Frequently Asked Questions
(And Answers)

These FAQs are meant to answer general questions for consumers and industry stakeholders who are directly impacted by COVID-19.

Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF): “Immunization with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the United States’ strategy to reduce COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help put an end to the pandemic. Even as people get the vaccine, it will be important for everyone to continue to use all the tools available to help stop this pandemic, like covering their mouth and nose with a mask, washing their hands, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. You may direct residents to the resources above or CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage to learn more.”

HUD: “The CDC’s Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID- 19 Notice and Order (the Order) imposes a temporary halt in residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 between September 4, 2020 through January 31, 2021. The Order applies to all tenants, lessees, or residents of residential property in the country who are subject to eviction for nonpayment of rent and who sign and submit a declaration, as described in the Order, under penalty of perjury. Translated versions of the declaration are posted on HUD’s website, available here.

The Order only applies in states (including the District of Columbia), localities, territories, or tribal areas that do not have a moratorium on residential evictions in place that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the CDC’s Order. The Order does not apply in American Samoa, which has reported no cases of COVID-19, until such time as cases are reported. The Order applies to all PIH programs, including the: 

  • Public Housing program 
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program 
  • Moderate Rehabilitation program 
  • Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program 
  • Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program 
  • Indian Home Loan Guarantee (Section 184) program 
  • Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee (Section 184A) program 
  • Title VI Loan Guarantee program, the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) program 
  • All other programs administered by the Office of Native American Programs 

Under the Order, HUD-assisted residents must sign and submit a declaration to become a “covered person” and receive the Order’s protection. The signed declaration must be submitted to the owner of the residential property where they live or to another person who has a right to have them evicted or removed from where they live. A resident cannot be required to complete the declaration. However, without the declaration, residents are not protected from eviction under the Order. This means that until the declaration is signed and submitted to their Public Housing Agency (PHA), landlord, Tribe or Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE), the CDC eviction protection is not in place. 

 This Order is separate from the now expired eviction moratorium in Section 4024 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and any other eviction moratoriums afforded to federally insured or guaranteed loans. 

Under the Order, HUD-assisted residents must sign and submit a declaration to become a “covered person” and receive the Order’s protection. The signed declaration must be submitted to the owner of the residential property where they live or to another person who has a right to have them evicted or removed from where they live. A resident cannot be required to complete the declaration. However, without the declaration, residents are not protected from eviction under the Order. This means that until the declaration is signed and submitted to their Public Housing Agency (PHA), landlord, Tribe or Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE), the CDC eviction protection is not in place. 

This Order is separate from the now expired eviction moratorium in Section 4024 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and any other eviction moratoriums afforded to federally insured or guaranteed loans.” 

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “Maintenance requests are a good example of the practical problems posed by the virus. Since the virus began to spread, many housing providers have announced that they would only undertake “emergency” maintenance and repairs. Maintenance staff and, grudgingly, most residents accepted this solution to avoid contacts that could spread the virus. But exactly what constitutes an “emergency” varies widely, and some residents report that repairs to important fixtures –refrigerators, water heaters, ovens – have not been treated as “emergency” matters. As the weather warms, air conditioning needs also will become urgent. And housing providers do not want their residents to undertake DIY fixes that may present fire, flood, and electrical hazards. Over time, wider availability of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) for both repair crews and residents may make people more comfortable about permitting in-unit repairs to take place. If units are occupied, repair crews should plan to wear their own PPE – at a minimum, masks and gloves – and bring similar PPE for any occupants in the unit while the repairs are performed.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “Except in extraordinary cases, no: HUD guidance is that in most cases, persons who have tested positive can successfully isolate themselves in their unit until they recover. If a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 refuses to self-isolate, however, housing provider should consider taking additional action. Housing providers should check with their legal counsel to determine whether their lease form and applicable landlord/tenant law allows additional action against non- compliant tenants. While it does not expressly discuss grounds for eviction, the Fair Housing Act does not protect persons from discrimination claims who present a “direct threat” to the health or safety of others. Conceivably, someone who fails to comply with direction to self-isolate may present such a direct threat. But courts advise that each “direct threat” claims must be based on an “individualized assessment” of the specific facts of each case, including whether some action less than eviction may persuade the person who has tested positive to follow self-isolation guidance. In serious cases, it may be appropriate to seek advice from local public health or law enforcement officials.” 

National Association of REALTORS®: “If they have not done so already, housing providers should communicate frequently with 

residents, providing them with regular updates about the steps they are taking to maintain a healthy environment. Signs and posters should be placed around the property to encourage personal hygiene (wash your hands!) and other steps individual tenants can take to make themselves and the property safer. Examples are available on the CDC website (cdc.gov). 

If they have not done so already, housing providers should explain to residents that the COVID-19 virus is still spreading rapidly through the population and that they should assume that other people – including other residents at the property – may be carrying the virus and take appropriate precautions. Residents should be reminded that if everyone takes precautions to protect themselves from the virus, it will improve the health prospect of all residents.” 

FHA: Owners and agents are encouraged to follow the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for multifamily housing, any directions given by local health officials for emergency preparedness, and Chapter 38 of Handbook 4350.1, Emergency and Disaster Guidance. Another useful resource is the Capacity-Building Toolkit for including Aging & Disability Networks in Emergency Planning for Aging and Disabled communities from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Source | FHFA

MarketWatch: “Landlords are hurting right now, for sure. Many property owners have gone months, even half a year, without receiving full rental payments from their tenants. Without those funds, many are struggling to pay their mortgages, cover upkeep of their properties and handle taxes.

Rental industry experts have said as much as $100 billion in rental assistance is needed to aid tenants and landlords alike. 

It’s reasonable that some landlords would want to sell their properties to exit the business given the challenges they’re facing. 

But experts say that a landlord cannot evict a tenant to do so — nor is it even necessary.

Someone who purchases a property that’s occupied by the tenant takes over the landlord’s end of the existing lease agreement. “So unless the tenant has committed one of the enumerated lease violations, the purchaser would not have grounds to evict the tenant during the CDC order,” Dunn said.”

Source | MarketWatch

MarketWatch: “The original CDC order didn’t cover a host of possible scenarios, like ones where a traditional lease was not involved, such as month-to-month arrangements or situations where relatives live with family members rent-free. Unfortunately, the FAQ the CDC recently released didn’t clarify matters either.

The CDC’s moratorium did spell out certain scenarios where evictions can still proceed, such as in a case where a renter threatens their neighbors’ safety or damages property. Dunn argues that evictions shouldn’t be permitted except in those cases. Ultimately, though, the discretion on this matter lies with judges.

“Those are complicated scenarios and highly dependent on the particular facts and state law,” Dunn said.”

Source | MarketWatch

CDC: “CDC issued this Order because evictions threaten to increase the spread of COVID-19. During a pandemic, calling a temporary halt to evictions can be an effective public health measure to prevent the spread of disease. A temporary halt of evictions can help people who get sick or who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 protect themselves and others by staying in one place to quarantine. These orders also allow state and local authorities to more easily implement stay-at-home and social distancing measures to lessen the community spread of COVID-19. Housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood that people may move into close quarters in homeless shelters or other settings. These crowded places put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19. People who are homeless and not in a shelter also have increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “CDC issued this Order under the authority of section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. § 264) and federal regulations codified at 42 C.F.R. § 70.2. Under 42 U.S.C. § 264, the HHS Secretary is authorized to take measures to prevent the entry and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States and between U.S. states and U.S. territories. The authority for carrying out these functions has been delegated to the CDC Director. Under long-standing legal authority found at 42 C.F.R. § 70.2, the CDC Director can take public health measures to prevent the interstate spread of communicable diseases in the event of inadequate local control.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “The U.S. Department of Justice prosecutes violations of this Order.”

