24 CFR 2002.15 - Advance payments.
(a) HUD may not require a requester to make an advance payment, i.e., payment before work is commenced or continued on a request, unless:
(1) HUD estimates or determines that allowable charges that a requester may be required to pay are likely to exceed $250. Then, HUD will notify the requester of the likely cost and obtain satisfactory assurance of full payment where the requester has a history of prompt payment of FOIA fees, or require an advance payment of an amount up to the full estimated charges in the case of requesters with no history of payment; or
(2) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a fee charged in a timely fashion (i.e., within 30 days of the date of the billing), HUD may require the requester to pay the full amount owed plus any applicable interest as provided by § 2002.13(a) or demonstrate that he has, in fact, paid the fees, and to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated fee before HUD begins to process a new request or a pending request from that requester.
(b) When HUD acts under paragraph (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section, the administrative time limits prescribed in subsection (a)(6) of the FOIA (i.e., 20 working days from receipt of initial requests and 20 working days from receipt of appeals from initial denial, plus permissible extensions of these time limits) will begin only after HUD has received fee payments described in paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) Where it is anticipated that either the duplication fee individually, the search fee individually, or a combination of the two exceeds $25.00 over and above the free search time and duplication costs, where applicable, and the requesting party has not indicated in advance a willingness to pay so high a fee, the requesting party shall be promptly informed of the amount of the anticipated fee or such portion thereof as can readily be estimated. The notification shall offer the requesting party the opportunity to confer with agency representatives for the purpose of reformulating the request so as to meet that party's needs at a reduced cost.