted from having to engage in a work activity under the state program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act, or under any other welfare program of the state in which the PHA is located, including a state-administered welfare-to-work program; or

§         Is in a family receiving assistance under a state program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act, or under any other welfare program of the state in which the PHA is located, including a state-administered welfare-to-work program, and has not been found by the state or other administering entity to be in noncompliance with such program.

Community Service [PH Occ GB, p. 174]

Community service is volunteer work which includes, but is not limited to:

§         Work at a local institution including but not limited to: school, child care center, hospital, hospice, recreation center, senior center, adult day care center, homeless shelter, indigent feeding program, cooperative food bank, etc.

§         Work with a nonprofit organization that serves PHA residents or their children such as: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys or Girls Clubs, 4-H programs, PAL, Garden Center, community clean-up programs, beautification programs, other youth or senior organizations

§         Work at the PHA to help improve physical conditions

§         Work at the PHA to help with children’s programs

§         Work at the PHA to help with senior programs

§         Helping neighborhood groups with special projects

§         Working through a resident organization to help other residents with problems, serving as an officer in a resident organization, serving on the resident advisory board

§         Caring for the children of other residents so they may volunteer

NOTE: Political activity is excluded for purposes of eligible community service activities.

Economic Self-Sufficiency Program [24 CFR 5.603(b)]

For purposes of satisfying the community service requirement, an economic self-sufficiency program is defined by HUD as: Any program designed to encourage, assist, train, or facilitate economic independence of assisted families or to provide work for such families.

These economic self-sufficiency programs can include job training, employment counseling, work placement, basic skills training, education, English proficiency, workfare, financial or household management, apprenticeships (formal or informal), or any other program necessary to ready a participant to work (such as substance abuse or mental health treatment).

Work Activities [42 U.S.C. 607(d)]

As it relates to an exemption from the community service requirement, work activities means:

§         Unsubsidized employment

§         Subsidized private sector employment

§         Subsidized public sector employment

§         Work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing) if sufficient private sector employment is not available

§         On-the-job training

§         Job search and job readiness assistance

§         Community service programs

§         Vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual)

§         Job skills training directly related to employment

§         Education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency

§         Satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate

§         Provision of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program


 

Notification Requirements [24 CFR 960.605(c)(2)]

The PHA must give each family a written description of the community service requirement, the process for claiming status as an exempt person, and the process for PHA verification of exempt status. The PHA must also notify the family of its determination identifying the family members who are subject to the service requirement, and the family members who are exempt.

PHA Policy

The PHA will provide the family with a copy of the Community Service Policy found in Exhibit 11-1 of this chapter, at lease-up, lease renewal, when a family member is determined to be subject to the community service requirement during the lease term, and at any time upon the family’s request.

11-I.C. DETERMINATION OF EXEMPTION STATUS AND COMPLIANCE [24 CFR 960.605(c)(3)]

The PHA must review and verify family compliance with service requirements annually at least thirty days before the end of the twelve month lease term. The policy for documentation and verification of compliance with service requirements may be found at Section 11-I.D., Documentation and Verification.

Annual Determination

Determination of Exemption Status

An exempt individual is excused from the community service requirement [24 CFR 960.603(a)].

Determination of Compliance

The PHA must review resident family compliance with service requirements annually at least thirty days before the end of the twelve month lease term [24 CFR 960.605(c)(3)]. As part of this review, the PHA must verify that any family member that is not exempt from the community service requirement has met his or her service obligation.

Change in Status Between Annual Determinations

PHA Policy

Exempt to Non-Exempt Status

If an exempt individual becomes non-exempt during the twelve month lease term, it is the family’s responsibility to report this change to the PHA within 14 business days.

Within 14 calendar days of a family reporting such a change, or the PHA determining such a change is necessary, the PHA will provide written notice of the effective date of the requirement, a list of agencies in the community that provide volunteer and/or training opportunities, as well as a documentation form on which the family member may record the activities performed and number of hours contributed.

The effective date of the community service requirement will be the first of the month.

Non-Exempt to Exempt Status

If a non-exempt person becomes exempt during the twelve month lease term, it is the family’s responsibility to report this change to the PHA within 14 calendar days. Any claim of exemption will be verified by the PHA in accordance with the policy at 11-I.D., Documentation and Verification of Exemption Status.

Within 10 business days of a family reporting such a change, or the PHA determining such a change is necessary, the PHA will provide the family written notice that the family member is no longer subject to the community service requirement, if the PHA is able to verify the exemption.

The exemption will be effective immediately.

11-I.D. DOCUMENTATION AND VERIFICATION [24 CFR 960.605(c)(4)]

The PHA must retain reasonable documentation of service requirement performance or exemption in participant files.

Documentation and Verification of Exemption Status

PHA Policy

All family members who claim they are exempt from the community service requirement will be required to sign the community service exemption certification form.

The PHA will verify that an individual is exempt from the community service requirement by following the verification hierarchy and documentation requirements in Chapter 7.

The PHA makes the final determination whether or not to grant an exemption from the community service requirement. If a resident does not agree with the PHA’s determination, s/he can dispute the decision through the PHA’s grievance procedures (see Chapter 14).

Documentation and Verification of Compliance

If qualifying community service activities are administered by an organization other than the PHA, a family member who is required to fulfill a service requirement must provide certification to the PHA, signed by the organization, that the family member has performed the qualifying activities [24 CFR 960.607].

PHA Policy

If anyone in the family is subject to the community service requirement, the PHA will provide the family with community service documentation forms at admission, at lease renewal, when a family member becomes subject to the community service requirement during the lease term, or upon request by the family.

Each individual who is subject to the requirement will be required to record their community service or self-sufficiency activities and the number of hours contributed on the required form. The certification form will also include places for signatures and phone numbers of supervisors, instructors, and counselors certifying to the number of hours contributed.

Families will be required to submit the documentation to the PHA, upon request by the PHA.

If the PHA has reasonable cause to believe that the certification provided by the family is false or fraudulent, the PHA has the right to require third-party verification.

11-I.E. NONCOMPLIANCE

Initial Noncompliance

The lease specifies that it is renewed automatically for all purposes, unless the family fails to comply with the community service requirement. Violation of the service requirement is grounds for nonrenewal of the lease at the end of the twelve month lease term, but not for termination of tenancy during the course of the twelve month lease term [24 CFR 960.603(b)].

If the tenant or another family member has violated the community service requirement, the PHA may not renew the lease upon expiration of the twelve-month term of the lease, unless the tenant and any other noncompliant family member enter into a written agreement with the PHA. Under this agreement the tenant or noncompliant family member must agree to cure the noncompliance by completing the additional hours of community service or economic self-sufficiency needed to make up the total number of hours required, over the twelve-month term of the new lease. In addition, all other members of the family who are subject to the service requirement must be currently complying with the service requirement or must no longer be residing in the unit [24 CFR 960.607(c)].

Notice of Initial Noncompliance [24 CFR 960.607(b)]

If the PHA determines that there is a family member who is required to fulfill a service requirement, but who has failed to comply with this obligation (noncompliant resident), the PHA must notify the tenant of this determination.

The notice to the tenant must briefly describe the noncompliance. The notice must state that the PHA will not renew the lease at the end of the twelve-month lease term unless the tenant, and any other noncompliant resident, enter into a written agreement with the PHA to cure the noncompliance, or the family provides written assurance satisfactory to the PHA that the tenant or other noncompliant resident no longer resides in the unit.

The notice must also state that the tenant may request a grievance hearing on the PHA’s determination, in accordance with the PHA’s grievance procedures, and that the tenant may exercise any available judicial remedy to seek timely redress for the PHA’s nonrenewal of the lease because of the PHA’s determination.

PHA Policy

The notice of initial noncompliance will be sent.

The family will have 30 calendar days from the date of the notice of noncompliance to cure the default.

If the family reports that a noncompliant family member is no longer residing in the unit, the family must provide documentation that the family member has actually vacated the unit before the PHA will agree to continued occupancy of the family. Documentation must consist of a certification signed by the head of household as well as evidence of the current address of the family member that previously resided with them.

If the family does not request a grievance hearing, or does not take either corrective action required by the notice of noncompliance within the required timeframe, the PHA will terminate tenancy in accordance with the policies in Section 13-IV.D.

PART II: IMPLEMENTATION OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

11-II.A. OVERVIEW

Each PHA must develop a policy for administration of the community service and economic self-sufficiency requirements for public housing. It is in the PHA’s best interests to develop a viable, effective community service program, to provide residents the opportunity to engage in the community and to develop competencies.

PHA Implementation of Community Service

The PHA may not substitute any community service or self-sufficiency activities performed by residents for work ordinarily performed by PHA employees, or replace a job at any location where residents perform activities to satisfy the service requirement [24 CFR 960.609].

PHA Program Design

The PHA may administer qualifying community service or economic self-sufficiency activities directly, or may make community service activities available through a contractor, or through partnerships with qualified organizations, including resident organizations, and community agencies or institutions [24 CFR 960.605(b)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will attempt to provide the broadest choice possible to residents as they choose community service activities.

The PHA’s goal is to design a service program that gives residents viable opportunities to become involved in the community and to gain competencies and skills. The PHA will work with resident organizations and community organizations to design, implement, assess and recalibrate its community service program.

The PHA will make every effort to identify volunteer opportunities throughout the community, especially those in proximity to public housing developments. To the greatest extent possible, the PHA will provide names and contacts at agencies that can provide opportunities for residents, including persons with disabilities, to fulfill their community service obligations.

Any written agreements or partnerships with contractors and/or qualified organizations, including resident organizations, are described in the PHA Plan.

The PHA will provide in-house opportunities for volunteer work or self-sufficiency programs when possible.

 


 

EXHIBIT 11-1: COMMUNITY SERVICE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY POLICY

 

INTRODUCTION

Community Service is defined as "the performance of voluntary work or duties that are a public benefit, and that serve to improve the quality of life, enhance resident self-sufficiency, or increase resident self responsibility in the community." Community Service is not employment and may not include political activities

The Community Service and Economic Self-Sufficiency requirements mandate that each non-exempt adult household member shall either contribute eight hours per month of community service within their community, or participate in an Economic Self-Sufficiency program for eight hours per month. The requirements can also be met by a combination of eight hours of Community Service and participation in an Economic Self-Sufficiency Program. This policy provides guidance on administration of this requirement.

 

A.        HOW PHA’S CAN ADMINISTER COMMUNITY SERVICE/SELF-SUFFICIENCY PROGRAMS

PHA's must develop a local policy for administration of the community service/self-sufficiency program for public housing residents. The policy should contain a number of elements, including for example: PHA responsibilities in administering the requirement; eligible activities; exemptions from the requirement; and review of compliance. These elements are described further below. PHA’s may administer qualifying community service and self-sufficiency activities directly or make the activities available to residents through a contractor or partnership with qualifying organizations (including resident organizations), community agencies, or institutions. In administering the community service/self-sufficiency program, a PHA should, to the extent possible, provide names and contacts of agencies that can provide opportunities for residents, including persons with disabilities, to fulfill their community service obligations. Persons with disabilities are exempt from the requirement only if they certify that because of their disabilities, they cannot comply with the requirement. The PHA should also provide referrals for volunteer work or self-sufficiency programs.