Source | CDC

CDC: “Anyone who falsely claims to be a covered person under this Order by attesting to any material information which they do not believe to be true may be subject to criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 1621 (perjury) or other applicable criminal law.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “Several laws ( 18 U.S.C. §§ 3559 and 3571, 42 U.S.C. § 271, and 42 C.F.R. § 70.18) say that a person who violates the Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $100,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation does not result in death. A person violating the Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $250,000 or one year in jail, or both, if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law. An organization violating the Order may be subject to a fine of no more than $200,000 per event if the violation does not result in a death or $500,000 per event if the violation results in a death or as otherwise provided by law. These are criminal penalties and are determined by a court of law. CDC has no involvement in these penalties.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “The Order does not preclude a landlord from challenging the truthfulness of a tenant’s declaration in any state or municipal court. The protections of the Order apply to the tenant until the court decides the issue as long as the Order remains in effect.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “Yes. The effective date of the CDC Order is September 4, 2020. That means that any evictions for nonpayment of rent that may have been initiated before September 4, 2020, and have yet to be completed, will be subject to the Order. Any tenant who qualifies as a “Covered Person” and is still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under the Order. Any eviction that occurred before September 4, 2020, is not subject to the Order.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “Covered persons located in jurisdictions in which this Order applies may not be evicted for non-payment of rent solely on the basis of the failure to pay rent or similar charges at any time during the effective period of the Order. You may continue to charge rent and accept partial payments from your tenant during this time. If local laws permit, you may also agree to a repayment schedule with your tenant for back rent payments that have accumulated during this time. Tenants retain all existing rights and protections against eviction under applicable state law.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “The Order applies only in states (including the District of Columbia), localities, territories, or tribal areas that do not have in place a moratorium on residential evictions that provides the same or greater level of public-health protection than the CDC’s Order. Relevant courts deciding these matters should make the decision about whether a state order or legislation provides the same or greater level of public health protection. The Order does not apply in American Samoa, which has reported no cases of COVID- 19. Should COVID-19 cases be reported in American Samoa, the Order would then be applicable to American Samoa. 

CDC is aware of the following websites for more information on state-by-state eviction moratoriums: 

CDC is providing these links for your awareness only. CDC has not evaluated and does not endorse these websites.”

 

Source | CDC

CDC: “The effective date of the CDC Order is September 4, 2020. That means that any evictions for nonpayment of rent that may have been initiated prior to September 4, 2020, but have yet to be completed, will be subject to the Order. Any tenant who qualifies as a “Covered Person” and is still present in a rental unit is entitled to protections under the Order. Any eviction that occurred prior to September 4, 2020 is not subject to the Order.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “Yes. CDC has issued a declaration form that is compliant with the Order. CDC recommends that eligible persons use this declaration form. The declaration form is available here.

Individuals are not obligated to use the CDC form. Any written document that an eligible individual presents to their landlord will comply with the Order, as long as it contains the same information as the CDC declaration form.

All declarations, regardless of the form used, must be signed, and must include a statement that the covered person understands that they could be liable for perjury for any false or misleading statements or omissions in the declaration. 

In addition, people are allowed to use a form translated into other languages. Even though declarations with other languages may satisfy the requirement that a covered person must submit a declaration, CDC cannot guarantee that they in fact do satisfy the requirement. However, declarations in languages other than English are compliant if they contain the information required to be in a declaration, are signed, and include a statement that the covered person understands that they could be liable for perjury for any false or misleading statements or omissions in the declaration. 

To seek the protections of the Order, each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete and sign a declaration and provide it to the landlord where they live. Individuals should not submit completed and signed declarations to the CDC or any other federal agency. In certain circumstances, such as individuals filing a joint tax return, it may be appropriate for one member of the residence to provide an executed declaration on behalf of other adult residents party to the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract at issue.” 

Source | CDC

CDC: “’Eviction’ means any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue eviction or a possessory action, to remove or cause the removal of a covered person from a residential property. State and local laws with respect to tenant-landlord relations vary, as do the eviction processes used to implement those laws. The judicial process will be carried out according to state and local laws and rules. Eviction does not include foreclosure on a home mortgage. 

As indicated in the Order, courts should take into account the Order’s instruction not to evict a covered person from rental properties where the Order applies. The Order is not intended to terminate or suspend the operations of any state or local court. Nor is it intended to prevent landlords from starting eviction proceedings, provided that the actual eviction of a covered person for non-payment of rent does NOT take place during the period of the Order. State and local courts may take judicial notice of the CDC Order, and the associated criminal penalties that may be imposed for non-compliance in making a formal judgment about any pending or future eviction action filed while this Order remains in effect.”

Source | CDC

HUD: “HUD posted the Extension of Period of Availability for CARES Act Supplemental Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Funds, Guidance on CARES Act Financial Reporting Requirements (FDS and Quarterly Reporting), and Other CARES Act Provisions PIH Notice on September 14, 2020. This Notice provides information on the following topics related to implementation of CARES Act (Public Law 116-136) and related Supplemental Public Housing Operating Funds, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Mainstream Administrative Fees, Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) funding, and Moderate Rehabilitation Program HAP funding. See PIH Notice 2020-24.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, those can be eligible expenses for preventing and responding to COVID-19, per PIH Notice 2020-07.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, the funds can be used for COVID-19 testing for public housing staff and residents participating in the public housing or Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs per PIH Notices 2020-07 and 2020-18.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “For the HCV Program, in the recently published PIH Notice 2020-18, HUD has expanded the use of CARES Act HCV Administrative Fees to include as an eligible use of these funds: 

Costs to facilitate and coordinate with local schools and local governments receiving funds from the U.S. Department of Education for the education of students in the program. 

Costs for the technological needs of program participants with school aged children being homeschooled as a result of the pandemic that are not and will not be provided through other Federal, state, or local governments. 

For the public housing program, as provided in PIH Notice 2020-07, the PHA can use federal funds authorized under the CARES Act to facilitate and coordinate with local schools and local governments receiving funds from the Department of Education for the education of students in public housing households including internet connection infrastructure and tablets or other low- cost computers for students.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “If a resident has zero income but did not report the decrease of income in a timely manner due to COVID-19, HUD strongly encourages PHAs to consider extenuating circumstances in their interim reexamination policy to allow for retroactive adjustments. This PHA policy may reduce the potential hardship on families and eliminate or significantly reduce the amount a family may owe for back rent. See FAQ OC16 for further detail. 

PHAs have discretion to establish local policies for repayment agreements (e.g., the term of the monthly payment amount and length of agreements), including instances where a resident’s income may become zero. When setting the monthly repayment amount, PIH Notice-2018-18 recommends that the monthly retroactive rent payment plus the amount of rent the tenant pays at the time the agreement is executed should be affordable and not exceed 40 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income. Per this Notice, the PHA has discretion to establish a different threshold in their policy. For example, if a family’s income decreased to zero income, the PHA would still execute a repayment agreement for both parties agreeing to the retroactive rent amount owed, but the PHA could (1) suspend the agreement for a set period of time, (2) schedule quarterly check-ins with the family to reevaluate circumstances, or (3) wait until the family reports an increase in income. The PHA could also execute a repayment agreement for an amount that does not exceed the PHA’s minimum rent or an amount that is determined affordable to the family per the 24 CFR Part 5. 

PHAs are reminded that the terms of the agreement may be renegotiated and the monthly payment amount for existing repayment agreements can be restructured if there are changes (decrease or increase) in the family’s income.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “As described in PIH Notice 2020-07, supplemental Operating Funds may be used to pay for regular operations of the public housing program. They can cover unexpected increases in operating costs or cover normal operating costs, whether or not there are unplanned reductions in revenues related to increased unemployment. 

For residents that experience a loss in income, the PHA is required to process requests for interim reexaminations commensurate with such lost income; therefore, PHAs should not have significant Tenant Accounts Receivable due to COVID-19. However, residents are still responsible for all rent charges. If residents still do not pay their rent, PHAs can set up repayment agreements to catch up on unpaid rent. The CARES Act eviction moratorium prohibited pursuing evictions or assessing fees for unpaid rent until July 24, 2020. 

