Earlier today, HUD published a notice titled “Rent Reasonableness – Defining Assisted Units for the Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher Programs” (PIH 2020-19). This notice updates guidance on which units may be considered “assisted” for the purpose of rent reasonableness requirements.
In general, the rent to an owner–in the context of a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract–must be reasonable. In determining that the rent to an owner for a HCV unit (including project-based voucher [PBV] units) is reasonable, a PHA must ensure that the rent for the applicable unit does not exceed rent for other comparable unassisted units. In certain instances, owners charge below market rents to protect families from rent increases that result solely from a conversion action (e.g., opting out of a Multifamily Section 8 project-based contract). These units are considered “assisted units” and are excluded from a rent reasonableness determination.
This notice broadens the assisted unit standard to “all projects undergoing any conversion action that triggers eligibility for an award of tenant protection vouchers (TPVs).” It also clarifies that “units with restricted rents” are still “excluded from rent reasonableness determinations until the PHA is notified by the owner or otherwise determines that the rent restriction has expired.” Additionally, the language defining “unassisted units” has been refined, but remains essentially the same.
The full notice may be found here.