 

B.        ELIGIBLE COMMUNITY SERVICE ACTIVITIES

 

Eligible community service activities that can be performed include, but are not limited to:

·        Work for the community of Homecrest Manor Apartments, such as:

·        Work as a member of the Resident Advisory Committee

·        Work at the Authority to help improve physical conditions (for example as a floor, grounds or building captain).

·        Work at the Authority to help with children’s programs

·        Work at the Authority to help with senior programs;

·        Helping neighborhood groups with special projects;

 

If work is not available at the PHA, then a resident may:

 

·        Work at a local public or non-profit institution, including but not limited to: Schools, Head start, other before or after school program, child care center, hospital, clinic, hospice, nursing home, recreation center, senior center, adult day are program, homeless shelter, feeding program, food bank (distributing either donated or commodity foods), or clothes closet (distributing donated clothing), etc.

·        Work with a non-profit organization that serves PHA residents or their children, including but not limited to: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys or Girls Club, 4-H Club, PAL, other children's recreation, mentoring, or education programs, Big Brothers or Big Sisters, Garden Center, Community clean-up programs, Beautification programs, etc.

·        Work with any program funded under the Older Americans Act, including but not limited to: Green Thumb, Service Corps of Retired Executives, Senior meals programs, Senior Center, Meals on Wheels, etc.

·        Work with any other public or non-profit youth or senior organizations.

·        Work as an officer of a development or citywide resident organization

 

PHA’s should notify their insurance companies if residents will be serving at the PHA.

 

C.        ELIGIBLE SELF-SUFFICIENCY ACTIVITIES

Eligible self-sufficiency activities in which residents may engage include, but are not limited to:

·        Job readiness programs

·        Job training programs

·        Skills training programs

·        Higher education (Junior college or college)

·        GED classes

·        Apprenticeships (formal or informal)

·        Substance abuse or mental health counseling

·        English proficiency or literacy (reading) classes

·        English as a second language classes

·        Budgeting and credit counseling

·        Carrying out any activity required by the Department of Public Assistance as part of welfare reform.

 

D.        EXEMPT RESIDENTS

A PHA must identify in the community service/self-sufficiency policy the residents that are exempt from the program work/self-sufficiency requirement, including persons who are:

·        62 years or older;

·        Person with disabilities and certifies that, based on the disability, he or she cannot comply with the requirement (at the discretion of the PHA);

·        Currently working at least 15 hours per week;

·        Members of a family receiving benefits from a State Welfare Program in compliance with the program’s requirements.

 

The PHA should describe in the Community Service Policy the process it will follow to determine which family members are exempt from the requirement as well as the process for determining any changes to the exempt status of the family member. The PHA's must provide the family with exemption verification forms, Recording/Certification documentation forms, and a copy of the Policy at initial application and at lease execution. The PHA makes the final determination whether or not to grant the exemption from the

community service requirement. If a Resident does not agree with the PHA’s determination, he/she can dispute the decision through the PHA’s Grievance Procedures.

 

E.         NONCOMPLIANT RESIDENTS

 

An exemption to the requirement must be verified annually by the PHA. At least thirty days before the annual reexamination and/or lease expiration, the PHA must begin reviewing the exempt or non-exempt status and compliance of family members. If the PHA finds a family member to be non-compliant, the PHA will issue a Notice of Intent to Terminate the Lease and the non-compliant member and the Head of Household must enter into an agreement to make up the deficient hours over the next thirty (30) days. If the family member still is not compliant, the PHA is not permitted to renew the lease and the entire family will have to vacate, unless the non-compliant member agrees to move out of the unit. The family may use the Authority's Grievance Procedure to protest the lease termination.

 

F.         OTHER HUD REQUIREMENTS

 

A PHA policy must also state the following requirements:

·        The eight (8) hours per month may be either volunteer work or self-sufficiency program activity or a combination of the two.

·        At least eight (8) hours of activity must be performed each month. An individual may not skip a month and then double up the following month, unless special circumstances warrant it. The Authority will make the determination of whether to permit a deviation from the schedule.

·        Activities must be performed within the community and not outside the jurisdictional area of the PHA unless special circumstances warrant such action.

 

G.                RESIDENT RESPONSIBILTY

 

All adult members (18 or older) of a public housing resident family must:

·        Provide documentation that they qualify for an exemption, if they claim to be exempt from Community Service requirement. (only required annually)

·        Sign a certification that they have received and read the policy and understand that if they are not exempt, failure to comply with the Community Service requirement will result in non-renewal of their lease. (within the first 30 days of residency)

·        At the end of each month, non-exempt family members must present a completed documentation form (PHA Form) of activities performed over the previous month. This form will include places for signatures of supervisors, instructors, or counselors certifying to the number of hours contributed.

 

If a family member is found to be non-compliant, the member and the Head of Household will sign an agreement with the Authority to make up the deficient hours over the next 30 day period.

 

H.                   CHANGE IN EXEMPT STATUS

 

When an adult resident's exempt status changes during the year:

·        If a non-exempt person becomes exempt, it is his/her responsibility to report this to the Authority and provide documentation.

·        If an exempt person becomes non-exempt, it is his/her responsibility to report this to the Authority. The Authority will provide the person with the Recording/Certification documentation form and a list of agencies in the community that provide volunteer and/or training opportunities.

EXHIBIT 11-2: DEFINITION OF A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY UNDER SOCIAL SECURITY ACTS 216(i)(l) and Section 1416(excerpt) FOR PURPOSES OF EXEMPTION FROM COMMUNITY SERVICE

Social Security Act:

216(i)(1): Except for purposes of sections 202(d), 202(e), 202(f), 223, and 225, the term “disability” means (A) inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months, or (B) blindness; and the term “blindness” means central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye which is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees shall be considered for purposes of this paragraph as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.

Section 1416 (excerpt):

SEC. 1614. [42 U.S.C. 1382c] (a)(1) For purposes of this title, the term “aged, blind, or disabled individual” means an individual who—

(A) is 65 years of age or older, is blind (as determined under paragraph (2)), or is disabled (as determined under paragraph (3)), and

(B)(i) is a resident of the United States, and is either (I) a citizen or (II) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law (including any alien who is lawfully present in the United States as a result of the application of the provisions of section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), or

(ii) is a child who is a citizen of the United States and, who is living with a parent of the child who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States assigned to permanent duty ashore outside the United States.

(2) An individual shall be considered to be blind for purposes of this title if he has central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye which is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees shall be considered for purposes of the first sentence of this subsection as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less. An individual shall also be considered to be blind for purposes of this title if he is blind as defined under a State plan approved under title X or XVI as in effect for October 1972 and received aid under such plan (on the basis of blindness) for December 1973, so long as he is continuously blind as so defined.

(3)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), an individual shall be considered to be disabled for purposes of this title if he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.

Chapter 12

TRANSFER POLICY

INTRODUCTION

This chapter explains the PHA’s transfer policy, based on HUD regulations, HUD guidance, and PHA policy decisions.

This chapter describes HUD regulations and PHA policies related to transfers in four parts:

Part I: Emergency Transfers. This part describes emergency transfers, emergency transfer procedures, and payment of transfer costs.

Part II: PHA Required Transfers. This part describes types of transfers that may be required by the PHA, notice requirements, and payment of transfer costs.

Part III: Transfers Requested by Residents. This part describes types of transfers that may be requested by residents, eligibility requirements, security deposits, payment of transfer costs, and handling of transfer requests.

Part IV: Transfer Processing. This part describes creating a waiting list, prioritizing transfer requests, the unit offer policy, examples of good cause, deconcentration, transferring to another development and reexamination.

The PHA may require the tenant to move from the unit under some circumstances.  There are also emergency circumstances under which alternate accommodations for the tenant must be provided, that may or may not require a transfer.

The tenant may also request a transfer, such as a request for a new unit as a reasonable accommodation.

The PHA must have specific policies in place to deal with acceptable transfer requests.

PART I: EMERGENCY TRANSFERS

12-I.A. OVERVIEW

HUD categorizes certain actions as emergency transfers [PH Occ GB, p. 147].  The emergency transfer differs from a typical transfer in that it requires immediate action by the PHA.

In the case of a genuine emergency, it may be unlikely that the PHA will have the time or resources to immediately transfer a tenant. Due to the immediate need to vacate the unit, placing the tenant on a transfer waiting list would not be appropriate. Under such circumstances, if an appropriate unit is not immediately available, the PHA should find alternate accommodations for the tenant until the emergency passes, or a permanent solution, i.e., return to the unit or transfer to another unit, is reached.


 

12-I.B. EMERGENCY TRANSFERS

If the dwelling unit is damaged to the extent that conditions are created which are hazardous to life, health, or safety of the occupants, the PHA must offer standard alternative accommodations, if available, where necessary repairs cannot be made within a reasonable time [24 CFR 966.4(h)].

PHA Policy

The following is considered an emergency circumstance warranting an immediate transfer of the tenant or family:

Maintenance conditions in the resident’s unit, building or at the site that pose an immediate, verifiable threat to the life, health or safety of the resident or family members that cannot be repaired or abated within 24 hours. Examples of such unit or building conditions would include: a gas leak; no heat in the building during the winter; no water; toxic contamination; and serious water leaks.

12-I.C. EMERGENCY TRANSFER PROCEDURES

PHA Policy

If the transfer is necessary because of maintenance conditions, and an appropriate unit is not immediately available, the PHA will provide temporary accommodations to the tenant by arranging for temporary lodging at a hotel or similar location. If the conditions that required the transfer cannot be repaired, or the condition cannot be repaired in a reasonable amount of time, the PHA will transfer the resident to the first available and appropriate unit after the temporary relocation.

Emergency transfers are mandatory for the tenant.

12-I.D. COSTS OF TRANSFER

PHA Policy

The PHA will bear the reasonable costs of temporarily accommodating the tenant and of long term transfers, if any, due to emergency conditions.

The reasonable cost of transfers includes the cost of packing, moving, and unloading.

The PHA will establish a moving allowance based on the typical costs in the community of packing, moving, and unloading. To establish typical costs, the PHA will collect information from companies in the community that provide these services.

The PHA will reimburse the family for eligible out-of-pocket moving expenses up to the PHA’s established moving allowance.


 

PART II: PHA REQUIRED TRANSFERS

12-II.A. OVERVIEW

HUD regulations regarding transfers are minimal, leaving it up to the PHA to develop reasonable transfer policies.

The PHA may require that a resident transfer to another unit under some circumstances.  For example, the PHA may require a resident to transfer to make an accessible unit available to a disabled family. The PHA may also transfer a resident in order to maintain occupancy standards based on family composition. Finally, a PHA may transfer residents in order to demolish or renovate the unit.

A transfer that is required by the PHA is an adverse action, and is subject to the notice requirements for adverse actions [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)(i)].

12-II.B. TYPES OF PHA REQUIRED TRANSFERS

PHA Policy

The types of transfers that may be required by the PHA, include, but are not limited to, transfers to make an accessible unit available for a disabled family, transfers to comply with occupancy standards, transfers for demolition, disposition, revitalization, or rehabilitation, and emergency transfers as discussed in Part I of this chapter.

Transfers required by the PHA are mandatory for the tenant.