Write-offs of tenant account receivables as bad debt is a separate issue. The allowance method is the prevailing method for writing off receivables pursuant to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Using the allowance method, as long as there is still a possibility that a receivable could be collected, it would remain on the Balance Sheet. PHAs would normally write off the receivable only when the tenant moved and was no longer reachable.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD is working on a CARES Act web portal that will be used for the required quarterly reporting to HUD based on Section 15011. Further guidance is in PIH Notice 2020-24. 

As described in PIH Notice 2020-07 and PIH Notice 2020-08 (later superseded by PIH Notice 2020-18), the CARES Act requires that recipients of $150,000 or more of CARES Act funding submit certain information regarding the use of CARES Act funds. Additional information is in PIH Notice 2020-24. 

This reporting is required for “covered recipients,” defined as any entity that receives covered funds that amount to more than $150,000. PHAs that receive CARES Act funds that amount to more than $150,000 will be subject to this additional reporting requirement based on the total amounts awarded, not each individual grant award. 

As outlined in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum, M-20-21, existing reporting requirements are anticipated to meet the requirements of Section 15011, but the content and format for this reporting is still under development and will need to be reviewed against current program practices. The Department will work in coordination with OMB to ensure that this requirement can be fulfilled by recipients of CARES Act funding in a manner that utilizes to the greatest extent possible existing reporting streams, providing the necessary transparency and accountability with minimal additional burden.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “While this software would help the PHA maintain social distance, which prevents transmission of COVID-19, it also improves the operational efficiency of the Public Housing and HCV management and operations. As such, it is a normal Operating Fund and HCV Administrative fee expense, and eligible for CARES Act funds. See PIH Notice 2020-07 for public housing and PIH Notice 2020-18 for HCV Administrative fees.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, as long as the funds are used by the applicable expiration dates. For public housing, funds must be expended by December 31, 2021 as described in PIH Notice 2020-24. For HCV Administrative fees, PIH Notice 2020-18 extends the period of availability for the CARES Act HCV Administrative fees through June 30 , 2021; and the CARES Act HAP funding for per unit cost (PUC) increases is likewise available through June 30 , 2021. The period of availability for supplemental HAP funding for shortfalls is December 31 , 2020, and for funds awarded for per unit cost increases is June 30 , 2021. This option is available for all PHAs, not just small PHAs. 

Source | HUD

HUD: “There is no requirement that PHAs target those who are directly affected by COVID-19. The funding is intended to support new Mainstream vouchers for eligible families— those that include a non-elderly person with a disability. PHAs will use their regular waiting list for these additional Mainstream vouchers just as PHAs do with their existing Mainstream vouchers. PHAs may add or modify preferences based on the needs in their community but it is not required. 

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs still need to use the waiting list to serve families in the Mainstream voucher program, however, PIH Notice 2020-13, REV-1 provides several waivers that would allow your agency to create a new preference and more easily open the waiting list to those that meet the preference criteria. 

Waiver HCV-1 allows PHAs to implement changes to their administrative plan without board approval, as long as the change can be revised on a temporary basis through September 30 ,2020 and formally adopted no later than December 31 , 2020. Waivers PH and HCV-7 allows PHAs to provide a limited public notice when opening the waiting list, requiring that PHAs update the voice message on their main phone line and announce the update on the PHA’s website. The PHA must ensure effective communication with persons with disabilities and meaningful access for persons with limited English proficiency. This waiver is available until December 31 , 2020. 

Under normal circumstances, PHAs are able to open the waiting list for those who meet certain criteria, such as shelter residents. In this case, the PHA could informally adopt a preference for shelter residents immediately and open the waiting list for those that meet the new preference criteria by announcing on the PHA’s voice message and website. Please review PIH Notice 2020-13, REV-1 if you are interested in adopting these waivers and alternative requirements.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD has not waived the requirement in 24 CFR 960.253 that says the family may not be offered a choice of rent more than once a year. However, 24 CFR 960.253(g)(1) states that a family paying “flat rent may at any time request a switch to payment of income-based rent (before the next annual option to select the type of rent) if the family is unable to pay flat rent because of financial hardship.” If the PHA determines that the family is unable to pay the flat rent because of financial hardship, the PHA must immediately allow the requested switch to income-based rent pursuant to 24 CFR 960.253(g)(2). 

If the family reports that their income increased after they switched to income-based rent, the PHA is not required to conduct a reexamination immediately to increase their rent. Pursuant to 24 CFR 960.257(a)(1), a PHA must conduct a reexamination of a family paying income-based rent at least annually. However, if a PHA ACOP requires a reexamination to occur immediately upon a family’s income increase and the PHA does not want to increase the rents for these families, a PHA could revise its policies to allow the family to stay at their current rent until the next annual reexamination.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Since this is not counted as part of the family’s adjusted income it would not be included in the calculation for these purposes. Under 24 CFR 982.305(a), the PHA may not give approval for the family of the assisted tenancy, or execute a HAP contract, until the PHA has determined that all listed program requirements have been met, including 982.305(a)(5), that the family share does not exceed 40 percent of the family’s monthly adjusted income.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs can restrict visitors from public housing properties and require that certain persons in common areas or the office wear cloth face coverings or their own masks. If a PHA plans to implement a reasonable visitor ban through amended PHA policies, HUD recommends it be done as part of a broader, publicly announced plan to respond to the COVID-19 National Emergency. PHAs should consider that residents will still need to receive essential services, such as food deliveries, medications, and direct service professionals (DSP) [e.g., personal care assistants (PCAs) or home health aides (HHAs)] responsible for caring for older adults and/or persons with disabilities. PHAs should also allow workers from the US Census to complete their surveys. Restrictions should track with CDC guidance and recommendations from state or local health officials. Regarding cloth face coverings, follow CDC guidance. Now that many cities and states have adopted mask policies, the policy should reference them. Once those policies are adopted, HUD regulations at 24 CFR 966.4(f)(4) requires tenants to abide by them as a condition of the lease. Under the HCV program, including PBVs, PHAs and owners should review the lease, state and local laws to determine the permissibility of banning visitors or requiring cloth face coverings in common areas.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “As described in PIH Notice 2020-13, REV-1 PHAs must post publicly or otherwise make available to the public a list of all waivers and alternative requirements the PHA chooses to apply in addition to notifying affected residents and owners of the impact of applicable waivers and alternative requirements. This posting could be on a website, the PHA’s social media page, or on a bulletin board in the PHA office.”

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “The order does not place any affirmative obligation on a housing provider.”

National Association of REALTORS®: “The order by the CDC is based under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, and is designed to “prevent the further spread of COVID-19.” Legal challenges are anticipated.”

New York Times: “Yes. An individual landlord could be subject to a fine up to $100,000 if no death (say from someone getting sick after eviction) results from the violation, or one year in jail, or both. If a death occurs, the fine rises to no more than $250,000. If it’s an organization in violation, the fines are $200,000 or $500,000.”

Source | New York Times

National Association of REALTORS®: “Yes, a landlord may refer tenants with overdue rent to a collection agency, being mindful that eviction still requires the 30-day notice with respect to rents that accrued prior to July 25th.”

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “The moratorium ended on July 25, 2020. At that point, a housing provider may initiate eviction proceedings. However, the CARES Act says that a housing provider cannot require a tenant to vacate a unit for 30 days after providing a notice to vacate a unit. So, if a housing provider gives a notice to vacate on July 25 (a Saturday), the earliest date a tenant can be evicted is Monday, August 24, 2020.”

 

 

HUD: “Capital Needs Assessments (CNAs) are a core part of the RAD review process, as they are used to establish a basis on which to estimate the property’s 20-year capital needs. As such, the Office of Recapitalization will follow FHA Production’s guidance on flexibility for CNAs.”

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “In most cases, no. Owners are under no federal requirements when it comes to counting unemployment assistance as income in connection with lease applications. In addition, the one-time $1200 check received by many taxpayers was a tax rebate or credit and should not be included in calculating a tenant’s income. If you are in a state or locality that has “source of income” provision in its discrimination laws, owners should check with legal counsel to determine how to treat unemployment compensation to avoid discrimination claims. 

