7 CFR § 3550.10 - Definitions.

§ 3550.10 Definitions.

Acceleration. Demand for immediate repayment of the entire balance of a debt if the security instruments are breached.

Adjusted income. Used to determine whether an applicant is income-eligible. Adjusted income provides for deductions to account for varying household circumstances and expenses. See § 3550.54 for a complete description of adjusted income.

Adjustment. An agreement to release a debtor from liability generally upon receipt of an initial lump sum representing the maximum amount the debtor can afford to pay and periodic additional payments over a period of up to 5 years.

Agency-approved intermediary. An affordable housing nonprofit, public agency, or State Housing Finance Agency approved by RHS to perform quality assurance reviews on packages prepared by Agency-certified loan application packagers through their qualified employers. See § 3550.75 for further details.

Agency-certified loan application packager. An individual certified by RHS under this subpart to package section 502 loan applications while employed (either as an employee or as an independent contractor) by a qualified employer. See § 3550.75 for further details.

Amortized payment. Equal monthly payments under a fully amortized mortgage loan that provides for the scheduled payment of interest and principal over the term of the loan.

Applicant. An adult member of the household who will be responsible for repayment of the loan.

Assumption. The procedure whereby the transferee becomes liable for all or part of the debt of the transferor.

Borrower. A recipient who is indebted under the section 502 or 504 programs.

Cancellation. A decision to cease collection activities and release the debtor from personal liability for any remaining amounts owed.

Compromise. An agreement to release a debtor from liability upon receipt of a specified lump sum that is less than the total amount due.

Conditional commitment. A determination that a proposed dwelling will qualify as a program-eligible property. The conditional commitment does not reserve funds, nor does it ensure that a program-eligible applicant will be available to buy the dwelling.

Cosigner. An individual or an entity that joins in the execution of a promissory note to compensate for any deficiency in the applicant's repayment ability. The cosigner becomes jointly liable to comply with the terms of the promissory note in the event of the borrower's default, but is not entitled to any interest in the security or borrower rights.

Cross-collateralized loan. A situation in which a single property secures both RHS and Farm Service Agency loans.

Custodial property. Borrower-owned real property that serves as security for a loan that has been taken into possession by the Agency to protect the Government's interest.

Daily simple interest. A method of establishing borrower payments based on daily interest charged on the outstanding principal balance of the loan. Principal is reduced by the amount of payment in excess of the accrued interest.

Dealer-contractor. A person, firm, partnership, or corporation in the business of selling and servicing manufactured homes and developing sites for manufactured homes. A person, firm, partnership, or corporation not capable of providing the complete service is not eligible to be a dealer-contractor.

Debt instrument. A collective term encompassing obligating documents for a loan, including any applicable promissory note, assumption agreement, or grant agreement.

Deferred mortgage payments. A subsidy available to eligible, very low-income borrowers of up to 25 percent of their principal and interest payments at 1 percent for up to 15 years. The deferred amounts are subject to recapture on sale or nonoccupancy.

Deficient housing. A dwelling that lacks complete plumbing; lacks adequate heating; is dilapidated or structurally unsound; has an overcrowding situation that will be corrected with loan funds; or that is otherwise uninhabitable, unsafe, or poses a health or environmental threat to the occupant or others.

Elderly family. An elderly family consists of one of the following:

(1) A person who is the head, spouse, or sole member of a family and who is 62 years of age or older, or who is disabled, and is an applicant or borrower;

(2) Two or more persons who are living together, at least 1 of whom is age 62 or older, or disabled, and who is an applicant or borrower; or

(3) In the case of a family where the deceased borrower or spouse was at least 62 years old or disabled, the surviving household member shall continue to be classified as an elderly family for the purpose of determining adjusted income, even though the surviving members may not meet the definition of elderly family on their own, provided:

(i) They occupied the dwelling with the deceased family member at the time of the death;

(ii) If one of the surviving family members is the spouse of the deceased family member, the family shall be classified as an elderly family only until the remarriage of the surviving spouse; and

(iii) At the time of the death of the deceased family member, the dwelling was financed under title V of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended.

Escrow account. An account to which the borrower contributes monthly payments to cover the anticipated costs of real estate taxes, hazard and flood insurance premiums, and other related costs.

Existing dwelling or unit. A dwelling or unit that has either been previously owner-occupied or has been completed for more than 1 year as evidenced by an occupancy permit, certificate of occupancy or similar document issued by the local authority.

False information. Information that the recipient knew was incorrect or should have known was incorrect that was provided or omitted for the purposes of obtaining assistance for which the recipient was not eligible.

Full-time student. A person who carries at least the minimum number of credit hours considered to be full-time by college or vocational school in which the person is enrolled.

Hazard. A condition of the property that jeopardizes the health or safety of the occupants or members of the community, that does not make it unfit for habitation. (See also the definition of major hazard in this section.)

