On July 8, 2019, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued a memo for HUD staff and multifamily owners and agents (O/As) clarifying owner responsibilities to notify residents in advance of physical inspections and to make final inspection documents available for review and comment. The memo also encourages collaborative implementation of new house rules. In addition, the memo provides guidance on sharing responses to tenant complaints and encourages tenants to report false owner certifications of completed repairs of exigent health & safety (EH&S) findings.
Notifying Residents of a Physical Inspection
HUD is encouraging owners to give as much advance notice as possible to residents of a planned inspection. Residents should be given at least 24-hour notice of a planned inspection unless state or local law requires more than a 24-hour notice.
With Notice H-2019-04, HUD employees and contract inspectors acting on behalf of HUD will give site owners and their agents 14 calendar days of notice prior to an inspection. This was a dramatic reduction from the prior notice, which was frequently extended up to four months. An extension of up to seven days is permitted under the new procedures, but if the second attempt does not result in a completed inspection due to the fault of the O/A, a REAC score of zero will be registered and the owner is subject to HUD’s remedies for a failing score.
Making Inspection Documents Available for Comment & Review
Owners are obligated to make certain inspection documents available for review and comment. Once the 30-day technical review appeal period and the 45-day database adjustment appeal period have expired, the owner must make its physical inspection report and all related documents available to the residents during regular business hours and upon reasonable requests for review and copying. Related documents include:
- Notice of Default (NOD) or Housing Assistance Contract or a Notice of Violation (NOV) or Regulatory Agreement. A copy of the notice must be left under each tenant door, posted in the mail room, and on each floor, or by other means;
- “Owner’s Certification that the Physical Condition of the Project is in compliance with HUD contracts and the Physical Condition Standards of 24 CFR §5.703;” and
- Owners Plan of Corrective Action, if one is submitted.
Once the owner’s final physical inspection score is issued, the owner must make any additional information available for review and copying by residents upon reasonable requests during regular business hours. All documents must remain available for review for 60-days from the date the final score was issued.
The owner must also post a notice to the residents in the management office and in any bulletin boards in all common areas that advises the residents of the availability of the materials noted above.
Responding to Resident Complaints
When an O/A submits a written response to a resident complaint to HUD or the PBCA, a copy of that response should be given to the person who made the complaint, but only if requested.
If the owner discusses more than one topic in the document, only the portions related to the resident’s complaint should be provided.
Self-Certifying Completed Repairs of EH&S Findings
According to the memo, resident advocates have raised concerns about owner self-certification of completed repairs. As a result, O/As are encouraged to submit supporting documentation with their reports identifying and certifying completed repairs, such as:
- Photos taken before and after repairs;
- Work orders or invoices from the contractor who completed the repairs; or
- Letters from relevant tenant organizations satisfied with the repairs.
The memo also gives HUD staff the authority to request whatever supporting documentation they feel is necessary in order to ensure that work has been properly completed.