24 CFR § 92.209 - Tenant-based rental assistance: Eligible costs and requirements.

§ 92.209 Tenant-based rental assistance: Eligible costs and requirements.

(a) Eligible costs. Eligible costs are the rental assistance and security deposit payments made to provide tenant-based rental assistance for a family pursuant to this section. Eligible costs also include utility deposit assistance, but only if this assistance is provided with tenant-based rental assistance or security deposit payment. Administration of tenant-based rental assistance is eligible only under general management oversight and coordination at § 92.207(a), except that the costs of inspecting the housing and determining the income eligibility of the family are eligible as costs of the tenant-based rental assistance.

(b) General requirement. A participating jurisdiction may use HOME funds for tenant-based rental assistance only if the participating jurisdiction makes the certification about inclusion of this type of assistance in its consolidated plan in accordance with 24 CFR 91.225(d)(1), 91.325(d)(1), or 91.425(a)(2)(i), and specifies local market conditions that lead to the choice of this option.

(c) Tenant selection. The participating jurisdiction must select low-income families in accordance with written tenant selection policies and criteria that are based on local housing needs and priorities established in the participating jurisdiction's consolidated plan.

(1) Low-income families. Tenant-based rental assistance may only be provided to very low- and low-income families. The participating jurisdiction must determine that the family is very low- or low-income before the assistance is provided. During the period of assistance, the participating jurisdiction must annually determine that the family continues to be low-income.

(2) Targeted assistance.

(i) The participating jurisdiction may establish a preference for individuals with special needs (e.g., homeless persons or elderly persons) or persons with disabilities. The participating jurisdiction may offer, in conjunction with a tenant-based rental assistance program, particular types of nonmandatory services that may be most appropriate for persons with a special need or a particular disability. Generally, tenant-based rental assistance and the related services should be made available to all persons with special needs or disabilities who can benefit from such services. Participation may be limited to persons with a specific disability if necessary to provide as effective housing, aid, benefit, or services as those provided to others in accordance with 24 CFR 8.4(b)(1)(iv).

(ii) The participating jurisdiction may also provide a preference for a specific category of individuals with disabilities (e.g., persons with HIV/AIDS or chronic mental illness) if the specific category is identified in the participating jurisdiction's consolidated plan as having unmet need and the preference is needed to narrow the gap in benefits and services received by such persons.

(iii) Self-sufficiency program. The participating jurisdiction may require the family to participate in a self- sufficiency program as a condition of selection for assistance. The family's failure to continue participation in the self-sufficiency program is not a basis for terminating the assistance; however, renewal of the assistance may be conditioned on participation in the program. Tenants living in a HOME- assisted rental project who receive tenant-based rental assistance as relocation assistance must not be required to participate in a self- sufficiency program as a condition of receiving assistance.

(iv) Homebuyer program. HOME tenant-based rental assistance may assist a tenant who has been identified as a potential low-income homebuyer through a lease-purchase agreement, with monthly rental payments for a period up to 36 months (i.e., 24 months, with a 12-month renewal in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section). The HOME tenant-based rental assistance payment may not be used to accumulate a downpayment or closing costs for the purchase; however, all or a portion of the homebuyer-tenant's monthly contribution toward rent may be set aside for this purpose. If a participating jurisdiction determines that the tenant has met the lease-purchase criteria and is ready to assume ownership, HOME funds may be provided for downpayment assistance in accordance with the requirements of this part.

(v) Preferences cannot be administered in a manner that limits the opportunities of persons on any basis prohibited by the laws listed under 24 CFR 5.105(a). For example, a participating jurisdiction may not determine that persons given a preference under the program are therefore prohibited from applying for or participating in other programs or forms of assistance. Persons who are eligible for a preference must have the opportunity to participate in all programs of the participating jurisdiction, including programs that are not separate or different.

