On March 24, 2020, HUD updated its guidance on dealing with site management issues at HUD-regulated properties during the COVID-19 crisis. Following are some of the highlights of that guidance.
1. Owners may consider extenuating circumstances (including COVID-19 considerations in the community) when a tenant is not available to attend a recertification interview, sign consent forms, or sign form HUD-50059. It is recommended that the owner begin or accomplish the above actions within 90-days of being advised of the extenuating circumstance. For example, if a resident notifies management on April 6 that they are not leaving their apartment due to COVID-19 and will be unable to do the recertification interview that was scheduled. Management should document this in the resident file and make every effort to complete the process no later than July 5, 2020 (90 days). When an extenuating circumstance is present, there is no change to the tenant’s recertification anniversary date. The Total Tenant Payment/Tenant Rent and the assistance payment are effective retroactively to the recertification anniversary date. The owner must document the file why the signature was not obtained and, if applicable, when the signature(s) will be obtained.
2. For owners/agents (O/A) that are working on recertifications for residents impacted by COVID-19, HUD will allow electronic signatures as long as they obtain original, “wet” signatures on recertification documents at a later date. In particular, the HUD-9887/9887A, which is usually signed at the beginning of the recertification process and allows the O/A to begin verifying documentation, requires an original “wet” signature. Other recertification documents in addition to the 9887/9887A that will require original, “wet” signatures to be obtained at a later date, include but are not limited to (1) the HUD-50059; (2) lease agreements/addendums; (3) affidavits of unemployment and zero income; and (4) state lifetime sex offender forms.
3. Tenants may also provide the background documentation for the recertification process, including but not limited to (1) paystubs; (2) SS/SSI/SSP award letters; (3) bank statements; and (4) public assistance documents by mail to the O/A at their discretion. With this flexibility, O/As can complete a temporary recertification using electronic versions of these documents and can collect the original documents from the tenant at a later date.
Until further notice, HUD Office of Multifamily Housing is postponing all REAC property inspections for all Multifamily properties. Where there is an exigent circumstance or reason to believe that there is a threat to life or property at a specific location, inspections will be conducted by HUD quality assurance inspectors in compliance with CDC guidelines. Please note that this supersedes guidance issued by HUD on March 12, 2020, which indicated that guidance from local health agencies would be followed.
Management & Occupancy Reviews (MORs)
HUD is relieving PBCAs operating under ACCs from the requirement to notify HUD that the Presidential emergency determination either limits, or in some cases, prevents, PBCAs from carrying out MORs and related activities. HUD is suspending standard MORs until the PBCA determines that local conditions no longer limit or prevent the PBCA from performing MORs safely.
HUD is looking into a flexible model that would allow PBCAs to adapt to local conditions in a way that allows them to continue MORs on a modified basis to ensure acceptable conditions in HUD properties. Additional guidance in this area will be forthcoming.
HUD is constantly updating its COVID-19 guidance and operators of HUD Multifamily housing should monitor the HUD website for the newest information.