If you participate in HUD-assisted housing, the amount of assistance a family receives may be affected by the amount of income they receive and so it is important to know how to count unemployment assistance. Recent HUD guidance says that different types of unemployment assistance is treated differently in calculating a family’s “annual income”: 

  • Regular payments of unemployment insurance are treated as annual income. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”, CARES Act §2102): this is unemployment assistance for individuals who are self-employed, seeking part time employment or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment assistance. HUD says PUA payments are included in annual income. 
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (“FPUC,” CARES Act §2104): This is the payment of $600 that supplemented regular unemployment compensation and that ended at the end of July 2020. HUD has determined FPUC payments are “temporary income” that is not included in annual income. 
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (“PEUC”, CARES Act §2017): This program provides up to a 13-week extension of unemployment compensation (from 26 weeks to a total of 39 weeks). HUD has determined that PEUC payments are included in annual income.” 

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Common law allows landlords to prohibit trespassers on their properties, but also gives tenants the right to invite guests. If a property owner wants to limit non-resident access to the property, there are several steps they can take. Landlords can require that all persons on the property (including contractors hired by tenants) must confirm they have no current COVID-19 symptoms and have not traveled to any place where the virus is prevalent. If possible, there should be some sort of check-in procedure. Posted signs should also say that visitors are subject to getting their temperature taken before being admitted. Landlords may also require that all deliveries be made to a central location (rather than throughout the property). Posting signs like that will discourage a lot of unwanted people from coming in. Staff should be familiar with the requirement and, to avoid subsequent claims of discrimination or other types of liability, should apply it uniformly. 

 

With respect to housing for older persons, the CDC has said for months that at “retirement communities” and “independent living facilities,” non-essential visitors should be limited (one visitor per day) and should be restricted to persons “who are essential to preserving health, including mental health, well-being and safety of residents.” 

 

With respect to federally-assisted housing, including Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 housing, to the extent that HUD’s new FAQs require changes in house rules to implement a mask requirement on tenants, that guidance also suggests that owners should consider changing house rules if they want to restrict visitors. The same requirements for 30 or60 day notice, referenced above, and HUD approval apply.” 

 

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Source Link: https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/4033.pdf

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Again, owners have latitude with respect to admitting outside persons onto their properties, which would include taking the temperature of visitors. Signs notifying visitors that they may be required to have their temperature taken should be posted at entrances to the property, and, as with other precautions, staff should be familiar with the requirement and apply it uniformly. 

However, as with other requirements for wearing masks and restricting visitors, HUD’s recent FAQs suggest that owners of Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 housing wishing to require visitors to submit to temperature testing should adopt applicable house rules, subject to the same 30- or 60- day notice and HUD approval requirements.” 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Just as a restaurant can adopt a “no shoes, no shirts, no service” rule, landlords generally can adopt rules restricting the use of their public and common use areas, including requiring tenants and visitors to wear masks. Owners’ decision to require masks in public places will be strengthened to the extent that state or local governments have adopted rules requiring masks in public places. 

The rules may be slightly different for federally assisted properties including Section 8, Section 202 and Section 811 properties. According to recent HUD guidance, owners of these properties can update their house rules to require face coverings, but must give existing renters at least 30-days’ notice of any such change (persons within the initial lease term must be given notice 60 days prior to the end of their lease terms). The changes must be approved by HUD and “must be within the bounds of common sense [and] not excessive or extreme.” The FAQs state that rules concerning face coverings “must be consistent with state and local law and directives from public health officials,” suggesting that approval is less likely in places that have not adopted requirements to wear masks in public.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Source Link: https://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/4033.pdf

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Social distancing remains the best method to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Managing social distancing will vary from property to property. The solutions will be different for a high-rise, elevator-serviced apartment in an urban setting from a garden-style property in a suburban location. But some common themes apply to everyone.

To the maximum extent possible, housing providers should continue to restrict access to common and public areas. The virus spreads through social contact, and common and public areas are the most likely place in your property for those contacts to take place. Until effective prevention or treatment is available, housing providers should continue to restrict access to common and public areas. Encourage your residents to use common and public areas like lobbies as briefly as possible and to treat them as places for transit only and not as places for socializing. Some owners have removed furniture from lobbies to discourage residents from lingering there. Social spaces, such as community rooms and game rooms, should stay closed. Continue to restrict deliveries and, where possible, visits from non-residents. 


That’s easier said than done. In response to resident requests and improving weather conditions, some owners are experimenting with methods to relieve restrictions on common and public area. This could include limiting the number of persons who can occupy a space, or assigning appointment times for use of picnic, playground and similar areas. The problem is “social creep” – once areas are opened, residents will want to use them, and it will be very difficult to enforce any remaining restrictions. 


If it is okay to have six people in a grill area, why not 8 or 10? In a lot of respects, a flat prohibition on use is a much easier policy to enforce than relaxed restrictions that rely on residents policing themselves.

Should all public and common areas be treated alike? Yes: In particular, housing providers need to be aware that facilities that are used frequently by children – for example, recreational areas, playgrounds, and tennis and basketball courts – must be treated like any other common/public areas. Otherwise, imposing additional restrictions on facilities predominantly used by children (compared to those areas used by adult residents) may lead to charges of violations of the prohibitions of the Fair Housing Act against discrimination based on familial status.”

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “The language of the CARES Act says that a housing provider may not, during the period of the eviction moratorium, “charge fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” So, during the eviction moratorium, housing providers cannot charge fees or penalties for nonpayment. Although not expressly forbidden by the CARES Act, it seems inconsistent with the operation of the statute for owners to charge fees retroactively at the end of the moratorium period that they were forbidden to charge during the moratorium itself. However, to the extent that the tenant owes accrued but unpaid rent at the end of the moratorium period, the CARES Act does not prohibit an owner from charging fees and penalties that accrue after the expiration of the moratorium period. Please remember there are two eviction moratoriums—a 120- day period starting March 27th (ending July 25th, plus at least another 30-day notice period) and up to a 90-day period (plus at least 30-day notice period) that tracks any mortgage forbearance pursuant to the CARES Act. These periods likely, if not entirely, may overlap. 

As a practical matter, courts are themselves reopening and will be swamped with caseload. If a housing provider intends to initiate foreclosures at the end of the moratorium, it may be desirable to keep its evictions as simple as possible, to avoid legal complications such as attempting to collect fees that accrued during the moratorium period. Anything that requires judicial consideration could delay an otherwise straight-forward eviction proceeding. The more complicated the eviction claim, the more likely that claim will be delayed.” 

National Association of REALTORS®: “In addition to providing a notice of nonpayment, many owners are asking tenants to execute a formal rent forbearance agreement. These documents constitute a contractual agreement between the housing provider and the tenant, identifying the amount of rent that is unpaid and providing terms for repayment in the future. If a tenant has a good rental history in the past, it may be desirable to work out terms for repayment after the moratorium, rather than go through the effort to evict a tenant now and try to re-rent the unit in a very uncertain market. From the tenant’s point of view, many are eager to enter into a forbearance agreement that establishes a mechanism to pay accrued rents to avoid having to pay all accrued but unpaid rent in a lump sum at the end of the moratorium period. A forbearance agreement clarifies what the tenant owes and when it will be paid, and provides remedies that the housing provider can exercise if the repayment terms are not met. Again, housing providers need to consult with legal counsel to make sure that the forbearance agreement complies with state and local landlord/tenant laws in general.” 

 

 

National Association of REALTORS®: “Yes, but with some caveats: the moratorium prohibits initiation of eviction proceedings but it does not prohibit an owner from sending the tenant a notice that the rental payment is late or incomplete. Among other things, if an owner wants to initiate collection or eviction proceedings after the moratorium ends, it is wise to have a copy of these notices on hand, making clear that the housing provider documented the nonpayment and provided information to the tenant. If you send such a notice, you should consult with your legal counsel about the wording. Among other things, the notice needs to indicate that it is not itself a notice of eviction and does not include charges or fees for late or nonpayment of rent, both of which are forbidden under the terms of the eviction moratorium.”

payments that became due during the 120-day eviction moratorium; many owners entered into repayment agreements with tenants during the moratorium, making clear the amount due and the terms for repayment. In the absence of such an agreement, the owner can now give a renter an eviction notice but is still subject to the 30-day notice requirement for any pre-July 25 rents. In addition, a property owner may seek relief other than eviction – such as suing for a money judgment.” 

