24 CFR § 92.252 - Qualification as affordable housing: Rental housing.

§ 92.252 Qualification as affordable housing: Rental housing.

The HOME-assisted units in a rental housing project must be occupied by households that are eligible as low- income families and must meet the requirements of this section to qualify as affordable housing. If the housing is not occupied by eligible tenants within six months following the date of project completion, HUD will require the participating jurisdiction to submit marketing information and, if appropriate, submit a marketing plan. HUD will require the participating jurisdiction to repay HOME funds invested in any housing unit that has not been rented to eligible tenants 18 months after the date of project completion. The affordability requirements also apply to the HOME- assisted non-owner-occupied units in single-family housing purchased with HOME funds in accordance with § 92.254. The tenant must have a written lease that complies with § 92.253.

(a)Rent limitation. HUD provides the following maximum HOME rent limits. The rent limits apply to the rent plus the utilities or the utility allowance. The maximum HOME rents (High HOME Rents) are the lesser of:

(1) The fair market rent for existing housing for comparable units in the area as established by HUD under 24 CFR 888.111; or

(2) A rent that does not exceed 30 percent of the adjusted income of a family whose annual income equals 65 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for number of bedrooms in the unit. The HOME rent limits provided by HUD will include average occupancy per unit and adjusted income assumptions.

(b)Additional rent limitations (Low HOME Rents). The participating jurisdiction may designate (in its written agreement with the project owner) more than the minimum HOME units in a rental housing project, regardless of project size, to have Low HOME Rents that meet the requirements of this paragraph (b). In rental projects with five or more HOME-assisted rental units, at least 20 percent of the HOME-assisted units must be occupied by very low-income families and meet one of the following rent requirements:

(1) The rent does not exceed 30 percent of the annual income of a family whose income equals 50 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for smaller and larger families. HUD provides the HOME rent limits which include average occupancy per unit and adjusted income assumptions. However, if the rent determined under this paragraph is higher than the applicable rent under paragraph (a) of this section, then the maximum rent for units under this paragraph is that calculated under paragraph (a) of this section.

(2) The rent does not exceed 30 percent of the family's adjusted income. If the unit receives Federal or State project-based rental subsidy and the very low-income family pays as a contribution toward rent not more than 30 percent of the family's adjusted income, then the maximum rent (i.e., tenant contribution plus project-based rental subsidy) is the rent allowable under the Federal or State project-based rental subsidy program.

(c)Additional rent limitations for SRO projects.

(1) For SRO units that have both sanitary and food preparation facilities, the maximum HOME rent is based on the zero-bedroom fair market rent. The project must meet the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

(2) For SRO units that have no sanitary or food preparation facilities or only one of the two, the maximum HOME rent is based on 75 percent of the zero-bedroom fair market rent. The project is not required to have low HOME rents in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) or (2) of this section, but must meet the occupancy requirements of paragraph (b) of this section.

(d)Initial rent schedule and utility allowances.

(1) The participating jurisdiction must establish maximum monthly allowances for utilities and services (excluding telephone) and update the allowances annually. The participating jurisdiction must use the HUD Utility Schedule Model or otherwise determine the utility allowance for the project based on the type of utilities used at the project.

(2) The participating jurisdiction must review and approve rents proposed by the owner for units, subject to the maximum rent limitations in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section. For all units subject to the maximum rent limitations in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section for which the tenant is paying utilities and services, the participating jurisdiction must ensure that the rents do not exceed the maximum rent minus the monthly allowances for utilities and services.

(e)Periods of affordability. The HOME-assisted units must meet the affordability requirements for not less than the applicable period specified in the following table, beginning after project completion.

(1) The affordability requirements:

(i) Apply without regard to the term of any loan or mortgage, repayment of the HOME investment, or the transfer of ownership;

(ii) Must be imposed by a deed restriction, a covenant running with the land, an agreement restricting the use of the property, or other mechanisms approved by HUD and must give the participating jurisdiction the right to require specific performance (except that the participating jurisdiction may provide that the affordability restrictions may terminate upon foreclosure or transfer in lieu of foreclosure); and

(iii) Must be recorded in accordance with State recordation laws.

(2) The participating jurisdiction may use purchase options, rights of first refusal or other preemptive rights to purchase the housing before foreclosure or deed in lieu of foreclosure in order to preserve affordability.

(3) The affordability restrictions shall be revived according to the original terms if, during the original affordability period, the owner of record before the foreclosure, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, or any entity that includes the former owner or those with whom the former owner has or had family or business ties, obtains an ownership interest in the project or property.

