Flat Rent Guidance Issued

On September 13, HUD issued Notice PIH 2021-27 (HA) titled “Updates to Flat Rent Submission Requirements.” The Notice supersedes and replaces previous guidance on flat rents, clarifies HUD’s interpretation of the statutory amendment related to flat rents, and updates flat rent exception and extension requirements, including review criteria for HUD Form 5880. The Notice applies to PHAs that operate a Public Housing program and families residing in, or applying to, the Public Housing program. MTW agencies continue to have the flexibility to establish alternative requirements to flat rent requirements.

Previous Appropriations Act established that PHAs are allowed to establish flat rents that are set at no less than the lower of 80 percent of the applicable Fair Market rent (FMR) or 80 percent of such other applicable FMR established by the Secretary that more accurately reflects local market conditions based on an applicable market area that is geographically smaller than the applicable market area (such as the applicable Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) or unadjusted rent). For areas where HUD has not determined a SAFMR or an unadjusted rent, PHAs must set rents at no less than 80 percent of the FMR or apply for an exception flat rent.

To apply for an exception flat rent, PHAs must provide a market analysis that demonstrates specific market conditions. PHAs have 90 days after the effective date of their fiscal year to submit an exception request. If a PHA submits an incomplete flat rent exception request or incomplete supporting market analysis, HUD will provide the PHA two opportunities to cure deficiencies before disapproving the request. The PHA may extend the exception flat rent so long as the market study accompanying the previously approved request is no more than two years old, the market conditions remain unchanged, and the PHA submits the extension within 90 days after the effective date of the final FMRs are published by HUD.

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