 

HUD: “Owners and agents may amend their lease terms and/or house rules in accordance with state and local law and HUD requirements (see chapter 6 of HUD Handbook 4350.3 for guidance on lease amendments and house rules) and Notice H12-22. Section 6-9.B.1.a of the Handbook states that house rules should be “within the bounds of common sense, […and] not excessive or extreme.” Notice H 2012-22 states that owners and agents must notify existing tenants, who have completed their initial lease terms, of modifications to the House Rules 30 days prior to implementation. Tenants who have not yet completed their initial lease terms must be notified 60 days prior to the end of their lease terms. 

House rules pertaining to face coverings must be reasonable and consistent with state and local law and directives from public health officials. Changes to house rules may be sent to the local Multifamily Office or Performance-Based Contract Administrator (PBCA) for review. While neither HUD nor the PBCA approves house rules, they can advise if any rules violate HUD statutory, regulatory, or programmatic requirements. Failure to comply with face covering requirements may be treated as a lease violation only if house rules are reasonable and consistent with state and local law and directives, and if the house rules are identified in the lease as an attachment to the lease agreement.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “Following the instructions found in HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1, paragraph 7-10, B, tenants may request an interim recertification due to any changes in family income that may affect their Total Tenant Payment (TTP) or tenant rent and assistance payment occurring since the last income recertification. Following a recertification, owners/agents must then retroactively apply any reduction in rent starting with the first day of the month after the date of the action that caused the decrease in income. For example, if a tenant lost their job on March 4, 2020, then the owner/agent would reflect this change in income starting with the first day of the following month, which would be April 1, 2020. See the policy in HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1, paragraph 7-11 for further information on owner/agent responsibilities when a tenant reports a decrease in income.” 

 

 

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “There is no regulatory or statutory basis under the Section 8, 202, or 811 programs for an owner or agent to require tenants to take a health or medical test and disclose results as a condition of tenancy. If an owner or agent believes there is a basis in state or local law to require testing and disclosure, their counsel should provide the local HUD Multifamily Office with the legal authority. Owners and agents can encourage, but not require, tenants to get testing and disclose the results. However, tenant testing cannot be classified as a project expense.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “HUD understands that the in-person interview is essential during the application process and allows the owner to verify the identity of the applicant. State and local social distancing requirements may impact the ability to conduct an in-person interview. Owners and agents may choose to conduct the interviews remotely using available technology or appropriate social distancing barriers. Owners and agents may accept electronic signatures on owner-adopted verification forms in order to perform both owner-adopted and HUD-required screening criteria in accordance with Notice H 20-4. Owners and agents utilizing the provisions of this Notice must do so in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Under the CARES Act, owners are eligible for up to 90 days of forbearance. During this time, owners or agents cannot require a tenant to vacate, issue a notice to vacate (or evict), or charge tenants late fees or penalties due to late or missed rent payments while under forbearance. Additionally, Notice H 20-7 extends these prohibitions to any new, extended, or amended forbearance arrangements due to COVID so long as the borrower is under forbearance. The Notice also requires owners receiving extended forbearance to inform all residents of the prohibition against eviction solely for non-payment of rent. See ML 2020-09 and Notice H-20-7 for more information on these and other requirements related to forbearance.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “The Economic Impact Payment (which is technically an advance payment of a tax credit that may be claimed on a 2020 tax return) provided by the CARES Act is not to be included in calculations of tenant income.”

Source | HUD

Wall Street Journal: “As more hotels and national and state parks reopen across the country, road trip vacations are picking up speed. Only Florida currently has checkpoint[s], on Interstate 95, just south of the Georgia border, to screen travelers. Those visitors arriving from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are required to quarantine for 14-days. New Mexico has a checkpoint on US 64, leading in and out of Taos Pueblo, which is closed indefinitely to nonresidents. For other roadside travel restrictions, see AAA’s Covid-19 map at TripTik.AAA.com. And for more road trip guidance, including tips on how to safely get gas and food along your drive, read “Expert Advice for a Safe Road Trip.”

HUD: “PHAs may choose to resume HQS inspections at any time they believe it is safe and appropriate to do so. PHAs have the option of applying the waivers in PIH 2020-05, REV-1 related to HQS inspections until the period of availability expires (currently December 31, 2020). PHAs also have the option to perform remote video inspections (RVI) as detailed in the Remote Inspection section of this FAQ and HUD encourages PHAs to do so.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “A Remote Video Inspection (RVI) can be utilized to meet regulatory inspection requirements for the Housing Choice Voucher. As described in PIH Notice 2020-13, REV-1 PH-12, an RVI can be an option for PHA self-inspections. RVI is a regular HQS/public housing inspection performed remotely with a “proxy” inspector with the PHA HQS/PH inspector remotely directing the inspection. The Department will issue additional guidance for best practices that PHAs can follow. HUD envisions that, once the process is mature, this method can be used by PHAs into the future (not just through the COVID-19 response period).”

Source | HUD

HUD: “When residents are temporarily unable to pay their utility bill, many utility companies offer accommodations such as flexible repayment plans and/or no shut off policies. 

Residents and PHAs are encouraged to reach out to local utility companies to identify these accommodations. Recently, a number of state and local governments have passed ordinances prohibiting utility companies from shutting off utilities due to a resident’s inability to pay the utility bill. When researching no shut off policies, PHAs and residents should identify (1) if there is an expiration date for the no shut off policy, and (2) if there are conditions for customers to qualify for the no shut off policy such as contacting the utility company and/or making a minimum payment. 

When residents are not able to pay their utility bill and are able to work out a repayment plan with the utility company, they are encouraged to pay what they can now so that when they are able to pay their utility bill they are not overwhelmed with a large utility bill.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “In an effort to prevent evictions for non-payment of rent, the PHA could: (1) process a retroactive interim reexamination if the family had a decrease in income (see FAQ OC14 for additional information on retroactive interims), (2) encourage an owner to enter into a repayment agreement for the unpaid rent, and/or (3) use CARES Act Administrative fees to offer a retention incentive to owners who, as an alternative to filing the eviction, are willing to work with the family and/or PHA (for example, entering into a repayment agreement with the family, providing time for the PHA to update its interim reexamination policy or retroactive interim reexaminations, etc.). HUD strongly encourages owners enter into repayment agreements so that families may continue to be housed after the eviction moratorium expires, and the family can come back into compliance with the terms of their tenancy. 

On July 1, 2020, the Department provided PHAs with an “Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit,” which was built by innovative practices that many housing authorities are already taking and includes several specific PHA examples and best practices. We encourage PHAs to review the toolkit, as it includes relevant HUD guidance on repayment agreements, interim reexamination policies, hardship exemptions, example repayment agreements and a ready-to-use tenant flyer and an HCV landlord flyer.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: “For any unpaid rent during the moratorium, the family has the option to repay the PHA or owner the amount of unpaid rent due or sign a repayment agreement to pay any amount owed after the moratorium has ended. If the amount owed by the public housing resident is not repaid, the PHA is authorized to terminate the family’s assistance and proceed with a legal action to evict. See FAQ question EM16, 24 CFR 966.4(l)(2) and Section 16 of Notice PIH 2018-18. However, HUD strongly encourages PHAs enter into repayment agreements so that families may continue to be housed after the eviction moratorium expires, and the family can come back into compliance with the terms of their tenancy. PHAs should also review their state and local laws, as many state and local jurisdictions are also enacting their own moratorium on evictions that may last longer than the 120-day period of the CARES Act. 

On July 1, 2020, the Department provided PHAs with an “Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit,” which was built by innovative practices that many housing authorities are already taking and includes several specific PHA examples and best practices. We encourage PHAs to review the toolkit, as it includes relevant HUD guidance on repayment agreements, interim reexamination policies, hardship exemptions, example repayment agreements and a ready-to-use tenant flyer and an HCV landlord flyer.”

