HUD Publishes Guidance on (S. 2155) Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

(2/14/19 Update – the copy below is a pre-publication copy of the notice. The final copy published in the Federal Register today can be found here. Comments are due by April 15, 2019.)

Earlier today, HUD published in the Federal Register a notice titled “Section 209 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and consumer Protection Act: Initial Guidance.” The act added section 38 to the United States Housing Act of 1937 which require amendments to regulations that govern small public housing agencies (PHAs) that administer 550 or fewer combined public housing units and vouchers that predominately operate in a rural area and certain other regulations.

While certain statutory provisions under the notice become active after 60 days after the act passes, these provisions require rulemaking or guidance for implementation. Through this guidance, HUD also seeks comment on the appropriate implementation of these provisions. Comments are due 60 days from today. Guidance and requests for comment are on the following:

  • Small PHAs
    • Predominately operates – HUD is asking for the definition of “predominately operates” in the phrase “predominately operates in a rural area.” The Department also seeks clarity on how often it should reassess the rural nature of each PHA; other factors in determining whether a PHA predominately operates in a rural area; and other factors in determining whether a PHA has 550 or fewer public housing units and Section 8(o) vouchers.
    • Inspections – HUD requires time to decide on the appropriate inspection protocol to use on “projects assisted under Section 8.” It also requires time to assess the scope of the latter phrase.
    • Troubled Small PHAs – HUD requires time to identify criteria to design an appeals process for the designation and establish requirements for corrective action agreements.
    • Environmental reviews – the act exempts small PHAs from environmental review requirements with respect to development or modernization projects costing no more than $100,000. The Department seeks information on the $100,000 total cost threshold and how it should be defined.
  • Energy Conservation
    • Energy Conservation– the act allows small PHAs to elect to be paid through the Operating Fund for utility and waste management costs for a period of not more than 20 years based on its average annual consumption during the preceding 3-year period. The Department seeks information on heating degree day data to account for temperature variations and wants methods to track and report expenditure of operating funds for capital purposes for small PHAs with over 250 units (small PHAs with fewer than 250 units may use PIH Notice 2016-18).
  • Reporting by Agencies Operating in Consortia
    • Reporting by Agencies Operating in Consortia – HUD would like information on the limits of HUD’s systems now that would prevent full consolidated reporting by PHAs engaged in consortia.
  • Shared Waiting Lists
    • Shared Waiting Lists – HUD seeks information on how to define shared waiting lists and how to implement shared waiting lists.

A pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

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