Transfers to Make an Accessible Unit Available

When a family is initially given an accessible unit, but does not require the accessible features, the PHA may require the family to agree to move to a non-accessible unit when it becomes available [24 CFR 8.27(b)].

PHA Policy

When a non-accessible unit becomes available, the PHA will transfer a family living in an accessible unit that does not require the accessible features, to an available unit that is not accessible. The PHA may wait until a disabled resident requires the accessible unit before transferring the family that does not require the accessible features out of the accessible unit.

Occupancy Standards Transfers

The PHA may require a resident to move when a reexamination indicates that there has been a change in family composition, and the family is either overcrowded or over-housed  according to PHA policy [24 CFR 960.257(a)(4)]. On some occasions, the PHA may initially place a resident in an inappropriately sized unit at lease-up, where the family is over-housed, to prevent vacancies. The public housing lease must include the tenant’s agreement to transfer to an appropriately sized unit based on family composition [24 CFR 966.4(c)(3)].

PHA Policy

The PHA will transfer a family when the family size has changed and the family is now too large (overcrowded) or too small (over-housed) for the unit occupied.

For purposes of the transfer policy, overcrowded and over-housed are defined as follows:

Overcrowded: the number of household members exceeds the maximum number of persons allowed for the unit size in which the family resides, according to the chart in Section 5-I.B.

Over-housed: the family no longer qualifies for the bedroom size in which they are living based on the PHA’s occupancy standards as described in Section 5-I.B.

The PHA may also transfer a family who was initially placed in a unit in which the family was over-housed to a unit of an appropriate size based on the PHA’s occupancy standards, when the PHA determines there is a need for the transfer.

The PHA may elect not to transfer an over-housed family in order to prevent vacancies.

A family that is required to move because of family size will be advised by the PHA that a transfer is necessary and that the family has been placed on the transfer list.

Families that request and are granted an exception to the occupancy standards (for either a larger or smaller size unit) in accordance with the policies in Section 5-I.C. will only be required to transfer if it is necessary to comply with the approved exception.

Demolition, Disposition, Revitalizations, or Rehabilitation Transfers

These transfers permit the PHA to demolish, sell or do major capital or rehabilitation work at a building site [PH Occ GB, page 148].

PHA Policy

The PHA will relocate a family when the unit or site in which the family lives is undergoing major rehabilitation that requires the unit to be vacant, or the unit is being disposed of or demolished. The PHA’s relocation plan may or may not require transferring affected families to other available public housing units.

If the relocation plan calls for transferring public housing families to other public housing units, affected families will be placed on the transfer list.

In cases of revitalization or rehabilitation, the family may be offered a temporary relocation if allowed under Relocation Act provisions, and may be allowed to return to their unit, depending on contractual and legal obligations, once revitalization or rehabilitation is complete.

12-II.C. ADVERSE ACTION [24 CFR 966.4(e)(8)(i)]

A PHA required transfer is an adverse action. As an adverse action, the transfer is subject to the requirements regarding notices of adverse actions.  If the family requests a grievance hearing within the required timeframe, the PHA may not take action on the transfer until the conclusion of the grievance process.

12-II.D. COST OF TRANSFER

PHA Policy

The PHA will bear the reasonable costs of transfers that the PHA requires, except that residents will be required to bear the cost of occupancy standards transfers and accessible units.

The reasonable costs of transfers include the cost of packing, moving, and unloading.

The PHA will establish a moving allowance based on the typical costs in the community of packing, moving, and unloading. To establish typical costs, the PHA will collect information from companies in the community that provide these services.

The PHA will reimburse the family for eligible out-of-pocket moving expenses up to the PHA’s established moving allowance.

PART III: TRANSFERS REQUESTED BY TENANTS

12-III.A. OVERVIEW

HUD provides the PHA with discretion to consider transfer requests from tenants. The only requests that the PHA is required to consider are requests for reasonable accommodation. All other transfer requests are at the discretion of the PHA. To avoid administrative costs and burdens, this policy limits the types of requests that will be considered by the PHA.

Some transfers that are requested by tenants should be treated as higher priorities than others due to the more urgent need for the transfer.

12-III.B. TYPES OF RESIDENT REQUESTED TRANSFERS

PHA Policy

The types of requests for transfers that the PHA will consider are limited to requests for transfers to alleviate a serious or life threatening medical condition, reasonable accommodation, transfers to a different unit size as long as the family qualifies for the unit according to the PHA’s occupancy standards, No other transfer requests will be considered by the PHA.

The PHA will consider the following as high priority transfer requests:

When a transfer is needed to alleviate verified medical problems of a serious or life-threatening nature

When a family requests a transfer as a reasonable accommodation. Examples of a reasonable accommodation transfer include, but are not limited to, a transfer to a first floor unit for a person with mobility impairment, or a transfer to a unit with accessible features

The PHA will consider the following as regular priority transfer requests:

When a family requests a larger bedroom size unit even though the family does not meet the PHA’s definition of overcrowded, as long as the family meets the PHA’s occupancy standards for the requested size unit

Transfers requested by the tenant are considered optional for the tenant.


 

12-III.C. ELIGIBILITY FOR TRANSFER

Transferring residents do not have to meet the admission eligibility requirements pertaining to income or preference.  However, the PHA may establish other standards for considering a transfer request [PH Occ GB, p. 150].

12-III.D. SECURITY DEPOSITS

PHA Policy

When a family transfers from one unit to another, the PHA will transfer their security deposit to the new unit. The tenant will be billed for any maintenance charges (beyond normal wear and tear) due for the “old” unit.

If charges exceed $50.00 (excluding labor costs) the tenant’s security deposit will not be transferred to the new unit and the tenant will be required to pay a new security deposit for the new unit.

Any money due the PHA will be payable according to the PHA’s repayment agreement..

The tenant will be required to sign a transfer agreement prior to transferring units. This policy applies for tenant requested transfers and PHA requested tranfers. 

12-III.E. HANDLING OF REQUESTS

PHA Policy

Residents requesting a transfer to another unit or development will be required to submit a written request for transfer.

The PHA will respond by approving the transfer and putting the family on the transfer list, by denying the transfer, or by requiring more information or documentation from the family.

The PHA will respond within ten (10) business days of the submission of the family’s request. If the PHA denies the request for transfer, the family will be informed of its grievance rights.

PART IV: TRANSFER PROCESSING

12-IV.A. OVERVIEW

Generally, transfers should be placed on a transfer list and handled in the appropriate order. The transfer process must be clearly auditable to ensure that residents do not experience disparate treatment.

12-IV.B. TRANSFER LIST

PHA Policy

The PHA will maintain a centralized transfer list to ensure that transfers are processed in the correct order and that procedures are uniform.

Emergency transfers will not automatically go on the transfer list. Instead emergency transfers will be handled immediately, on a case by case basis. If the emergency will not be finally resolved by a temporary accommodation, and the resident requires a permanent transfer, that transfer will be placed at the top of the transfer list.

Transfers will be processed in the following order:

1. Emergency transfers

2. Verified medical condition

3. Reasonable accommodation

5. Transfer to make an accessible unit available

6. Demolition, renovation, etc.

7. Occupancy Standards

8. Other PHA required transfers

9. Other tenant requested transfers

Within each category, transfers will be processed in order of the date the family was placed on the transfer list, starting with the earliest date.

Demolition and renovation transfers will gain the highest priority as necessary to allow the PHA to meet the demolition or renovation schedule.

Transfers will not take precedence over waiting list admissions.

12-IV.C. TRANSFER OFFER POLICY

PHA Policy

Residents will receive one offer of a transfer.

When the transfer is required by the PHA, refusal of that offer without good cause will result in lease termination.

When the transfer has been requested by the resident, refusal of that offer without good cause will result in the removal of the household from the transfer list and the family must wait six months to reapply for another transfer.

12-IV.D. GOOD CAUSE FOR UNIT REFUSAL

PHA Policy

Examples of good cause for refusal of a unit offer include, but are not limited to, the following:

The family demonstrates to the PHA’s satisfaction that accepting the offer will place a family member’s life, health or safety in jeopardy. The family should offer specific and compelling documentation such as restraining orders, other court orders, or risk assessments related to witness protection from a law enforcement agency. Reasons offered must be specific to the family. Refusals due to location alone do not qualify for this good cause exemption.

A health professional verifies temporary hospitalization or recovery from illness of the principal household member, other household members (as listed on final application) or live-in aide necessary to the care of the principal household member.

The unit is inappropriate for the applicant’s disabilities, or the family does not need the accessible features in the unit offered and does not want to be subject to a 30-day notice to move.

The PHA will require documentation of good cause for unit refusals.

Chapter 13

LEASE TERMINATIONS

INTRODUCTION

Either party in a lease agreement may terminate the lease under certain circumstances. A public housing lease is different from a private dwelling lease in that the family’s rental assistance is tied to their tenancy.  When the family moves from their public housing unit, they lose their rental assistance. Therefore, there are additional safeguards to protect the family’s tenancy in public housing.

Likewise, there are safeguards to protect HUD’s interest in the public housing program, to assure that qualified families are provided decent, safe, and sanitary housing which is in good repair. The PHA may terminate the lease because of the family’s failure to comply with HUD regulations, for serious or repeated violations of the terms of the lease, and for other good cause. HUD regulations specify some reasons for which a PHA can terminate a family’s lease, and give PHAs authority to determine other reasons.

When determining PHA policy on terminations, state and local landlord-tenant laws must be considered, since such laws could vary from one location to another. These variances may be either more or less restrictive than federal law or HUD regulation.

This chapter presents the policies that govern both the family’s and PHA’s termination of the lease. It is presented in four parts:

Part I: Termination by Tenant. This part discusses the family’s voluntary termination of the lease and the requirements the PHA places upon families who wish to terminate their lease.

Part II: Termination by PHA - Mandatory. This part describes the policies that govern how, and under what circumstances, a mandatory lease termination by the PHA occurs. This part also includes nonrenewal of the lease for noncompliance with community service requirements.

Part III: Termination by PHA – Other Authorized Reasons. This part describes the PHA’s options for lease termination that are not mandated by HUD regulation but for which HUD authorizes PHAs to terminate. For some of these options HUD requires the PHA to establish policies and lease provisions for termination, but termination is not mandatory. For other options the PHA has full discretion whether to consider the options as just cause to terminate as long as the PHA policies are reasonable, nondiscriminatory, and do not violate state or local landlord-tenant law. This part also discusses the alternatives that the PHA may consider in lieu of termination, and the criteria the PHA will use when deciding what actions to take.

Part IV: Notification Requirements. This part presents the federal requirements for disclosure of criminal records to the family prior to termination, the HUD requirements and PHA policies regarding the timing and content of written notices for lease termination and eviction, and notification of the post office when eviction is due to criminal activity. This part also discusses record keeping related to lease termination.


 

PART I: TERMINATION BY TENANT

13-I.A. TENANT CHOOSES TO TERMINATE THE LEASE [24 CFR 966.4(k)(1)(ii) and 24 CFR 966.4(l)(1)]

The family may terminate the lease at any time, for any reason, by following the notification procedures as outlined in the lease. Such notice must be in writing and delivered to the project office or the PHA central office or sent by pre-paid first-class mail, properly addressed.