 

Source | HUD

National Association of REALTORS®: “Your mortgage may be covered by the moratorium on foreclosure, which applies to all federal mortgage (FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae), but hopefully it won’t get to that. You may also be eligible for mortgage forbearance. That means that your payments are frozen while under the forbearance period. You must contact your servicer to request forbearance, though. There are no fees and after the forbearance period you can request a modification to have the missed payments extended onto your payment term. NAR has worked with a coalition of organizations to lobby for security in all of the real estate waterfall. We are trying to ensure that when evictions are stopped for tenants, relief is provided for property owners.”

Multi Housing News: “Resident retention is always top of mind during spring leasing season. It’s almost always more profitable to keep a resident than to have to turn the apartment and close a new lease. So hopefully the excellent rapport that you’ve established with residents in the weeks leading up to, and during, the pandemic will positively impact resident retention. Interestingly, the coronavirus does not seem to have hindered new leasing activity as much as expected. Some operators actually saw a surge in leasing, with good results enabled by technology.

Leasing agents have been leading virtual walk throughs of communities and model units for remote prospects. On-site self-guided tours have also been offered and are expected to really take off as stay-at-home restrictions are removed. Using doors enabled with remote locking and unlocking technology, prospects are able to practice social distancing as they view the property and see the model without having to meet with a leasing associate. Other strategies include offering renewals at current rental rates or offering extensions on renewals upwards of three months, without charging any type of short-term fees. Care packages with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks and nonperishable food go a long way in generating goodwill, and make good tenants think twice about moving.”

 

Multi Housing News: “There will be many takeaways from this health crisis, but one of the most important from an operations standpoint is the necessity to have all residents on board with electronic rent payment. At the onset of the pandemic, with in-person interactions curtailed, it became clear that rent collection was one service that could potentially be disrupted. Communities that have historically welcomed residents stopping by the office with a check had to pivot quickly, reminding residents that there are other options. Right now, operators should continue reminding residents that there generally are no fees to pay by bank transfer, in case this is why they are hesitant to take advantage of online payments. And, if fees are involved, consider limiting or waiving them. There are even ways for renters who prefer to pay rent with cash to use electronic-pay systems.

Apartment companies that have been processing rent payments electronically through their existing online portals are happy they transitioned long ago. Owners are finding that online rent payers have been more likely to maintain rent payments during the crisis. It seems that even tech-phobic residents who are now exploring other options will likely emerge from the health crisis with a new appreciation for touchless rent pay. Online rent collection keeps everyone socially distanced, helps prevent the spread of germs and is also a huge time saver for property managers.”

 

Multi Housing News: “Every fulfilled rent payment helps keep properties afloat and property owners able to pay their mortgages. It’s important to communicate to renters who haven’t been financially impacted by the pandemic that they’re responsible for the rent in full. This is not a rent holiday—everyone has to do their part to help those around them. Thankfully, many apartment residents have kept their jobs during the pandemic, have been able to work from home and are paying rent on time. According to NMHC, 93 percent of renters had paid full or partial rent for June by the third week of June.

One way to ensure a continuation of this model behavior is through payment incentives. Residents who are able to pay their rent on time will want to keep doing so, especially if they’re recognized with an incentive such as a gift card for a local takeout business, a future discount or a special offer that can be redeemed once the pandemic is over. Online payment applications can also increase the degree to which tenants meet their obligations in a timely fashion.”

Ballard Spahr: “The CARES Act does not address tenant rent reductions.” 

Source | Ballard Spahr

Ballard Spahr: “The CARES Act does not address tenant rent increases.”

Source | Ballard Spahr

HUD: “For any unpaid rent after the moratorium has ended, the family can repay unpaid rent in a lump sum to avoid eviction. The PHA could also set up a repayment agreement, but that is at the discretion of the PHA. Currently, if the amount owed is not repaid either in a lump sum or is not in a repayment agreement after July 24, 2020, then the PHA would determine if there is a serious lease violation. If the PHA finds a serious lease violation, the PHA is authorized to terminate assistance and proceed with a legal eviction. See 24 CFR 966.4(l)(2). If the PHA decides to execute a repayment agreement with the household, see the repayment agreement guidance listed in Section 16 of Notice PIH 2018-18.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Per Section 4024(b)(2) of the CARES Act, fees in relation to nonpayment of rent cannot be charged. Therefore, if utilities are included in the lease agreement as part of rent, then fees for unpaid utilities cannot be charged and cannot accrue during the moratorium. Fees that have no relation to rent may be charged during the moratorium.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act, which provided new waiver authority described in PIH Notice 2020-05. With this flexibility, HUD strongly encourages PHAs to continue using available funding to house families, keep families in their homes, and conduct critical operations that can be done remotely and safely. Some critical functions for PHAs include, issuing vouchers so families can find housing, processing Requests for Tenancy Approvals (RFTAs) so families can be approved to move into a unit, processing requests for portability moves, ensuring occupancy of Public Housing units, processing minimum rent hardship exemptions, and completing reexaminations for participants who have experienced a decrease in income.

Through Notice 2020-05, the waivers and alternative requirements were effective immediately for those PHAs that elected to adopt them during the period of availability. There is no need to submit individual waiver requests to adopt the provisions included in PIH Notice 2020-05; however, PHAs are required to keep written documentation that record which waivers the PHA applied to their programs(s) and the effective dates.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Yes, if you filed with the court of jurisdiction, you can continue the action if the court is operating, subject to any local eviction moratorium requirements.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “This answer would depend on the language in the state or local law. For example, if the state has prohibited all evictions, then that more stringent requirement would apply to the PHA and HCV landlords in that state. If the state has ordered an eviction ban, there may also be a limit on court enforcement of evictions.

Source | HUD

HUD: “To provide relief for Multifamily property owners, HUD has extended the audited financial reporting deadlines until June 30, 2020. This waiver is limited to entities which are required to submit the referenced annual financial information on or before June 30, 2020. Consequently, entities required to submit financial information on or before June 30, 2020 are now required to submit their financial information no later than 180 days after the end of the fiscal year of the reporting period, and as otherwise provided by law.

This waiver is limited in scope and does not apply to the submission requirements for financial information that was delinquent as of March 23, 2020.”

 

Source | HUD

HUD: HUD will temporarily permit suspension of Residual Receipts Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) offsets, as outlined in H 2012 – 14 and 4350.1 Chapter 25, section 10, in certain circumstances. All Project Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs) may suspend offsets for Residual Receipts through December 31, 2020. Owners of properties receiving Section 8 HAP assistance payments must receive approval in advance to suspend offset payments. Asset Management Division Directors in the Multifamily Regional and Satellite Offices are authorized to suspend such offsets through December 31, 2020, for properties where COVID-19 expenses are anticipated to exceed available resources. After December 31, 2020, all properties must offset HAP vouchers for all Residual Receipts in excess of the minimum allowed retainable balance.

Source | HUD

HUD: “An owner or agent of a multifamily property covered by the CARES Act may only charge fees and penalties during the eviction moratorium if the charge is wholly unrelated to a tenant’s nonpayment of rent. However, during the eviction moratorium, the CARES Act prohibits an owner or agent from filing for possession of a unit for nonpayment of any rent, fee or charge. This holds true regardless of the date the fee or charge was initially assessed.

While the CARES Act is silent on what an owner or agent can charge after the eviction moratorium ends, HUD’s interpretation of this provision is that fees and charges that could not be assessed during the eviction moratorium should not accrue and should not be charged after the moratorium ends; however, rents not paid during the moratorium, as well as fees assessed prior to the eviction moratorium, which took effect on March 27, 2020, may be collected.”