(3) Existing tenants in the HOME-assisted projects. A participating jurisdiction may select low-income families currently residing in housing units that are designated for rehabilitation or acquisition under the participating jurisdiction's HOME program. Participating jurisdictions using HOME funds for tenant-based rental assistance programs may establish local preferences for the provision of this assistance. Families so selected may use the tenant-based assistance in the rehabilitated or acquired housing unit or in other qualified housing.

(d) Portability of assistance. A participating jurisdiction may require the family to use the tenant-based assistance within the participating jurisdiction's boundaries or may permit the family to use the assistance outside its boundaries.

(e) Term of rental assistance contract. The term of the rental assistance contract providing assistance with HOME funds may not exceed 24 months, but may be renewed, subject to the availability of HOME funds. The term of the rental assistance contract must begin on the first day of the term of the lease. For a rental assistance contract between a participating jurisdiction and an owner, the term of the contract must terminate on termination of the lease. For a rental assistance contract between a participating jurisdiction and a family, the term of the contract need not end on termination of the lease, but no payments may be made after termination of the lease until a family enters into a new lease.

(f) Rent reasonableness. The participating jurisdiction must disapprove a lease if the rent is not reasonable, based on rents that are charged for comparable unassisted rental units.

(g) Tenant protections. The tenant must have a lease that complies with the requirements in § 92.253 (a) and (b).

(h) Maximum subsidy.

(1) The amount of the monthly assistance that a participating jurisdiction may pay to, or on behalf of, a family may not exceed the difference between a rent standard for the unit size established by the participating jurisdiction and 30 percent of the family's monthly adjusted income.

(2) The participating jurisdiction must establish a minimum tenant contribution to rent.

(3) The participating jurisdiction's rent standard for a unit size must be based on:

(i) Local market conditions; or

(ii) The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (24 CFR part 982).

(i) Housing standards. Housing occupied by a family receiving tenant-based rental assistance under this section must meet the participating jurisdiction's property standards under § 92.251. The participating jurisdiction must inspect the housing initially and re-inspect it annually.

(j) Security deposits.

(1) A participating jurisdiction may use HOME funds provided for tenant-based rental assistance to provide loans or grants to very low- and low-income families for security deposits for rental of dwelling units whether or not the participating jurisdiction provides any other tenant-based rental assistance under this section.

(2) The relevant State or local definition of “security deposit” in the jurisdiction where the unit is located is applicable for the purposes of this part, except that the amount of HOME funds that may be provided for a security deposit may not exceed the equivalent of two month's rent for the unit.

(3) Only the prospective tenant may apply for HOME security deposit assistance, although the participating jurisdiction may pay the funds directly to the tenant or to the landlord.

(4) HOME funds for security deposits may be provided as a grant or as a loan. If they are provided as a loan, the loan repayments are program income to be used in accordance with § 92.503.

(5) Paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (f), (g), and (i) of this section are applicable to HOME security deposit assistance, except that income determinations pursuant to paragraph (c)(1) of this section and Housing Quality Standard inspections pursuant to paragraph (i) of this section are required only at the time the security deposit assistance is provided.

(k) Program operation. A tenant-based rental assistance program must be operated consistent with the requirements of this section. The participating jurisdiction may operate the program itself, or may contract with a PHA or other entity with the capacity to operate a rental assistance program. The tenant-based rental assistance may be provided through an assistance contract to an owner that leases a unit to an assisted family or directly to the family. In either case, the participating jurisdiction (or entity operating the program) must approve the lease.

(l) Use of Section 8 assistance. In any case where assistance under section 8 of the 1937 Act becomes available, recipients of tenant-based rental assistance under this part will qualify for tenant selection preferences to the same extent as when they received the HOME tenant-based rental assistance under this part.

[61 FR 48750, Sept. 16, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 28928, May 28, 1997; 67 FR 61756, Oct. 1, 2002; 78 FR 44668, July 24, 2013; 88 FR 30496, May 11, 2023]