PHA Policy

If a family desires to move and terminate their tenancy with the PHA, they must give a 30 days advance written notice to the PHA of their intent to vacate. The notice of lease termination must be signed by the head of household, spouse, or cohead.

PART II: TERMINATION BY PHA – MANDATORY

13-II.A. OVERVIEW

HUD requires the PHA to terminate the lease in certain circumstances. In other circumstances HUD requires the PHA to establish provisions for lease termination, but it is still a PHA option to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether termination is warranted.  For those tenant actions or failures to act where HUD requires termination, the PHA has no such option. In those cases, the family’s lease must be terminated. This part describes situations in which HUD requires the PHA to terminate the lease.

13-II.B. FAILURE TO PROVIDE CONSENT [24 CFR 960.259(a) and (b)]

The PHA must terminate the lease if any family member fails to sign and submit any consent form s/he is required to sign for any reexamination.  See Chapter 7 for a complete discussion of consent requirements.

13-II.C. FAILURE TO DOCUMENT CITIZENSHIP [24 CFR 5.514(c) and (d) and 24 CFR 960.259(a)]

The PHA must terminate the lease if (1) a family fails to submit required documentation within the required timeframe concerning any family member’s citizenship or immigration status; (2) a family submits evidence of citizenship and eligible immigration status in a timely manner, but United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) primary and secondary verification does not verify eligible immigration status of the family, resulting in no eligible family members; or (3) a family member, as determined by the PHA, has knowingly permitted another individual who is not eligible for assistance to reside (on a permanent basis) in the unit. For (3), such termination must be for a period of at least 24 months. This does not apply to ineligible noncitizens already in the household where the family’s assistance has been prorated.

See Chapter 7 for a complete discussion of documentation requirements.

 

13-II.D. FAILURE TO PROVIDE SOCIAL SECURITY DOCUMENTATION [24 CFR 5.218(c) and 24 CFR 960.259(a)(3)]

The PHA must terminate the lease if a resident family fails to provide the documentation or certification required for any family member who obtains a social security number, joins the family, or reaches 6 years of age. See Chapter 7 for a complete discussion of documentation and certification requirements.

13-II.E. FAILURE TO ACCEPT THE PHA’S OFFER OF A LEASE REVISION [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2)(ii)(E)]

The PHA must terminate the lease if the family fails to accept the PHA’s offer of a lease revision to an existing lease, provided the PHA has done the following:

·        The revision is on a form adopted by the PHA in accordance with 24 CFR 966.3 pertaining to requirements for notice to tenants and resident organizations and their opportunity to present comments.

·        The PHA has made written notice of the offer of the revision at least 60 calendar days before the lease revision is scheduled to take effect.

·        The PHA has specified in the offer a reasonable time limit within that period for acceptance by the family.

See Chapter 8 for information pertaining to PHA policies for offering lease revisions.

13-II.F. METHAMPHETAMINE CONVICTION [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(i)(A)]

The PHA must immediately terminate the lease if the PHA determines that any household member has ever been convicted of the manufacture or production of methamphetamine on the premises of federally-assisted housing.

See Part 13-III.B. below for the HUD definition of premises. 

13-II.G. NONCOMPLIANCE WITH COMMUNITY SERVICE REQUIREMENTS [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2)(ii)(D), 24 CFR 960.603(b) and 24 CFR 960.607(b)(2)(ii) and (c)]

The PHA is prohibited from renewing the lease at the end of the 12 month lease term when the family fails to comply with the community service requirements as described in Chapter 11.

PART III: TERMINATION BY PHA – OTHER AUTHORIZED REASONS

13-III.A. OVERVIEW

Besides requiring PHAs to terminate the lease under the circumstances described in Part II, HUD requires the PHA to establish provisions in the lease for termination pertaining to certain criminal activity, alcohol abuse, and certain household obligations stated in the regulations. While these provisions for lease termination must be in the lease agreement, HUD does not require PHAs to terminate for such violations in all cases. The PHA has the discretion to consider circumstances surrounding the violation or, in applicable situations, whether the offending household member has entered or completed rehabilitation, and the PHA may, as an alternative to termination, require the exclusion of the culpable household member. The PHA must make policy decisions concerning these options.

In addition, HUD authorizes PHAs to terminate the lease for other grounds, but for only those grounds that constitute serious or repeated violations of material terms of the lease or that are for other good cause. The PHA must develop policies pertaining to what constitutes serious or repeated lease violations, and other good cause, based upon the content of the PHA lease. In the development of the terms of the lease, the PHA must consider the limitations imposed by state and local landlord-tenant law, as well as HUD regulations and federal statutes. Because of variations in state and local landlord-tenant law, and because HUD affords PHAs wide discretion in some areas, a broad range of policies could be acceptable.

The PHA, with some restrictions, also has the option to terminate the tenancies of families who are over income.

The PHA may consider alternatives to termination and must establish policies describing the criteria the PHA will use when deciding what action to take, the types of evidence that will be acceptable, and the steps the PHA must take when terminating a family’s lease.

13-III.B. MANDATORY LEASE PROVISIONS [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)]

This section addresses provisions for lease termination that must be included in the lease agreement according to HUD regulations. Although the provisions are required, HUD does not require PHAs to terminate for such violations in all cases, therefore PHA policies are needed.

Definitions [24 CFR 5.100]

The following definitions will be used for this and other parts of this chapter:

Covered person means a tenant, any member of the tenant’s household, a guest, or another person under the tenant’s control.

Drug means a controlled substance as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act [21 U.S.C. 802].

Drug-related criminal activity means the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution, or use of a drug, or the possession of a drug with the intent to manufacture, sell, distribute, or use the drug.

Guest means a person temporarily staying in the unit with the consent of a tenant or other member of the household who has express or implied authority to so consent on behalf of the tenant.

Household means the family and PHA-approved live-in aide. The term household also includes foster children and/or foster adults that have been approved to reside in the unit [HUD-50058, Instruction Booklet, p. 65].

Other person under the tenant’s control means that the person, although not staying as a guest in the unit, is, or was at the time of the activity in question, on the premises because of an invitation from the tenant or other member of the household who has express or implied authority to so consent on behalf of the tenant. Absent evidence to the contrary, a person temporarily and infrequently on the premises solely for legitimate commercial purposes is not under the tenant’s control.

Premises means the building or complex or development in which the public or assisted housing dwelling unit is located, including common areas and grounds.

Violent criminal activity means any criminal activity that has as one of its elements the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force substantial enough to cause, or be reasonably likely to cause, serious bodily injury or property damage.

Drug Crime On or Off the Premises [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(i)(B)]

The lease must provide that drug-related criminal activity engaged in on or off the premises by the tenant, member of the tenant’s household or guest, or any such activity engaged in on the premises by any other person under the tenant’s control is grounds for termination.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease for drug-related criminal activity engaged in on or off the premises by any tenant, member of the tenant’s household or guest, and any such activity engaged in on the premises by any other person under the tenant’s control.

The PHA will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of arrests or convictions of covered persons related to the drug-related criminal activity.

Illegal Use of a Drug [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(i)(B)]

The lease must provide that a PHA may evict a family when the PHA determines that a household member is illegally using a drug or that a pattern of illegal use of a drug interferes with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease when the PHA determines that a household member is illegally using a drug or the PHA determines that a pattern of illegal use of a drug interferes with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

A pattern of illegal drug use means more than one incident of any use of illegal drugs during the previous six months.

The PHA will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of arrests or convictions of household members related to the use of illegal drugs.

Threat to Other Residents [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(ii)(A)]

The lease must provide that any criminal activity by a covered person that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents (including PHA management staff) or by persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises is grounds for termination of tenancy.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease when a covered person engages in any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents (including PHA staff) or by persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises.

Immediate vicinity means within a three-block radius of the premises.

The PHA will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of arrests or convictions of covered persons related to the criminal activity.

Alcohol Abuse [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(vi)(A)]

PHAs must establish standards that allow termination of tenancy if the PHA determines that a household member has engaged in abuse or pattern of abuse of alcohol that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease if the PHA determines that a household member has engaged in abuse or a pattern of abuse of alcohol that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents.

A pattern of such alcohol abuse means more than one incident of any such abuse of alcohol during the previous six months.

The PHA will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of arrests or convictions of household members related to the abuse of alcohol.

Furnishing False or Misleading Information Concerning Illegal Drug Use or Alcohol Abuse or Rehabilitation [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(vi)(B)]

PHAs must establish standards that allow termination of tenancy if the PHA determines that a household member has furnished false or misleading information concerning illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, or rehabilitation of illegal drug users or alcohol abusers.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease if the PHA determines that a household member has furnished false or misleading information concerning illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, or rehabilitation of illegal drug users or alcohol abusers.

The PHA will consider all credible evidence, including but not limited to, any record of arrests or convictions of household members related to the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol, and any records or other documentation (or lack of records or documentation) supporting claims of rehabilitation of illegal drug users or alcohol abusers.

Other Serious or Repeated Violations of Material Terms of the Lease – Mandatory Lease Provisions [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2)(i) and 24 CFR 966.4(f)]

HUD regulations require certain tenant obligations to be incorporated into the lease. Violations of such regulatory obligations are considered to be serious or repeated violations, and grounds for termination.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease for the following violations of tenant obligations under the lease:

Failure to make payments due under the lease, including nonpayment of rent (see Chapter 8 for details pertaining to lease requirements for payments due);

Repeated late payments of rent or other charges.

Failure to fulfill the following household obligations:

Not to assign the lease or to sublease the dwelling unit. Subleasing includes receiving payment to cover rent and utility costs by a person living in the unit who is not listed as a family member.

Not to provide accommodations for boarders or lodgers

To use the dwelling unit solely as a private dwelling for the tenant and the tenant’s household as identified in the lease, and not to use or permit its use for any other purpose

To abide by necessary and reasonable regulations promulgated by the PHA for the benefit and well-being of the housing project and the tenants which shall be posted in the project office and incorporated by reference in the lease

To comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety

To keep the dwelling unit and such other areas as may be assigned to the tenant for the tenant’s exclusive use in a clean and safe condition

To dispose of all ashes, garbage, rubbish, and other waste from the dwelling unit in a sanitary and safe manner

To use only in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appurtenances including elevators

To refrain from, and to cause the household and guests to refrain from destroying, defacing, damaging, or removing any part of the dwelling unit or project

To pay reasonable charges (other than for normal wear and tear) for the repair of damages to the dwelling unit, or to the project (including damages to project buildings, facilities or common areas) caused by the tenant, a member of the household or a guest

To act, and cause household members or guests to act, in a manner which will not disturb other residents’ peaceful enjoyment of their accommodations and will be conducive to maintaining the project in a decent, safe and sanitary condition

In making its decision to terminate the lease, the PHA will consider alternatives as described in Section 13-III.D and other factors as described in Section 13-III.E. Upon consideration of such alternatives and factors, the PHA may, on a case-by-case basis, choose not to terminate the lease.

13-III.C. OTHER AUTHORIZED REASONS FOR TERMINATION [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2) and (5)(ii)(B)]

HUD authorizes PHAs to terminate the lease for reasons other than those described in the previous sections. These reasons are referred to as “other good cause”.