Household. All persons expected to be living in the dwelling, except for live-in aids, foster children, and foster adults.

Housing Act of 1949, as amended. The Act which provides the authority for the direct single family housing programs. It is codified at 42 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.

HUD. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Inaccurate information. Incorrect information inadvertently provided, used, or omitted without the intent to obtain benefits for which the recipient was not eligible.

Indian reservation. All land located within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States notwithstanding the issuance of any patent and including rights-of-way running through the reservation; trust or restricted land located within the boundaries of a former reservation of a federally recognized Indian tribe in the State of Oklahoma; or all Indian allotments, the titles to which have not been extinguished, if such allotments are subject to the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Interest credit. A payment subsidy available to certain eligible section 502 borrowers that reduces the effective interest rate of a loan (see 3550.68(d)). Borrowers receiving interest credit will continue to receive it on all current and future loans for as long as they remain eligible for and continue to receive a subsidy. Borrowers who cease to be eligible for interest credit can never receive interest credit again, but may receive payment assistance if they again qualify for a payment subsidy.

Junior lien. A security instrument or a judgment against the security property to which the RHS debt instrument is superior.

Legal alien. For the purposes of this part, legal alien refers to any person lawfully admitted to the country who meets the criteria in section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. 1436a.

Leveraged loan. An affordable housing product loan or grant to an Agency borrower property, closed simultaneously with an RHS loan. Affordable leveraged loans are characterized by long term (not less than 30 years), amortized payments with a note interest rate equal to or less than 3 percent .

Live-in aide. A person who lives with an elderly or disabled person and is essential to that person's care and well-being, not obligated for the person's support, and would not be living in the unit except to provide the support services.

Low income. An adjusted income limit developed in consultation with HUD under 42 U.S.C. 1437a(b)(2)(D).

Major hazard. A condition so severe that it makes the property unfit for habitation. (See also the definition of hazard in this section.)

Manufactured home. A structure that is built to Federally Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard and RHS Thermal Performance Standards. It is transportable in 1 or more sections, which in the traveling mode is 10-body feet (3.048 meters) or more in width, and when erected on site is 400 or more square feet (37.16 square meters), and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. It is designed and constructed for permanent occupancy by a single family and contains permanent eating, cooking, sleeping, and sanitary facilities. The plumbing, heating, and electrical systems are contained in the structure. A permanent foundation is required.

Market value. The value of the property as determined by a current appraisal, RHS may authorize the use of a Broker's Price Opinion or similar instrument to determine market value in limited servicing situations.

Mobile home. A manufactured unit often referred to as a “trailer,” designed to be used as a dwelling, but built prior to the enactment of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-399) enacted October 8, 1980.

Moderate income. An adjusted income that does not exceed the moderate income limit for the guaranteed single family housing loan program authorized by Section 502(h) of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended.

Modest housing. A property that is considered modest for the area, has a market value that does not exceed the applicable maximum loan limit as established by RHS in accordance with § 3550.63, and is not designed for income producing activities. Existing properties with in-ground pools may be considered modest; however, in-ground pools with new construction or with properties which are purchased new are prohibited.

Modular or panelized home. Housing, constructed of one or more factory-built sections or panels, which, when completed, meets or exceeds the requirements of the recognized development standards (model building codes) for site built housing, and which is designed to be permanently connected to a site-built foundation.

Moratorium. A period of up to 2 years during which scheduled payments are not required, but are subject to repayment at a later date.

Mortgage. A form of security instrument or consensual lien on real property including a real estate mortgage or a deed of trust.

National average area loan limit. Across the nation, the average area loan limit as specified in § 3550.63(a). The national average is considered when determining the maximum packaging fee permitted under the certified loan application packaging process under the section 502 program.

Net family assets. The value of assets available to a household that could be used towards housing costs. Net family assets are considered in the calculation of annual income and are used to determine whether the household must make additional cash contributions to improve or purchase the property.

Net recovery value. The market value of the security property minus anticipated expenses of liquidation, acquisition, and sale as determined by RHS.

New dwelling or unit. A dwelling that is to be constructed, or a dwelling that is less than 1 year old as evidenced by an occupancy permit, certificate of occupancy or similar document issued by the local authority and has never been occupied.

Nonprogram (NP) interest rate. The interest rate offered by RHS for loans made on NP terms.

NP property. Property that does not meet the program eligibility requirements outlined in §§ 3550.56 and 3550.57.

NP terms. Credit terms available from RHS when the applicant or property is not program-eligible.

Offset. Deductions to pay a debt owed to RHS from a borrower's retirement benefits, salary, income tax refund, or payments from other federal agencies to the borrower. Deductions from retirement benefits and salary generally apply only to current and former federal employees.

Participant. For the purpose of reviews and appeals, a participant is any individual or entity who has applied for, or whose right to participate in or receive a payment, loan, or other benefit is affected by an RHS decision.