(4) The termination of the restrictions on the project does not terminate the participating jurisdiction's repayment obligation under § 92.503(b).

Rental housing activity Minimum period of affordability in years
Rehabilitation or acquisition of existing housing per unit amount of HOME funds: Under $15,000 5
$15,000 to $40,000 10
Over $40,000 or rehabilitation involving refinancing 15
New construction or acquisition of newly constructed housing 20

(f)Subsequent rents during the affordability period.

(1) The maximum HOME rent limits are recalculated on a periodic basis after HUD determines fair market rents and median incomes. HUD then provides the new maximum HOME rent limits to participating jurisdictions. Regardless of changes in fair market rents and in median income over time, the HOME rents for a project are not required to be lower than the HOME rent limits for the project in effect at the time of project commitment.

(2) The participating jurisdiction must provide project owners with information on updated HOME rent limits so that rents may be adjusted (not to exceed the maximum HOME rent limits in paragraph (f)(1) of this section) in accordance with the written agreement between the participating jurisdiction and the owner. Owners must annually provide the participating jurisdiction with information on rents and occupancy of HOME-assisted units to demonstrate compliance with this section. The participating jurisdiction must review rents for compliance and approve or disapprove them every year.

(3) Any increase in rents for HOME-assisted units is subject to the provisions of outstanding leases, and in any event, the owner must provide tenants of those units not less than 30 days prior written notice before implementing any increase in rents.

(g)Adjustment of HOME rent limits for an existing project.

(1) Changes in fair market rents and in median income over time should be sufficient to maintain the financial viability of a project within the HOME rent limits in this section.

(2) HUD may adjust the HOME rent limits for a project, only if HUD finds that an adjustment is necessary to support the continued financial viability of the project and only by an amount that HUD determines is necessary to maintain continued financial viability of the project. HUD expects that this authority will be used sparingly.

(h)Tenant income. The income of each tenant must be determined initially in accordance with § 92.203(a)(1)(i). In addition, each year during the period of affordability the project owner must re-examine each tenant's annual income in accordance with one of the options in § 92.203 selected by the participating jurisdiction. An owner of a multifamily project with an affordability period of 10 years or more who re-examines tenant's annual income through a statement and certification in accordance with § 92.203(a)(1)(ii), must examine the income of each tenant, in accordance with § 92.203(a)(1)(i), every sixth year of the affordability period. Otherwise, an owner who accepts the tenant's statement and certification in accordance with § 92.203(a)(1)(ii) is not required to examine the income of tenants in multifamily or single-family projects unless there is evidence that the tenant's written statement failed to completely and accurately state information about the family's size or income.

(i)Over-income tenants.

(1) HOME-assisted units continue to qualify as affordable housing despite a temporary noncompliance caused by increases in the incomes of existing tenants if actions satisfactory to HUD are being taken to ensure that all vacancies are filled in accordance with this section until the noncompliance is corrected.

(2) Tenants who no longer qualify as low-income families must pay as rent the lesser of the amount payable by the tenant under State or local law or 30 percent of the family's adjusted income, except that tenants of HOME-assisted units that have been allocated low-income housing tax credits by a housing credit agency pursuant to section 42 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 42) must pay rent governed by section 42. In addition, in projects in which the Home units are designated as floating pursuant to paragraph (j) of this section, tenants who no longer qualify as low-income are not required to pay as rent an amount that exceeds the market rent for comparable, unassisted units in the neighborhood.

(j)Fixed and floating HOME units. In a project containing HOME-assisted and other units, the participating jurisdiction may designate fixed or floating HOME units. This designation must be made at the time of project commitment in the written agreement between the participating jurisdiction and the owner, and the HOME units must be identified not later than the time of initial unit occupancy. Fixed units remain the same throughout the period of affordability. Floating units are changed to maintain conformity with the requirements of this section during the period of affordability so that the total number of housing units meeting the requirements of this section remains the same, and each substituted unit is comparable in terms of size, features, and number of bedrooms to the originally designated HOME-assisted unit.

(k)Tenant selection. The tenants must be selected in accordance with § 92.253(d).

(l)Ongoing responsibilities. The participating jurisdiction's responsibilities for on-site inspections and financial oversight of rental projects are set forth in § 92.504(d).

[61 FR 48750, Sept. 16, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 28929, May 28, 1997; 62 FR 44840, Aug. 22, 1997; 78 FR 44672, July 24, 2013]