Other Good Cause [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2)(ii)(B) and (C)]

HUD regulations state that the PHA may terminate tenancy for other good cause. The regulations provide a few examples of other good cause, but do not limit the PHA to only those examples.

PHA Policy

The PHA will terminate the lease for the following reasons.

Fugitive Felon or Parole Violator. If a tenant is fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after conviction, for a crime, or attempt to commit a crime, that is a felony under the laws of the place from which the individual flees, or that, in the case of the State of New Jersey, is a high misdemeanor; or violating a condition of probation or parole imposed under federal or state law.

Persons subject to sex offender registration requirement. If any member of the household has, during their current public housing tenancy, become subject to a registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program.

Discovery after admission of facts that made the tenant ineligible

Discovery of material false statements or fraud by the tenant in connection with an application for assistance or with reexamination of income

Failure to furnish such information and certifications regarding family composition and income as may be necessary for the PHA to make determinations with respect to rent, eligibility, and the appropriateness of dwelling size

Failure to transfer to an appropriate size dwelling unit based on family composition, upon appropriate notice by the PHA that such a dwelling unit is available

Failure to permit access to the unit by the PHA after proper advance notification for the purpose of performing routine inspections and maintenance, for making improvements or repairs, or to show the dwelling unit for re-leasing, or without advance notice if there is reasonable cause to believe that an emergency exists

Failure to promptly inform the PHA of the birth, adoption or court-awarded custody of a child. In such a case, promptly means within 14 days of the event.

Failure to abide by the provisions of the PHA pet policy

If the family has breached the terms of a repayment agreement entered into with the PHA

If a family member has violated federal, state, or local law that imposes obligations in connection with the occupancy or use of the premises.

If a household member has engaged in or threatened violent or abusive behavior toward PHA personnel.

Abusive or violent behavior towards PHA personnel includes verbal as well as physical abuse or violence. Use of racial epithets, or other language, written or oral, that is customarily used to intimidate may be considered abusive or violent behavior.

Threatening refers to oral or written threats or physical gestures that communicate intent to abuse or commit violence.

In making its decision to terminate the lease, the PHA will consider alternatives as described in Section 13-III.D and other factors described in Section 13-III.E. Upon consideration of such alternatives and factors, the PHA may, on a case-by-case basis, choose not to terminate the lease.

Family Absence from Unit [24 CFR 982.551(i)]

It is reasonable that the family may be absent from the public housing unit for brief periods. However, the PHA needs a policy on how long the family may be absent from the unit. Absence in this context means that no member of the family is residing in the unit.

PHA Policy

The family must supply any information or certification requested by the PHA to verify that the family is living in the unit, or relating to family absence from the unit, including any PHA-requested information or certification on the purposes of family absences. The family must cooperate with the PHA for this purpose.

The family must promptly notify the PHA when all family members will be absent from the unit for an extended period. An extended period is defined as any period greater than 30 calendar days. In such a case promptly means within 14 days of the start of the extended absence.

If a family is absent from the public housing unit for more than 180 consecutive days, and the family does not adequately verify that they are living in the unit, the PHA will terminate the lease for other good cause.

Abandonment. If the family appears to have vacated the unit without giving proper notice, the PHA will follow state and local landlord-tenant law pertaining to abandonment before taking possession of the unit. If necessary, the PHA will secure the unit immediately to prevent vandalism and other criminal activity.

Over-Income Families [24 CFR 960.261 and FR 11/26/04, p. 68786]

Subject to certain restrictions, HUD authorizes PHAs to evict or terminate the tenancies of families because they are over income. Unless required to do so by local law, the PHA may not evict or terminate the tenancy of a family solely because the family is over income if: (1) the family has a valid contract of participation in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, or (2) the family is currently receiving the earned income disallowance. This rule does not require PHAs to evict over-income residents, but rather gives PHAs the discretion to do so thereby making units available for applicants who are income-eligible.

PHA Policy

The PHA will not evict or terminate the tenancies of families solely because they are over income.

13-III.D. ALTERNATIVES TO TERMINATION OF TENANCY

Exclusion of Culpable Household Member [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(vii)(C)]

As an alternative to termination of the lease for criminal activity or alcohol abuse HUD provides that the PHA may consider exclusion of the culpable household member. Such an alternative can be used, by PHA policy, for any other reason where such a solution appears viable.

PHA Policy

The PHA will consider requiring the tenant to exclude a household member in order to continue to reside in the assisted unit, where that household member has participated in or been culpable for action or failure to act that warrants termination.

As a condition of the family’s continued occupancy, the head of household must certify that the culpable household member has vacated the unit and will not be permitted to visit or to stay as a guest in the assisted unit. The family must present evidence of the former household member’s current address upon PHA request.

Repayment of Family Debts

PHA Policy

If a family owes amounts to the PHA, as a condition of continued occupancy, the PHA will require the family to repay the full amount or to enter into a repayment agreement, within 30 days of receiving notice from the PHA of the amount owed. See Chapter 16 for policies on repayment agreements.

13-III.E. CRITERIA FOR DECIDING TO TERMINATE TENANCY

A PHA that has grounds to terminate a tenancy is not required to do so, except as explained in Part II of this chapter, and may consider all of the circumstances relevant to a particular case before making a decision.

Evidence [24 CFR 982.553(c)]

For criminal activity, HUD permits the PHA to terminate the lease if a preponderance of the evidence indicates that a household member has engaged in the activity, regardless of whether the household member has been arrested or convicted, and without satisfying the standard of proof used for a criminal conviction.

PHA Policy

The PHA will use the concept of the preponderance of the evidence as the standard for making all termination decisions.

Preponderance of the evidence is defined as evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. Preponderance of the evidence may not be determined by the number of witnesses, but by the greater weight of all evidence.

Consideration of Circumstances [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(vii)(B)]

Although it is required that certain lease provisions exist for criminal activity and alcohol abuse, HUD provides that the PHA may consider all circumstances relevant to a particular case in order to determine whether or not to terminate the lease.

Such relevant circumstances can also be considered when terminating the lease for any other reason.

PHA Policy

The PHA will consider the following factors before deciding whether to terminate the lease for any of the HUD required lease provisions or for any other reasons:

The seriousness of the offending action, especially with respect to how it would affect other residents
The extent of participation or culpability of the leaseholder, or other household members, in the offending action, including whether the culpable member is a minor or a person with disabilities
The effects that the eviction will have on other family members who were not involved in the action or failure to act
The effect on the community of the termination, or of the PHA’s failure to terminate the tenancy
The effect of the PHA’s decision on the integrity of the public housing program
The demand for housing by eligible families who will adhere to lease responsibilities
The extent to which the leaseholder has shown personal responsibility and whether they have taken all reasonable steps to prevent or mitigate the offending action
The length of time since the violation occurred, the family’s recent history, and the likelihood of favorable conduct in the future

In the case of program abuse, the dollar amount of the underpaid rent and whether or not a false certification was signed by the family.

Consideration of Rehabilitation [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(vii)(D)]

HUD authorizes PHAs to take into consideration whether a household member who had used illegal drugs or abused alcohol and is no longer engaging in such use or abuse is participating in or has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.

PHA Policy

In determining whether to terminate the lease for illegal drug use or a pattern of illegal drug use, or for abuse or a pattern of abuse of alcohol, by a household member who is no longer engaging in such use or abuse, the PHA will consider whether such household member is participating in or has successfully completed a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, or has otherwise been rehabilitated successfully.

For this purpose the PHA will require the tenant to submit evidence of the household member’s current participation in, or successful completion of, a supervised drug or alcohol rehabilitation program or evidence of otherwise having been rehabilitated successfully.

Reasonable Accommodation [24 CFR 966.7] 

If the family includes a person with disabilities, the PHA’s decision to terminate the family’s lease is subject to consideration of reasonable accommodation in accordance with 24 CFR Part 8.

PHA Policy

If a family indicates that the behavior of a family member with a disability is the reason for a proposed termination of lease, the PHA will determine whether the behavior is related to the disability. If so, upon the family’s request, the PHA will determine whether alternative measures are appropriate as a reasonable accommodation. The PHA will only consider accommodations that can reasonably be expected to address the behavior that is the basis of the proposed lease termination. See Chapter 2 for a discussion of reasonable accommodation.

Nondiscrimination Limitation [24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(vii)(F)]

The PHA’s eviction actions must be consistent with fair housing and equal opportunity provisions of 24 CFR 5.105.

PART IV: NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, EVICTION PROCEDURES AND RECORD KEEPING

13-IV.A. OVERVIEW

HUD regulations specify the requirements for the notice that must be provided prior to lease termination. This part discusses those requirements and the specific requirements that precede and follow termination for certain criminal activities which are addressed in the regulations.  This part also discusses specific requirements pertaining to the actual eviction of families and record keeping.

13-IV.B. CONDUCTING CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS [24 CFR 5.903(e)(ii) and 24 CFR 960.259]

HUD authorizes PHAs to conduct criminal records checks on public housing residents for lease enforcement and eviction. PHA policy determines when the PHA will conduct such checks.

PHA Policy

The PHA will conduct criminal records checks when it has come to the attention of the PHA, either from local law enforcement or by other means, that an individual has engaged in the destruction of property, engaged in violent activity against another person, or has interfered with the right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises of other residents.  Such checks will also include sex offender registration information. In order to obtain such information, all adult household members must sign consent forms for release of criminal conviction and sex offender registration records on an annual basis.

The PHA may not pass along to the tenant the costs of a criminal records check.

13-IV.C. DISCLOSURE OF CRIMINAL RECORDS TO FAMILY [24 CFR 5.903(f), 24 CFR 5.905(d) and 24 CFR 966.4(l)(5)(iv)]

In conducting criminal records checks, if the PHA uses the authority of 24 CFR 5.903 and 5.905 to obtain such information, certain protections must be afforded the tenant before any adverse action is taken. In such cases if the PHA obtains criminal records information from a state or local agency showing that a household member has been convicted of a crime, or is subject to a sex offender registration requirement, relevant to lease enforcement or eviction, the PHA must notify the household of the proposed action and must provide the subject of the record and the tenant a copy of such information, and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information before an eviction or lease enforcement action is taken.

PHA Policy

In all cases where criminal record or sex offender registration information would result in lease enforcement or eviction, the PHA will notify the household in writing of the proposed adverse action and will provide the subject of the record and the tenant a copy of such information, and an opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information before an eviction or lease enforcement action is taken.

The family will be given 10 days from the date of the PHA notice, to dispute the accuracy and relevance of the information. If the family does not contact the PHA to dispute the information within that 10 day period, the PHA will proceed with the termination action.

Should the tenant not exercise their right to dispute prior to any adverse action, the tenant still has the right to dispute in the grievance hearing or court trial.

13-IV.D. LEASE TERMINATION NOTICE [24 CFR 966.4(l)(3)]

Form, Delivery, and Content of the Notice

Notices of lease termination must be in writing. The notice must state the specific grounds for termination, the date the termination will take place, the resident’s right to reply to the termination notice, and their right to examine PHA documents directly relevant to the termination or eviction. If the PHA does not make the documents available for examination upon request by the tenant, the PHA may not proceed with the eviction [24 CFR 996.4(m)].

When the PHA is required to offer the resident an opportunity for a grievance hearing, the notice must also inform the resident of their right to request a hearing in accordance with the PHA’s grievance procedure. In these cases, the tenancy shall not terminate until the time for the tenant to request a grievance hearing has expired and the grievance procedure has been completed.