Payment assistance. A payment subsidy available to eligible section 502 borrowers that reduces the effective interest rate of a loan (see § 3550.68(c)). Borrowers eligible for a payment subsidy receive payment assistance unless they are currently eligible for and receive interest credit. There are two methods of payment assistance. Payment assistance method 1 is found at 3550.68(c)(2). Payment assistance method 2 is found at 3550.68(c)(1).

Payment subsidy. A general term for subsidies which reduce the borrower's scheduled payment. It refers to either payment assistance or interest credit.

Person with disability. Any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

PITI ratio. The amount paid by the borrower for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI), divided by repayment income.

Principal reduction attributed to subsidy (PRAS). Accelerated principal reduction that can occur when a borrower receives a reduced interest rate through a payment subsidy.

Principal residence. The home domicile physically occupied by the owner on a permanent basis (i.e., lives there for the majority of the year and is the address of record for such activities as Federal income tax reporting, voter registration, occupational licensing, etc.).

Prior lien. A security instrument or a judgment against the security property that is superior to the RHS debt instrument.

Program-eligible applicant. Any applicant meeting the eligibility requirements described in § 3550.53.

Program-eligible property. A property eligible to be financed under this part, as determined by the criteria listed in §§ 3550.56 through 3550.59.

Program terms. Credit terms that are available only to program-eligible applicants for program-eligible properties.

Property. The land, dwelling, and related facilities for which the applicant will use RHS assistance.

Protective advances. Costs incurred by the Agency to protect the security interest of the Government that are charged to the borrower's account.

Qualified employer. An affordable housing nonprofit organization, public agency, tribal housing authority, or State Housing Finance Agency that meets the requirements outlined in § 3550.75(b)(2) and is involved in the certified loan application packaging process under the section 502 program.

Real estate taxes. Taxes and the annual portion of assessments estimated to be due and payable on the property, reduced by any available tax exemption.

Recapture amount. An amount of subsidy to be repaid by the borrower upon disposition or nonoccupancy of the property.

Recipient. Any applicant, borrower, or grant recipient who applies for or receives assistance under the section 502 or 504 programs.

REO. The acronym for “Real Estate Owned.” It refers to property for which RHS holds title.

Repayment income. Used to determine whether an applicant has the ability to make monthly loan payments. Repayment income includes amounts excluded for the purpose of determining adjusted income. See § 3550.54 for a complete description.

RHS. The Rural Housing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or its successor agency, formerly the Rural Housing and Community Development Service (RHCDS), a successor agency to the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA).

RHS employee. Any employee of RHS, or any employee of the Rural Development mission area who carries out grant or loan origination or servicing functions for the section 502 or 504 programs.

RHS interest rate. The unsubsidized interest rate offered by RHS for loans made on program terms.

Rural area. An area defined in section 520 of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended.

Rural Development. A mission area within USDA which includes RHS, Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS).

Scheduled payment. The monthly or annual installment on a promissory note plus escrow (if required), as modified by any payment subsidy agreement, delinquency workout agreement, other documented agreements between RHS and the borrower, or protective advances.

Secured loan. A loan that is collateralized by property so that in the event of a default on the loan, the property may be sold to satisfy the debt.

Security property. All the property that serves as collateral for an RHS loan.

Subsidy. Interest credit, payment assistance, or deferred mortgage assistance received by a borrower under the section 502 or 504 programs.

Total debt ratio. The amount paid by the borrower for PITI and any recurring monthly debt, divided by repayment income.

Unauthorized assistance. Any loan, payment subsidy, deferred mortgage payment, or grant for which there was no regulatory authorization or for which the recipient was not eligible.

U.S. citizen. An individual who resides as a citizen in any of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, or the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

USDA. The United States Department of Agriculture.

Unsecured loan. A loan evidenced only by the borrower's promissory note.

Value appreciation. The current market value of the property minus: the balance due prior lienholders, the unpaid balance of the RHS debt, unreimbursed closing costs (if any), principal reduction, the original equity (if any) of the borrower, and the value added by capital improvements.

Very low-income. An adjusted income limit developed in consultation with HUD under 42 U.S.C. 1437a(b)(2)(D).

Veterans' preference. A preference extended to a veteran applying for a loan or grant under this part, or the families of deceased servicemen, who meet the criteria in 42 U.S.C. 1477.

[61 FR 59779, Nov. 22, 1996; 61 FR 65266, Dec. 11, 1996, as amended at 67 FR 78329, Dec. 24, 2002; 70 FR 6552, Feb. 8, 2005; 72 FR 73255, Dec. 27, 2007; 73 FR 49592, Aug. 22, 2008; 79 FR 74016, Dec. 15, 2014; 80 FR 23678, Apr. 29, 2015; 84 FR 29038, June 21, 2019; 87 FR 6770, Feb. 7, 2022]