 

Source | HUD

National Apartment Association: “While rent collection should continue in accordance with your lease agreement, we ask that you recognize that some residents have been or will be financially impacted by COVID- 19, and you may consider working with those residents on alternate payment schedules, considering waiving late fees and providing financial resources to residents where applicable. In addition, remember to check applicable emergency orders in your jurisdiction(s) that may direct further operations regarding rent collection. To prevent continued exposure, residents should be encouraged to pay rent online if this option is available at their community. If the leasing office is closed, or if an online payment option is not available, a drop box or other method for money collection should be available for residents. Employees should handle all money collection with disposable gloves and wash their hands accordingly.”

 

National Apartment Association: “For most employers, protecting workers necessitates emphasizing basic infection prevention measures. All employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices, including promoting frequent and thorough hand-washing, encouraging employees to stay home if they are sick and reinforcing respiratory etiquette, including properly covering coughs and sneezes. 

Maintaining regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment and the overall work environment should remain a priority. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for aggressive viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE). 

Additionally, employers should develop an “Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan” that includes a section on transitioning employees back into the workplace. The following guidance is offered to help your organization understand the most important factors of this plan to ensure an effective and safe transition back to the workplace for all employees.” 

 

HUD: “Until federal, state, or local public health officials counsel otherwise, owners and agents should follow published guidance covering apartment inspections. In this case, Paragraph 20 of the HUD Model Lease covers the rules governing the landlord’s access to a tenant’s apartment.” 

Source | HUD

HUD: “In accordance with the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, PHAs must conduct an examination of family income at least annually. PHAs may conduct limited annual reexaminations of income for families where the family’s income consists of 90% or more from fixed income sources, but the PHA would still have to perform a full examination in the initial year, and then every three years thereafter. During the second and third years after the initial income recertification, PHAs can adjust fixed sources of income based on the cost of living adjustment associated with that source of income. Also, the PHA must have policies in place on how they will adjust any non-fixed sources in the intervening years.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Allowing families to switch from flat rent to income-based rent should be covered in your agency’s hardship policy. If the PHA determines that the family is unable to pay the flat rent because of financial hardship, the PHA must immediately allow the requested switch to income-based rent (24 CFR 960.253(g)). HUD requires PHAs to adopt written policies for determining when payment of flat rent is a financial hardship for the family and will issue additional guidance to assist PHAs with this process.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “All Section 3 related questions should be sent to section3@hud.gov.  Issues related to SPEARS should be sent to 60002questions@hud.gov.  Please refrain from sending the same question to both mailboxes as they are managed by the same staff.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “No, the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements have not been waived. We encourage Section 3 covered recipients to take every precaution to remain safe during this difficult time and follow the directives of the CDC, WHO, and state and local guidelines. However, if Section 3 covered recipients are engaging in Section 3-related hiring or contracting during this time, the Section 3 covered recipients are still required to meet the Section 3compliance requirements outlined in 24 CFR 135. Section 3 residents and businesses are the most vulnerable at this difficult time, so we strongly encourage Section 3 covered recipients to make every possible effort “to the greatest extent feasible” to make employment and contracting opportunities.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs should follow all state and local health department guidance as well as the CDC’s COVID-19 communication resources in both print and digital form at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/index.html”

HUD: “Residents are not required to notify administrators if they have or may have a positive case of COVID-19. However, if you do receive information of a positive case, in coordination with local health officials, communicate the possible COVID-19 exposure to all residents and workers, volunteers, and visitors. This can be done by placing signage in common areas and entrances/exits and by letter to all residents, delivered to their doors. Messages should attempt to counter potential stigma and discrimination. Residents could be advised to inform their recent personal visitors of potential exposure. Owners and agents must maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Privacy Act. Owners and agents may provide notification of positive COVID-19 cases, but they must ensure the notification does not disclose any names, apartment numbers, and other personally- identifiable information to residents, workers, volunteers, and visitors. Owners and agents should also consult local and state health and privacy laws before making any disclosure. CDC COVID-19 printable materials for community-based settings are available on the CDC website.”

Source | HUD
Source | HUD

HUD: “As part of planning efforts related to COVID-19, HUD encourages PHAs to evaluate which functions can be done remotely if the PHA office closes or staff are quarantined. On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act. This legislation provides HUD the ability to waive statute or regulations and impose alternative requirements to provide PHAs with flexibilities necessary to respond to COVID-19. Guidance on these waivers and alternative requirements will be forthcoming. In the interim, HUD encourages PHAs to take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of their staff, assisted families and properties. PHAs should not submit COVID-19 waiver requests until new guidance is issued. PHAs that previously submitted COVID-19 related waiver requests to PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov 6 will be notified via email that their waiver is being held for processing pending forthcoming guidance. If there are additional waiver requests not covered by the new authority and guidance, HUD will review and respond.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “For new residences, the United States Housing Act of 1937 requires that for each dwelling unit for which a housing assistance payment (HAP) contract is established, the PHA shall inspect the unit before any assistance payment is made to determine whether the dwelling unit meets housing quality standards. HUD is currently considering waivers and alternative requirements to provide administrative flexibilities around HQS inspections. This guidance will be informed by the CARES Act. Currently, PHAs can utilize the following existing HQS inspection flexibilities: PHAs can move to biennial inspections following the streamlining notice (PIH 2016-05) or triennial inspections if they are small rural PHAs under the established definition (Notice FR6115-N-02). PHAs can accept alternative inspections for periodic inspections (PIH 2016-05) and accept alternative methods for validating the correction of a deficiency (for example- a photo or owner certification). PHAs can adopt the HOTMA Non-Life threatening (NLT) provision (PIH 2017-20) to allow families to move into units before unit has passed HQS, if it failed for non-life-threatening deficiencies. Additionally, PHAs, can adopt the HOTMA Alternative Inspection provision, allowing families to move in before an HQS inspection has been completed, as long as it has passed an acceptable alternative inspection. If, for any reason, any of these change to inspections would require an update to a PHA’s Admin Plan, HUD can waive the requirement for the Admin Plan changes to be formally adopted by the board in order to become effective (24 CFR § 982.54(a)). HUD is considering inclusion of waivers around updating the Admin Plan updates in the waiver notice. PHAs are encouraged postponing submission of such waivers at this time because on March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act. This legislation provides HUD the ability to waive statute or regulations and impose alternative requirements to provide PHAs with flexibilities necessary to respond to COVID-19. Guidance on these waivers and alternative requirements will be forthcoming.”

Source | HUD

American Apartment Owners Association: “While standard insurance provisions may not help you now, there are a few newer insurance solutions that could be helpful in this sort of situation. These supplemental programs can cover loss of rent due to the tenant’s inability to pay, although it would be a separate coverage with an additional cost that depends on the amount of coverage that is needed.

An increasingly popular option is the establishment of a master renters insurance policy. It’s imperative that landlords require their tenants to carry renters’ insurance, mostly to protect yourself against potential claims due to the tenant-caused claims that would otherwise fall under the landlord’s policy without the layer of protection that renter’s insurance provides. But it can be more hassle than it’s worth to make sure that all your tenants are complying and not letting their coverage lapse when you’re not looking.

A master renters insurance policy is not that different than a standard renters policy. The biggest difference is that the policy is controlled by you, the landlord, so there is never a worry of whether your tenant is carrying proper coverage. Typically, for the cost of approximately $10.00 per tenant, per month (a cost that can be easily passed down to your tenant via rent collection), a master renters policy will provide a limited amount of personal property coverage for the tenant, along with the important tenant liability coverage, as well as a capped payout amount ($1,000 per tenant, per year, is normal) to the landlord to recoup lost rents due to the tenants’ inability to pay.

Another potential solution is having a separate loss of rents policy where you as the landlord can determine the coverage amount you feel is necessary. For example, you may be able to get one month, three months, or six months of loss of rent covered based on the monthly income you want covered. This is a more tailored solution to the loss of rents issue since you get to choose the income you want covered and the amount of time you want covered. However, it can be more expensive, and unlike a master renters’ insurance policy, it doesn’t include renters insurance for the tenant. For that reason, this might be better suited to a more established business, or those who don’t believe a capped payout of $1,000 per tenant per year is going to be worth it.