When the PHA is not required to offer the resident an opportunity for a grievance hearing because HUD has made a due process determination and the lease termination is for criminal activity that threatens health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment or for drug-related criminal activity, the notice of lease termination must state that the tenant is not entitled to a grievance hearing on the termination. It must specify the judicial eviction procedure to be used by the PHA for eviction of the tenant, and state that HUD has determined that the eviction procedure provides the opportunity for a hearing in court that contains the basic elements of due process as defined in HUD regulations. The notice must also state whether the eviction is for a criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises of other residents or employees of the PHA, or for a drug-related criminal activity on or off the premises.

PHA Policy

The PHA will attempt to deliver notices of lease termination directly to the tenant or an adult member of the household. If such attempt fails, the notice will be sent by first class mail the same day.

Timing of the Notice [24 CFR 966.4(l)(3)(i)]

The PHA must give written notice of lease termination of:

·        14 calendar days in the case of failure to pay rent

·        A reasonable period of time considering the seriousness of the situation (but not to exceed 30 calendar days)

If the health or safety of other residents, PHA employees, or persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the premises is threatened

If any member of the household has engaged in any drug-related criminal activity or violent criminal activity

If any member of the household has been convicted of a felony

·        30 calendar days in any other case, except that if a state or local law allows a shorter notice period, such shorter period shall apply

PHA Policy

      Immediate termination in the case of illegal drug activity, alcohol abuse, or threats to health and/or safety of Authority staff or other Tenants.

*The Authority excludes from the Grievance Procedure any grievance concerning an eviction or termination of  tenancy which involves non-payment of rent AND any activity that threatens the health or safety of other  tenants or employees of the PHA; possession, sale, or use of illegal drugs on or off Authority property; alcohol abuse that the housing authority determines interfers with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants.

If the Tenant does not request a Grievance Hearing, the Tenant is still entitled to any notices required by the State of West Virginia Landlord Tenant Statues.                   

            14 days in the case of failure to pay rent;

            30 days in any other case.

The Notice to Vacate that may be required under state or local law may be combined with or run concurrently with the notice of lease termination.

Notice of Nonrenewal Due to Community Service Noncompliance [24 CFR 966.4(l)(2)(ii)(D), 24 CFR 960.603(b) and 24 CFR 960.607(b)]

When the PHA finds that a family is in noncompliance with the community service requirement, the tenant and any other noncompliant resident must be notified in writing of this determination. Notices of noncompliance will be issued in accordance with the requirements and policies in Section 11-I.E.

PHA Policy

If the PHA finds a family member to be non-compliant, the PHA will issue a Notice of Intent to Terminate the Lease and the non-compliant member and the Head of Household must enter into an agreement to make up the deficient hours over the next thirty (30) days. If the family member still is not compliant, the PHA is not permitted to renew the lease and the entire family will have to vacate, unless the non-compliant member agrees to move out of the unit.

Notice of Termination Based on Citizenship Status [24 CFR 5.514 (c) and (d)]

In cases where termination of tenancy is based on citizenship status, HUD requires the notice of termination to contain additional information. In addition to advising the family of the reasons their assistance is being terminated, the notice must also advise the family of any of the following that apply: the family’s eligibility for proration of assistance, the criteria and procedures for obtaining relief under the provisions for preservation of families, the family’s right to request an appeal to the USCIS of the results of secondary verification of immigration status and to submit additional documentation or a written explanation in support of the appeal, and the family’s right to request an informal hearing with the PHA either upon completion of the USCIS appeal or in lieu of the USCIS appeal. Please see Chapter 14 for the PHA’s informal hearing procedures.

13-IV.E. EVICTION [24 CFR 966.4(l)(4) and 966.4(m)]

Eviction notice means a notice to vacate, or a complaint or other initial pleading used under state or local law to commence an eviction action. The PHA may only evict the tenant from the unit by instituting a court action, unless the law of the jurisdiction permits eviction by administrative action, after a due process administrative hearing, and without a court determination of the rights and liabilities of the parties.

PHA Policy

When a family does not vacate the unit after receipt of a termination notice, by the deadline given in the notice, the PHA will follow state and local landlord-tenant law in filing an eviction action with the local court that has jurisdiction in such cases.

If the eviction action is finalized in court and the family remains in occupancy beyond the deadline to vacate given by the court, the PHA will seek the assistance of the court to remove the family from the premises as per state and local law.

The PHA may not proceed with an eviction action if the PHA has not made available the documents to be used in the case against the family, and has not afforded the family the opportunity to examine and copy such documents in accordance with the provisions of 24 CFR 966.4(l)(3) and (m).

13-IV.F. NOTIFICATION TO POST OFFICE [24CFR 966.4(l)(5)(iii)(B)]

When the PHA evicts an individual or family for criminal activity, including drug-related criminal activity, the PHA must notify the local post office serving the dwelling unit that the individual or family is no longer residing in the unit.

13-IV.G. RECORD KEEPING

For more information concerning general record keeping, see Chapter 16.

PHA Policy

A written record of every termination and/or eviction will be maintained by the PHA at the development where the family was residing, and will contain the following information:

Name of resident, number and identification of unit occupied

Date of the notice of lease termination and any other notices required by state or local law; these notices may be on the same form and will run concurrently

Specific reason(s) for the notices, citing the lease section or provision that was violated,  and other facts pertinent to the issuing of the notices described in detail (other than any criminal history reports obtained solely through the authorization provided in 24 CFR 5.903 and 5.905)

Date and method of notifying the resident

Chapter 14

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS

INTRODUCTION

This chapter discusses grievances and appeals pertaining to PHA actions or failures to act that adversely affect public housing applicants or residents. The policies are discussed in the following three parts:

Part I: Informal Hearings for Public Housing Applicants. This part outlines the requirements and procedures for informal hearings for public housing applicants.

Part II: Informal Hearings with Regard to Noncitizens. This part discusses informal hearings regarding citizenship status and where they differ from the requirements for general applicant and tenant grievances.

Part III: Grievance Procedures for Public Housing Residents. This part outlines the requirements and procedures for handling grievances for public housing residents.

Note that this chapter is not the PHA’s grievance procedure. The grievance procedure is a document separate from the ACOP. This chapter of the ACOP provides the policies that drive the grievance procedure.

PART I: INFORMAL HEARINGS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING APPLICANTS

14-I.A. OVERVIEW

When the PHA makes a decision that has a negative impact on an applicant family, the family is often entitled to appeal the decision. For applicants, the appeal takes the form of an informal hearing. HUD regulations do not provide a structure for or requirements regarding informal hearings for applicants (except with regard to citizenship status, to be covered in Part II). This part discusses the PHA policies necessary to respond to applicant appeals through the informal hearing process.

14-I.B. INFORMAL HEARING PROCESS [24 CFR 960.208(a) and PH Occ GB, p. 58]

Informal hearings are provided for public housing applicants. An applicant is someone who has applied for admission to the public housing program, but is not yet a tenant in the program. Informal hearings are intended to provide a means for an applicant to dispute a determination of ineligibility for admission to a project [24 CFR 960.208(a)]. Applicants to public housing are not entitled to the same hearing process afforded tenants in the PHA grievance procedure [24 CFR 966.53(a) and PH Occ GB, p. 58].

Informal hearings provide the applicant a means to hear the details of the reasons for rejection, and an opportunity to present evidence to the contrary if available, and to claim mitigating circumstances if possible.

 
 
Use of Informal Hearing Process

While the PHA must offer the opportunity of an informal hearing to applicants who have been determined as ineligible for admission, the PHA could make the informal hearing process available to applicants who wish to dispute other PHA actions that adversely affect them.

Notice of Denial [24 CFR 960.208(a)]

The PHA must give an applicant prompt notice of a decision denying eligibility for admission. The notice must contain a brief statement of the reasons for the PHA decision, and must also state that the applicant may request an informal hearing to dispute the decision. The notice must describe how to obtain the informal hearing.

Prior to notification of denial based on information obtained from criminal or sex offender registration records, the family, in some cases, must be given the opportunity to dispute the information in those records which would be the basis of the denial. See Section 3-III.F. for details concerning this requirement.

Scheduling an Informal Hearing

PHA Policy

Any grievance must be personally presented in writing to the Authority’s Management Office, 1901 Cameron Avenue, Parkersburg, West Virginia, 26101, within ten (10) calendar days after the occurrence giving rise to the grievance, so that the grievance may be discussed informally and an attempt be made to settle the grievance without a hearing.

The PHA must schedule and send written notice of the informal hearing within 5 days of the family’s request.

Conducting an Informal Hearing [PH Occ GB, p. 58] 

PHA Policy

The informal hearing will be conducted by a person other than the one who made the decision under review, or a subordinate of this person.

The applicant will be provided an opportunity to present written or oral objections to the decision of the PHA.

The person conducting the informal hearing will make a recommendation to the PHA, but the PHA is responsible for making the final decision as to whether admission should be granted or denied.

Informal Hearing Decision [PH Occ GB, p. 58]

PHA Policy

The PHA will notify the applicant of the PHA’s final decision, including a brief statement of the reasons for the final decision.

In rendering a decision, the PHA will evaluate the following matters:

Whether or not the grounds for denial were stated factually in the notice

The validity of grounds for denial of admission. If the grounds for denial are not specified in the regulations or in PHA policy, then the decision to deny assistance will be overturned.

The validity of the evidence. The PHA will evaluate whether the facts presented prove the grounds for denial of admission. If the facts prove that there are grounds for denial, and the denial is required by HUD, the PHA will uphold the decision to deny admission.

If the facts prove the grounds for denial, and the denial is discretionary, the PHA will consider the recommendation of the person conducting the informal hearing in making the final decision whether to deny admission.

The PHA will notify the applicant of the final decision, including a statement explaining the reason(s) for the decision. The notice will be mailed, with return receipt requested, within 5 days of the informal hearing, to the applicant and his or her representative, if any.

If the family fails to appear for their informal hearing, the denial of admission will stand and the family will be so notified.

Reasonable Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities [24 CFR 966.7]

Persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations to participate in the informal hearing process and the PHA must consider such accommodations. The PHA must also consider reasonable accommodation requests pertaining to the reasons for denial if related to the person’s disability. See Chapter 2 for more detail pertaining to reasonable accommodation requests.

PART II: INFORMAL HEARINGS WITH REGARD TO NONCITIZENS

14-II.A. HEARING AND APPEAL PROVISIONS FOR NONCITIZENS [24 CFR 5.514]

Denial or termination of assistance based on immigration status is subject to special hearing and notice rules. These special hearings are referred to in the regulations as informal hearings, but the requirements for such hearings are different from the informal hearings used to deny applicants for reasons other than immigration status.

Assistance to a family may not be delayed, denied, or terminated on the basis of immigration status at any time prior to a decision under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) appeal process. Assistance to a family may not be terminated or denied while the PHA hearing is pending, but assistance to an applicant may be delayed pending the completion of the informal hearing.

A decision against a family member, issued in accordance with the USCIS appeal process or the PHA informal hearing process, does not preclude the family from exercising the right, that may otherwise be available, to seek redress directly through judicial procedures.

