24 CFR § 888.113 - Fair market rents for existing housing: Methodology.
(a) Basis for setting fair market rents. Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are estimates of rent plus the cost of utilities, except telephone. FMRs are housing market-wide estimates of rents that provide opportunities to rent standard quality housing throughout the geographic area in which rental housing units are in competition. The level at which FMRs are set is expressed as a percentile point within the rent distribution of standard quality rental housing units in the FMR area. FMRs are set at the 40th percentile rent, the dollar amount below which the rent for 40 percent of standard quality rental housing units fall within the FMR area. The 40th percentile rent is drawn from the distribution of rents of all units within the FMR area that are occupied by recent movers. Adjustments are made to exclude public housing units, newly built units and substandard units.
(b) Setting FMRs at the 40th percentile rent. Generally, HUD will set the FMRs at the 40th percentile rent, but no lower than 90 percent of the previous year's FMR for the FMR area.
(c) Setting Small Area FMRs.
(1) HUD will set Small Area FMRs for certain metropolitan FMR areas for use in the administration of tenant-based assistance under the HCV program. HUD will establish the selection values used to determine those metropolitan areas through a Federal Register notice on November 16, 2016 and may update the selection values through a Federal Register notice, subject to public comment. The selection criteria used to determine those metropolitan areas are:
(i) The number of vouchers under lease in the metropolitan FMR area;
(ii) The percentage of the standard quality rental stock, within the metropolitan FMR area is in small areas (ZIP codes) where the Small Area FMR is more than 110 percent of the metropolitan FMR area;
(iii) The percentage of voucher families living in concentrated low income areas;
(iv) The percentage of voucher families living in concentrated low income areas relative to the percentage of all renters within these areas over the entire metropolitan area; and
(v) The vacancy rate for the metropolitan area.
(2) For purposes of determining applicability of Small Area FMRs to a metropolitan area, the term “concentrated low-income areas” means:
(i) Those census tracts in the metropolitan FMR area with a poverty rate of 25 percent or more; or
(ii) Any tract in the metropolitan FMR area where at least 50 percent of the households earn less than 60 percent of the area median income and are designated by HUD as Qualified Census Tracts in accordance with section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 42).
(3) If a metropolitan area meets the criteria of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, Small Area FMRs will apply to the metropolitan area and all PHAs administering HCV programs in that area will be required to use Small Area FMRs. A PHA administering an HCV program in a metropolitan area not subject to the application of Small Area FMRs may opt to use Small Area FMRs by seeking approval from HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) through written request to PIH.
(4) HUD will designate Small Area FMR areas at the beginning of a Federal fiscal year, such designations will be permanent, and will make new area designations every 5 years thereafter as new data becomes available. HUD may suspend a Small Area FMR designation from a metropolitan area, or may temporarily exempt a PHA in a Small Area FMR metropolitan area from use of the Small Area FMRs, when HUD by notice makes a documented determination that such action is warranted. Actions that may serve as the basis of a suspension of Small Area FMRs are:
(i) A Presidentially declared disaster area that results in the loss of a substantial number of housing units;
(ii) A sudden influx of displaced households needing permanent housing; or
(iii) Other events as determined by the Secretary.
(5) Small Area FMRs only apply to tenant-based assistance under the HCV program. However, a PHA may elect to apply Small Area FMRs to project-based voucher (PBV) units at 24 CFR part 983 as provided in paragraph (h) of this section.
(d) FMR areas. FMR areas comprise metropolitan areas and nonmetropolitan counties and Small Area FMR areas as follows:
(1) Generally, FMR areas are metropolitan areas and nonmetropolitan counties. With several exceptions, the most current Office of Management and Budget (OMB) metropolitan area definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are used because of their generally close correspondence with housing market area definitions. HUD may make exceptions to OMB definitions if the MSAs encompass areas that are larger than housing market areas. The counties deleted from the HUD-defined FMR areas in those cases are established as separate metropolitan county FMR areas. FMRs are established for all areas in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Insular Areas of the United States.
(2) Small Area FMR areas are the U.S. Postal Service ZIP code areas within a designated metropolitan area.
(e) Data sources.
(1) HUD uses the most accurate and current data available to develop the FMR estimates and may add other data sources as they are discovered and determined to be statistically valid. The following sources of survey data are used to develop the base-year FMR estimates:
(i) The most recent American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, which provides statistically reliable rent data.