The more extensive loss of rents policy tends to come with some caveats for coverage to occur, so please make sure to read the specifics and ask questions about any quotes you obtain so you know exactly what you’re paying for.

The pandemic has affected people all over the globe, and it has led many business owners to wonder how they could be covered for such situations. For landlords, it’s important to examine the business income (a.k.a. loss of rent) insurance they have and take a look at including coverage for a tenant’s inability to pay rent. Insurance is a complicated thing, but here at InsuranceHub we would be more than happy to help you find the insurance solution that suits your business and coverage needs during this difficult time.”

American Apartment Owners Association: “This is the big question: As a landlord, are you covered for loss of rent due to coronavirus? Business income is a coverage that is most likely included in your property policy (you may refer to it as “loss of rents”, but typically it is listed as “business interruption” or “business income” or in your insurance policy. These three terms are interchangeable for the purpose of this article). Business income provides coverage to the landlord from lost rental income due to an underlying covered cause of loss to the property.

For example, a tenant causes a kitchen fire that spreads to the two units beside it, in turn making their current unit and the two neighboring units uninhabitable, thus creating a loss of income due to the inability to lease out the damaged units. The key is that due to property damage, the units cannot be occupied for an extended period of time, while remediation is occurring. Therefore, you will typically see business income deductibles in the form of time (0 hours, 24 hours, 72 hours), instead of a standard monetary deductible. While it does depend on the specific language in the policy, most business income coverage provisions state that business income coverage must be triggered by a covered cause of loss to the property. The scenario in which a tenant is unable to pay rent (due, perhaps, to a pandemic) is not covered by business income since there is no underlying property damage triggering the coverage.

That being said, there has been some talk of Congress attempting to force insurance companies to cover lost income due to the pandemic, but thus far the attempts have not been successful for a myriad of reasons. Just on Tuesday, April 14th, the Insurance Commissioner of California mandated that insurance companies must look at and consider all business income claims. The argument is that acts of “Civil Authority” is a covered cause of loss for many insurance companies. But, the counterargument is that property policies also typically carry an “Exclusion of Loss Due to Virus or Bacteria”, and COVID-19 is a virus. So, it remains to be seen as to what insurance carriers will end up doing with the current coronavirus pandemic.

Insurance coverages evolve with the times, so it is highly likely that business income losses due to pandemics will also be an optional coverage in the future. Terrorism coverage came about shortly after 9/11, and Cyber coverage came about after the technology boom. While this won’t help many in the current predicament, it may provide a sense of relief that insurance carriers do respond to catastrophes by tailoring coverages to fit the needs of their clients.

To answer the question simply: No, your typical business income insurance would not cover your loss of rent if your tenants are unable to pay due to the coronavirus. But, there may still be options out there…”

HUD: “Residents may experience significant stress about their safety related to COVID-19 transmission, and may ask for temporary relocation out of multi-unit properties. PHAs can request additional information from the resident to verify the need for relocation. PHAs are not required to grant these requests in advance of a specific health department directive. PHAs can request verification from a medical health professional or the state or local health department as part of reviewing special requests related to COVID-19.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “PHAs may be asked by the health department to assist in response to COVID-19. If the PHA needs to perform specialized cleaning of a unit and temporary relocation of that family to another unit while it is performed, HUD considers the cleaning and temporary relocation of that family an operating expense, therefore they may use operating funds. If there is a need to do a larger scale cleaning of multiple units and common areas, HUD considers the cleaning of multiple units and temporary relocation of multiple families a capital expense, therefore they may use their capital funds for the cleaning services and for temporary relocation of families. If residents request specialized services in the absence of a specific health department recommendation, PHAs can request additional information from the resident as verification. Verification could include written communication from a medical health professional or the state or local health department. PHAs may use electronic and telephonic communication to perform verification.”

Source | HUD

National Multifamily Housing Council: “The CDC Guidelines recommend that someone who has been exposed to, shown symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate in their homes.  Therefore, in most situations, property operators should allow individuals to self-isolate in their units and respect their privacy.


However, if an individual with a medical diagnosis of COVID-19 is not following the CDC Guidelines about home isolation, a property operator can consider taking steps to protect other residents and the property.  These steps should not be taken lightly and should only be undertaken after consulting with your legal teams. Specifically, the federal Fair Housing Act does not protect an individual whose tenancy constitutes a “direct threat” to the health or safety of other individuals.


Although the Fair Housing Act does not protect an individual whose tenancy would constitute a “direct threat” to the health or safety of other individuals, the determination of what constitutes a “direct threat” cannot be based upon generalized fear, speculation, or stereotypes.


Instead, a determination that an individual poses a “direct threat” must rely on an individualized assessment that is based on reliable objective evidence (e.g., current conduct, or a recent history of overt acts).  Specifically, the assessment is to consider: (1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk of injury; (2) the probability that injury will actually occur; and (3) whether there are any reasonable accommodations that will eliminate the direct threat.


In very limited situations, based on specific and serious circumstances relating to an individual behavior, a property operator may consider asking a resident to vacate their unit or to consider eviction proceedings.  However, given the eviction moratoriums and due to the urgency if one believes an individual is a “direct threat,” an operator should consider contacting the public officials.”

National Multifamily Housing Council: “Many property operators have determined that, at this time, in order to ensure the health and safety of their staff and other residents, they can only respond to emergency maintenance requests from residents.

As long as individual dwelling units remain safe and habitable, this type of across-the-board determination about what maintenance requests property operators will respond to is reasonable given state-ordered restrictions limiting available on-site staff and concerns regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus.  It is advisable to make those decisions across all properties to the extent possible to ensure that determinations about responding to maintenance requests are uniformly applied at the property level to avoid claims of discrimination on the basis of color, disability, familial status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or any other class of individuals protected under state or local law.

Prior to sending an employee into a dwelling unit to respond to a maintenance request, in order to protect the health and safety of that employee, a property operator may request information about whether anyone in the unit has been knowingly exposed to, shown symptoms of, or has tested positive for COVID-19.  Because, at this time, there is no obligation on residents to affirmatively provide this information and residents may not have knowledge of their exposure, it may be most prudent to treat every unit as one that has a COVID-19 positive resident in it and proceed accordingly.”

HUD: “No, there is no HUD prohibition against a resident returning to their unit until a negative test is received. HUD encourages owners and agents to coordinate and cooperate with local health care professionals and officials to ensure a safe transition from one location to another.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Effective March 27, 2020, the CARES Act requires that property owners cease starting new actions against tenants of covered dwellings for 120 days on both FHA-insured Multifamily properties and Multifamily-assisted properties. Further, they must waive late payment fees and charges during this time for nonpayment of rent. Therefore, the temporary moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent, as well as a moratorium on charging fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent apply regardless if employment was directly or indirectly linked to COVID-19.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “MFH suggests property owners and agents follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and the direction of local health officials, especially in the event of property quarantine. 

HUD recommends that owners/agents create communication plans for distributing timely and accurate information during an outbreak. First, they should identify everyone in their chain of communication (for example, staff, volunteers, key community partners and stakeholders, and clients) and establish systems for sharing information. After identifying this information, they should maintain up-to-date contact information for everyone in the chain of communication as well as identify platforms, such as a hotline, automated text messaging, and a website to help disseminate information to those inside and outside of their organizations. 

Owners/agents can provide notification of positive COVID-19 cases without giving the name/apartment number/other personally-identifiable information to their residents and staff. HUD reminds them that they continue to remain subject to HIPAA and other privacy laws.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “See these links from the CDC for recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting:

In addition, HUD has recently published relevant guidance on best practices in medical waste disposal on the HUD Exchange site. Medical Waste Disposal: Best Practices for Owners of Multifamily Properties, provides owners of multifamily properties with a short summary of best practices and links to state and federal websites providing guidance on safe disposal of medical waste.”

Source | HUD

HUD: “Owners and agents should generally follow CDC guidelines and the directions given by local health officials for emergency preparedness. Chapter 38 of Handbook 4350.1, Emergency and Disaster Guidance, should also be consulted.”

Source | HUD

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