Notice of Denial or Termination of Assistance [24 CFR 5.514(d)]

As discussed in Chapters 3 and 13, the notice of denial or termination of assistance for noncitizens must advise the family of any of the following that apply:

·        That financial assistance will be denied or terminated, and provide a brief explanation of the reasons for the proposed denial or termination of assistance.

·        The family may be eligible for proration of assistance.

·        In the case of a tenant, the criteria and procedures for obtaining relief under the provisions for preservation of families [24 CFR 5.514 and 5.518].

·        That the family has a right to request an appeal to the USCIS of the results of secondary verification of immigration status and to submit additional documentation or explanation in support of the appeal.

·        That the family has a right to request an informal hearing with the PHA either upon completion of the USCIS appeal or in lieu of the USCIS appeal.

·        For applicants, assistance may not be delayed until the conclusion of the USCIS appeal process, but assistance may be delayed during the period of the informal hearing process.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Appeal Process [24 CFR 5.514(e)]

When the PHA receives notification that the USCIS secondary verification failed to confirm eligible immigration status, the PHA must notify the family of the results of the USCIS verification. The family will have 30 days from the date of the notification to request an appeal of the USCIS results. The request for appeal must be made by the family in writing directly to the USCIS. The family must provide the PHA with a copy of the written request for appeal and proof of mailing.

PHA Policy

The PHA will notify the family in writing of the results of the USCIS secondary verification within 5 days of receiving the results.

The family must provide the PHA with a copy of the written request for appeal and proof of mailing within 5 days of sending the request to the USCIS.

The family must forward to the designated USCIS office any additional documentation or written explanation in support of the appeal. This material must include a copy of the USCIS document verification request (used to process the secondary request) or such other form specified by the USCIS, and a letter indicating that the family is requesting an appeal of the USCIS immigration status verification results.

The USCIS will notify the family, with a copy to the PHA, of its decision. When the USCIS notifies the PHA of the decision, the PHA must notify the family of its right to request an informal hearing.

PHA Policy

The PHA will send written notice to the family of its right to request an informal hearing within 5 days of receiving notice of the USCIS decision regarding the family’s immigration status.

Informal Hearing Procedures for Applicants [24 CFR 5.514(f)]

After notification of the USCIS decision on appeal, or in lieu of an appeal to the USCIS, an applicant family may request that the PHA provide a hearing. The request for a hearing must be made either within 30 days of receipt of the PHA notice of denial, or within 30 days of receipt of the USCIS appeal decision.

The informal hearing procedures for applicant families are described below.

Informal Hearing Officer

The PHA must provide an informal hearing before an impartial individual, other than a person who made or approved the decision under review, and other than a person who is a subordinate of the person who made or approved the decision.

Evidence

The family must be provided the opportunity to examine and copy at the family’s expense, at a reasonable time in advance of the hearing, any documents in the possession of the PHA pertaining to the family’s eligibility status, or in the possession of the USCIS (as permitted by USCIS requirements), including any records and regulations that may be relevant to the hearing.

The family must be provided the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in support of eligible status. Evidence may be considered without regard to admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings.

The family must also be provided the opportunity to refute evidence relied upon by the PHA, and to confront and cross-examine all witnesses on whose testimony or information the PHA relies.

Representation and Interpretive Services

The family is entitled to be represented by an attorney or other designee, at the family’s expense, and to have such person make statements on the family’s behalf.

The family is entitled to arrange for an interpreter to attend the hearing, at the expense of the family, or the PHA, as may be agreed upon by the two parties. If the family does not arrange for their own interpreter, the PHA is still obligated to provide oral translation services in accordance with its LEP Plan.

Hearing Decision

The PHA must provide the family with a written notice of the final decision, based solely on the facts presented at the hearing, within 14 calendar days of the date of the informal hearing. The notice must state the basis for the decision.

Retention of Documents [24 CFR 5.514(h)]

The PHA must retain for a minimum of 5 years the following documents that may have been submitted to the PHA by the family, or provided to the PHA as part of the USCIS appeal or the PHA informal hearing process:

·        The application for assistance

·        The form completed by the family for income reexamination

·        Photocopies of any original documents, including original USCIS documents

·        The signed verification consent form

·        The USCIS verification results

·        The request for a USCIS appeal

·        The final USCIS determination

·        The request for an informal hearing

·        The final informal hearing decision

Informal Hearing Procedures for Residents [24 CFR 5.514(f)]

After notification of the USCIS decision on appeal, or in lieu of an appeal to the USCIS, a resident family may request that the PHA provide a hearing. The request for a hearing must be made either within 30 days of receipt of the PHA notice of termination, or within 30 days of receipt of the USCIS appeal decision.

The informal hearing procedures for resident families whose tenancy is being terminated based on immigration status is the same as for any grievance under the grievance procedures for resident families found in Part III below.

PART III: GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS

14-III.A. REQUIREMENTS [24 CFR 966.52]

PHAs must have a grievance procedure in place through which residents of public housing are provided an opportunity to grieve any PHA action or failure to act involving the lease or PHA policies which adversely affect their rights, duties, welfare, or status.

The PHA grievance procedure must be included in, or incorporated by reference in, the lease.

The PHA must provide at least 30 days notice to tenants and resident organizations setting forth proposed changes in the PHA grievance procedure, and providing an opportunity to present written comments. Comments submitted must be considered by the PHA before adoption of any grievance procedure changes by the PHA.

PHA Policy

Residents and resident organizations will have 30 calendar days from the date they are notified by the PHA of any proposed changes in the PHA grievance procedure, to submit written comments to the PHA.

The PHA must furnish a copy of the grievance procedure to each tenant and to resident organizations.

14-III.B. DEFINITIONS [24 CFR 966.53; 24 CFR 966.51(a)(2)(i)]

There are several terms used by HUD with regard to public housing grievance procedures, which take on specific meanings different from their common usage. These terms are as follows:

·        Grievance – any dispute which a tenant may have with respect to PHA action or failure to act in accordance with the individual tenant’s lease or PHA regulations which adversely affect the individual tenant’s rights, duties, welfare or status

·        Complainant – any tenant whose grievance is presented to the PHA or at the project management office

·        Due Process Determination – a determination by HUD that law of the jurisdiction requires that the tenant must be given the opportunity for a hearing in court which provides the basic elements of due process before eviction from the dwelling unit

·        Elements of Due Process – an eviction action or a termination of tenancy in a state or local court in which the following procedural safeguards are required:

-        Adequate notice to the tenant of the grounds for terminating the tenancy and for eviction

-        Right of the tenant to be represented by counsel

-        Opportunity for the tenant to refute the evidence presented by the PHA including the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses and to present any affirmative legal or equitable defense which the tenant may have

-        A decision on the merits

·        Hearing Officer/Panel – a person/panel selected in accordance with HUD regulations to hear grievances and render a decision with respect thereto

·        Tenant – the adult person (or persons) (other than a live-in aide)

-        Who resides in the unit, and who executed the lease with the PHA as lessee of the dwelling unit, or, if no such person now resides in the unit,

-        Who resides in the unit, and who is the remaining head of household of the tenant family residing in the dwelling unit

·        Resident Organization – includes a resident management corporation

14-III.C. APPLICABILITY [24 CFR 966.51]

Potential grievances could address most aspects of a PHA’s operation. However, there are some situations for which the grievance procedure is not applicable.

The grievance procedure is applicable only to individual tenant issues relating to the PHA. It is not applicable to disputes between tenants not involving the PHA. Class grievances are not subject to the grievance procedure and the grievance procedure is not to be used as a forum for initiating or negotiating policy changes of the PHA.

If HUD has issued a due process determination, a PHA may exclude from the PHA grievance procedure any grievance concerning a termination of tenancy or eviction that involves:

·        Any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises of other residents or employees of the PHA

·        Any violent or drug-related criminal activity on or off such premises

·        Any criminal activity that resulted in felony conviction of a household member

In states without due process determinations, PHAs must grant opportunity for grievance hearings for all lease terminations, regardless of cause, but may use expedited grievance procedures, as described in Section 14-III.E. below, to deal with the first two of the above three categories of lease terminations.

If HUD has issued a due process determination, the PHA may evict through the state/local judicial eviction procedures. In this case, the PHA is not required to provide the opportunity for a hearing under the PHA’s grievance procedure as described above.


 

14-III.D. INFORMAL SETTLEMENT OF GRIEVANCE [24 CFR 966.54]

HUD regulations state that any grievance must be personally presented, either orally or in writing, to the PHA office or to the office of the project in which the complainant resides so that the grievance may be discussed informally and settled without a hearing.

PHA Policy

The PHA will accept requests for an informal settlement of a grievance in writing, to the PHA office within 10 days of the grievable event. Within 5 days of receipt of the request the PHA will arrange a meeting with the tenant at a mutually agreeable time and confirm such meeting in writing to the tenant.

If a tenant fails to attend the scheduled meeting without prior notice, the PHA will reschedule the appointment only if the tenant can show good cause for failing to appear, or if it is needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities.

Good cause is defined as an unavoidable conflict which seriously affects the health, safety or welfare of the family.

HUD regulations require that a summary of such discussion will be prepared within a reasonable time and one copy will be given to the tenant and one retained in the PHA’s tenant file.

The summary must specify the names of the participants, dates of meeting, the nature of the proposed disposition of the complaint and the specific reasons therefore, and will specify the procedures by which a hearing may be obtained if the complainant is not satisfied.

PHA Policy

The PHA will prepare a summary of the informal settlement within 5 business days; one copy to be given to the tenant and one copy to be retained in the PHA’s tenant file.

For PHAs who have the option to establish an expedited grievance procedure, and who exercise this option, the informal settlement of grievances is not applicable to those grievances for which the expedited grievance procedure applies.

14-III.E. PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN A HEARING [24 CFR 966.55]

Requests for Hearing and Failure to Request [24 CFR 966.55(a), (c), and (d)]

All grievances must be presented in accordance with the informal procedures prescribed above as a condition prior to a grievance hearing. However, if the complainant can show good cause for failure to proceed with the informal settlement process to the hearing officer/panel, the hearing officer/panel may waive this provision [24 CFR 966.55(d)].

The complainant must submit the request in writing for a grievance hearing within a reasonable time after receipt of the summary of informal discussion [24 CFR 966.55(a)]. The request must specify the reasons for the grievance and the action or relief sought.

PHA Policy

The resident must submit a written request for a grievance hearing to the PHA within 5 days of the tenant’s receipt of the summary of the informal settlement.

If the complainant does not request a hearing, the PHA’s disposition of the grievance under the informal settlement process will become final. However, failure to request a hearing does not constitute a waiver by the complainant of the right to contest the PHA’s action in disposing of the complaint in an appropriate judicial proceeding [24 CFR 966.55(c)].

Scheduling of Hearings [24 CFR 966.55(f)]

If the complainant has complied with all requirements for requesting a hearing as described above, a hearing must be scheduled by the hearing officer/panel promptly for a time and place reasonably convenient to both the complainant and the PHA. A written notification specifying the time, place and the procedures governing the hearing must be delivered to the complainant and the appropriate PHA official.

PHA Policy

Within 5 days of receiving a written request for a hearing, the hearing officer will schedule and send written notice of the hearing to both the complainant and the PHA.