(ii) Locally collected survey data acquired through Address-Based Mail surveys or Random Digit Dialing (RDD) telephone survey data, based on a sampling procedure that uses computers to select statistically random samples of rental housing.
(iii) Statistically valid information, as determined by HUD, presented to HUD during the public comment and review period.
(2) Base-year recent mover adjusted FMRs are updated and trended to the midpoint of the program year they are to be effective using Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for rents and for utilities.
(f) Unit size adjustments.
(1) For most areas the ratios developed incorporating the most recent American Community Survey data are applied to the two-bedroom FMR estimates to derive FMRs for other bedroom sizes. Exceptions to this procedure may be made for areas with local bedroom intervals below an acceptable range. To help the largest most difficult-to-house families find units, higher ratios than the actual market ratios may be used for three-bedroom and larger-size units.
(2) The FMR for single room occupancy housing is 75 percent of the FMR for a zero bedroom unit.
(g) Manufactured home space rental. The FMR for a manufactured home space rental (for the HCV program under 24 CFR part 982) is 40 percent of the FMR for a two-bedroom unit for the metropolitan area or non-metropolitan county, as applicable. Small Area FMRs under paragraph (c) of this section do not apply to manufactured home space rentals.
(h) Small Area FMRs and Project-based vouchers. Small Area FMRs do not apply to Project-based vouchers regardless of whether HUD designates the metropolitan area or approves the PHA for Small Area FMRs under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. The following exceptions apply:
(1) Where the PHA notice of owner selection under 24 CFR 983.51(d) was made on or before the effective dates of both the Small Area FMR designation and the PHA administrative policy, the PHA and owner may mutually agree to apply the Small Area FMR. The application of the Small Area FMRs must be prospective and consistent with the PHA administrative plan. The owner and PHA may not subsequently choose to revert back to the use of the metropolitan-wide FMRs for the PBV project. If the rent to owner will increase as a result of the mutual agreement to apply the Small Area FMRs to the PBV project, the rent increase shall not be effective until the first annual anniversary of the HAP contract in accordance with 24 CFR 983.302(b).
(2) Where the PHA notice of owner selection under 24 CFR 983.51(d) was made after the effective dates of both the Small Area FMR designation and the PHA administrative policy, the Small Area FMRs shall apply to the PBV project if the PHA administrative plan provides that Small Area FMRs are used for all future PBV projects. If the PHA chooses to implement this administrative policy, the policy must apply to all future PBV projects and the PHA's entire jurisdiction. An owner and the PHA may not subsequently choose to apply the metropolitan area FMR to the project, regardless of whether the PHA subsequently changes its administrative plan to revert to the use of metropolitan-wide FMR for future PBV projects.
(3) For purposes of this section, the term “effective date of the Small Area FMR designation” means:
(i) The date that HUD designated a metropolitan area as a Small Area FMR area; or
(ii) The date that HUD approved a PHA request to voluntarily opt to use Small Area FMRs for its HCV program, as applicable.
(4) For purposes of this section, the term “effective date of the PHA administrative policy” means the date the administrative policy was formally adopted as part of the PHA administrative plan by the PHA Board of Commissioners or other authorized PHA officials in accordance with § 982.54(a).
(i) Transition of metropolitan areas previously subject to 50th percentile FMRs.
(1) A metropolitan area designated as 50th percentile FMR areas for which the 3-year period has not expired prior to January 17, 2017 shall transition out of 50th percentile FMRs as follows:
(i) A 50th percentile FMR area that is designated for Small Area FMRs in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section will transition to the Small Area FMRs upon the effective date of the Small Area FMR designation;
(ii) A 50th percentile metropolitan FMR area not designated as a Small Area FMRs in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, will remain a 50th percentile FMR until the expiration of the three-year period, at which time the metropolitan area will revert to the standard FMR based on the 40th percentile rent for the metropolitan area.
(2) A PHA with jurisdiction in a 50th percentile FMR area that reverts to the standard 40th percentile FMR may request HUD approval of payment standard amounts based on the 50th percentile rent in accordance with 24 CFR 982.503(f).
(3) HUD will calculate the 50th percentile rents for certain metropolitan areas for purposes of this transition and to approve success rate payment standard amounts in accordance with 24 CFR 982.503(e). As is the case for determining 40th percentile rent, the 50th percentile rent is drawn from the distribution of rents of all units that are occupied by recent movers and adjustments are made to exclude public housing units, newly built units and substandard units.