HUD Releases Enhanced Voucher Proposed Rule

On October 26, HUD will publish a proposed rule titled “Tenant-based Assistance: Enhanced Voucher” in the Federal Register. The rule codifies HUD’s existing policy regarding enhanced vouchers, specifically regarding the eligibility criteria for enhanced vouchers, rental payment standards and subsidy standards applicable to enhanced vouchers, the right of enhanced voucher holders to remain in their units, procedures for addressing over-housed families, and the calculation of the enhanced voucher housing assistance payment. Comments are due December 27, 2016.

Currently, HUD’s enhanced voucher policy is based on statutory requirements, and summarized in guidance provided in PIH notices. These notices include: PIH 2001-41 on Enhanced and Regular Housing Choice Vouchers for Housing Conversion Actions; PIH 2010-18 on PHA Determinations of Rent Reasonableness in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program —Comparable Unassisted Units; PIH 2011-46 on Determination of Rent Reasonableness in the Housing Choice Voucher Program; and PIH 2016-02 on Enhanced Voucher Requirements for Over-housed Families. The proposed rule codifies HUD’s existing policy.

HUD is specifically asking for comments on three specific issues. HUD is asking for comments on how to define the vacancy rate for a “low-vacancy” area. HUD asks commenters to consider: whether the low-vacancy area should be based on a constant vacancy percentage applied universally, or whether it should vary with differing factors, such as area population growth, demand for rental, or any other relevant factors; and whether the low-vacancy area definition should be unique to this enhanced voucher program, or should be constant across all HUD programs that use the concept of a low-vacancy area. HUD also requests comments on whether it is appropriate to allow families to be rescreened and potentially denied admission to the program so long as the screening is consistent with the PHA policy for regular admission. Lastly, HUD seeks comments on whether language in the proposed rule relating to a tenants right to remain should  be removed, qualified or modified in some way, or made final. Language in the proposed rule solely states that an owner may not terminate tenancy except as provided in existing regulations.

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