The PHA may wish to permit the tenant to request to reschedule a hearing for good cause.

PHA Policy

The tenant may request to reschedule a hearing for good cause, or if it is needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities. Good cause is defined as an unavoidable conflict which seriously affects the health, safety, or welfare of the family. Requests to reschedule a hearing must be made orally or in writing prior to the hearing date. At its discretion, the PHA may request documentation of the “good cause” prior to rescheduling the hearing.

Expedited Grievance Procedure [24 CFR 966.55(g)]

The PHA may establish an expedited grievance procedure for any grievance concerning a termination of tenancy or eviction that involves:

·        Any criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents or employees of the PHA, or

·        Any drug-related criminal activity on or near such premises

In such expedited grievances, the informal settlement of grievances as discussed in 14-III.D is not applicable.

The PHA may adopt special procedures concerning expedited hearings, including provisions for expedited notice or scheduling, or provisions for expedited decision on the grievance.

14-III.F. SELECTION OF HEARING OFFICER/PANEL [24 CFR 966.55(b)]

The grievance hearing must be conducted by an impartial person or persons appointed by the PHA, other than the person who made or approved the PHA action under review, or a subordinate of such person.

PHA Policy

PHA grievance hearings will be conducted by a single hearing officer and not a panel. The PHA has designated the following to serve as hearing officers:

Any impartial PHA staff member or PHA resident that was not involved in the decision or in the occurrence giving rise to the grievance.  Both parties must be agree to the hearing officer.

The PHA must determine the methodology for appointment of the hearing officer and it must be stated in the grievance procedure.

The PHA must consult with the resident before a person is appointed as a hearing officer. Comments from the resident must be considered before making the appointment.

14-III.G. PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE HEARING [24 CFR 966.56]

Rights of Complainant [24 CFR 966.56(b)]

The complainant will be afforded a fair hearing. This includes:

·        The opportunity to examine before the grievance hearing any PHA documents, including records and regulations that are directly relevant to the hearing. The tenant must be allowed to copy any such document at the tenant’s expense. If the PHA does not make the document available for examination upon request by the complainant, the PHA may not rely on such document at the grievance hearing.

PHA Policy

The tenant will be allowed to copy any documents related to the hearing at a cost of $.10 per page. The family must request discovery of PHA documents no later than 12:00 p.m. on the business day prior to the hearing.

·        The right to be represented by counsel or other person chosen as the tenant’s representative and to have such person make statements on the tenant’s behalf.

PHA Policy

Hearings may be attended by the following applicable persons:

A PHA representative(s) and any witnesses for the PHA

The tenant and any witnesses for the tenant

The tenant’s counsel or other representative

Any other person approved by the PHA as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability

·        The right to a private hearing unless the complainant requests a public hearing.

·        The right to present evidence and arguments in support of the tenant’s complaint, to controvert evidence relied on by the PHA or project management, and to confront and cross-examine all witnesses upon whose testimony or information the PHA or project management relies.

·        A decision based solely and exclusively upon the facts presented at the hearing.

 

 

 

Decision without Hearing [24 CFR 966.56(c)]

The hearing officer may render a decision without proceeding with the hearing if the hearing officer determines that the issue has been previously decided in another proceeding.

Failure to Appear [24 CFR 966.56(d)]

If the complainant or the PHA fails to appear at a scheduled hearing, the hearing officer/panel may make a determination to postpone the hearing for not to exceed five business days or may make a determination that the party has waived his/her right to a hearing. Both the complainant and the PHA must be notified of the determination by the hearing officer/panel: Provided, That a determination that the complainant has waived his/her right to a hearing will not constitute a waiver of any right the complainant may have to contest the PHA’s disposition of the grievance in an appropriate judicial proceeding.

There may be times when a complainant does not appear due to unforeseen circumstances which are out of their control and are no fault of their own.

PHA Policy

If the tenant fails to appear and was unable to reschedule the hearing in advance, the tenant must contact the PHA within 24 hours of the scheduled hearing date, excluding weekends and holidays. The hearing officer will reschedule the hearing only if the tenant can show good cause for the failure to appear, or it is needed as a reasonable accommodation for a person with disabilities.

“Good cause” is defined as an unavoidable conflict which seriously affects the health, safety, or welfare of the family.

General Procedures [24 CFR 966.56(e), (f), and (g)]

At the hearing, the complainant must first make a showing of an entitlement to the relief sought and thereafter the PHA must sustain the burden of justifying the PHA action or failure to act against which the complaint is directed [24 CFR 966.56(e)].

The hearing must be conducted informally by the hearing officer/panel. The PHA and the tenant must be given the opportunity to present oral or documentary evidence pertinent to the facts and issues raised by the complaint and question any witnesses. In general, all evidence is admissible and may be considered without regard to admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings [24 CFR 966.56(f)].

PHA Policy

Any evidence to be considered by the hearing officer must be presented at the time of the hearing. There are four categories of evidence.

Oral evidence: the testimony of witnesses

Documentary evidence: a writing which is relevant to the case, for example, a letter written to the PHA. Writings include all forms of recorded communication or representation, including letters, emails, words, pictures, sounds, videotapes or symbols or combinations thereof.

Demonstrative evidence: Evidence created specifically for the hearing and presented as an illustrative aid to assist the hearing officer, such as a model, a chart or other diagram.

Real evidence: A tangible item relating directly to the case.

Hearsay Evidence is evidence of a statement that was made other than by a witness while testifying at the hearing and that is offered to prove the truth of the matter. Even though evidence, including hearsay, is generally admissible, hearsay evidence alone cannot be used as the sole basis for the hearing officer’s decision.

If the PHA fails to comply with the discovery requirements (providing the tenant with the opportunity to examine PHA documents prior to the grievance hearing), the hearing officer will refuse to admit such evidence.

Other than the failure of the PHA to comply with discovery requirements, the hearing officer has the authority to overrule any objections to evidence.

The hearing officer/panel must require the PHA, the complainant, counsel and other participants or spectators to conduct themselves in an orderly fashion. Failure to comply with the directions of the hearing officer/panel to obtain order may result in exclusion from the proceedings or in a decision adverse to the interests of the disorderly party and granting or denial of the relief sought, as appropriate [24 CFR 966.56(f)].

The complainant or the PHA may arrange, in advance and at the expense of the party making the arrangement, for a transcript of the hearing. Any interested party may purchase a copy of such transcript [24 CFR 966.56(g)].

Accommodations of Persons with Disabilities [24 CFR 966.56(h)]

The PHA must provide reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities to participate in the hearing. Reasonable accommodation may include qualified sign language interpreters, readers, accessible locations, or attendants.

If the tenant is visually impaired, any notice to the tenant which is required in the grievance process must be in an accessible format.

See Chapter 2 for a thorough discussion of the PHA’s responsibilities pertaining to reasonable accommodation.

14-III.H. DECISION OF THE HEARING OFFICER/PANEL [24 CFR 966.57]

The hearing officer/panel must issue a written decision, stating the reasons for the decision, within a reasonable time after the hearing. Factual determinations relating to the individual circumstances of the family must be based on a preponderance of evidence presented at the hearing. A copy of the decision must be sent to the tenant and the PHA. The PHA must retain a copy of the decision in the tenant’s folder. A copy of the decision, with all names and identifying references deleted, must also be maintained on file by the PHA and made available for inspection by a prospective complainant, his/her representative, or the hearing officer/panel [24 CFR 966.57(a)].

 

 

PHA Policy

In rendering a decision, the hearing officer will consider the following matters:

PHA Notice to the Family: The hearing officer will determine if the reasons for the PHA’s decision are factually stated in the notice.

Discovery: The hearing officer will determine if the family was given the opportunity to examine any relevant documents in accordance with PHA policy.

PHA Evidence to Support the PHA Decision: The evidence consists of the facts presented. Evidence is not conclusion and it is not argument. The hearing officer will evaluate the facts to determine if they support the PHA’s conclusion.

Validity of Grounds for Termination of Tenancy (when applicable): The hearing officer will determine if the termination of tenancy is for one of the grounds specified in the HUD regulations and PHA policies. If the grounds for termination are not specified in the regulations or in compliance with PHA policies, then the decision of the PHA will be overturned.

The hearing officer will issue a written decision to the family and the PHA no later than 5 days after the hearing. The report will contain the following information:

Hearing information:

Name of the complainant

Date, time and place of the hearing

Name of the hearing officer

Name of the PHA representative(s)

Name of family representative (if any)

Names of witnesses (if any)

Background: A brief, impartial statement of the reason for the hearing and the date(s) on which the informal settlement was held, who held it, and a summary of the results of the informal settlement. Also includes the date the complainant requested the grievance hearing.

Summary of the Evidence: The hearing officer will summarize the testimony of each witness and identify any documents that a witness produced in support of his/her testimony and that are admitted into evidence.

Findings of Fact: The hearing officer will include all findings of fact, based on a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence is defined as evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. Preponderance of the evidence may not be determined by the number of witnesses, but by the greater weight of all evidence.

Conclusions: The hearing officer will render a conclusion derived from the facts that were found to be true by a preponderance of the evidence. The conclusion will result in a determination of whether these facts uphold the PHA’s decision.

Order: The hearing report will include a statement of whether the PHA’s decision is upheld or overturned. If it is overturned, the hearing officer will instruct the PHA to change the decision in accordance with the hearing officer’s determination. In the case of termination of tenancy, the hearing officer will instruct the PHA to restore the family’s status.

Chapter 14

GRIEVANCES AND APPEALS

INTRODUCTION

This chapter discusses grievances and appeals pertaining to PHA actions or failures to act that adversely affect public housing applicants or residents. The policies are discussed in the following three parts:

Part I: Informal Hearings for Public Housing Applicants. This part outlines the requirements and procedures for informal hearings for public housing applicants.

Part II: Informal Hearings with Regard to Noncitizens. This part discusses informal hearings regarding citizenship status and where they differ from the requirements for general applicant and tenant grievances.

Part III: Grievance Procedures for Public Housing Residents. This part outlines the requirements and procedures for handling grievances for public housing residents.

Note that this chapter is not the PHA’s grievance procedure. The grievance procedure is a document separate from the ACOP. This chapter of the ACOP provides the policies that drive the grievance procedure.

PART I: INFORMAL HEARINGS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING APPLICANTS

14-I.A. OVERVIEW

When the PHA makes a decision that has a negative impact on an applicant family, the family is often entitled to appeal the decision. For applicants, the appeal takes the form of an informal hearing. HUD regulations do not provide a structure for or requirements regarding informal hearings for applicants (except with regard to citizenship status, to be covered in Part II). This part discusses the PHA policies necessary to respond to applicant appeals through the informal hearing process.

14-I.B. INFORMAL HEARING PROCESS [24 CFR 960.208(a) and PH Occ GB, p. 58]

Informal hearings are provided for public housing applicants. An applicant is someone who has applied for admission to the public housing program, but is not yet a tenant in the program. Informal hearings are intended to provide a means for an applicant to dispute a determination of ineligibility for admission to a project [24 CFR 960.208(a)]. Applicants to public housing are not entitled to the same hearing process afforded tenants in the PHA grievance procedure [24 CFR 966.53(a) and PH Occ GB, p. 58].