HUD postpones all housing inspections during crisis

Regulation | March 13, 2020 | by Juliana Bilowich

Following a LeadingAge request, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on March 13th that the agency has postponed all property inspections and MORs, including for senior housing communities, to help limit coronavirus exposure to residents and staff.

According to HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) website, all multifamily housing and public housing inspections will be postponed until further notice, except where there is a threat to life or property at a specific location. HUD also announced on March 13 that Management and Occupancy Reviews (MORs) are also postponed until further notice.

LeadingAge strongly supports HUD’s decision to postpone in-unit property inspections and file reviews. More than 1.6 million older adults live in HUD-assisted housing, with more than 1.1 million of these households living in small, medium, and large apartment buildings. Because COVID-19 disproportionately affects older adults, HUD’s new policy will bring critical relief to at-risk senior residents by limiting entry into units during periods of quarantine or self-quarantine.

On March 6, LeadingAge sent a letter to the White House Task Force on steps that the White House and HUD should take to help affordable senior housing communities across the country prepare for COVID-19, which was recently declared a global health emergency. In the letter, and in a subsequent request to the agency, LeadingAge requested that HUD take swift action by providing communication and support to providers and residents, regulatory waivers to help elevate health priorities, and technical assistance and funding for emergency preparedness and response. On March 12, HUD released a question and answer document in response to many of the LeadingAge questions, which the agency will update regularly.

LeadingAge applauds HUD’s efforts and we recognize that housing providers and at-risk residents from across the country need more federal support. We continue to urge Congress to provide emergency funding for infectious disease preparation in senior housing, and we urge HUD to release more guidance for housing providers, including regulatory waivers, emergency supplemental funding, quarantine protocol, technical assistance, and continued access for residents to services and supplies.

LeadingAge also recommends HUD communicate with residents, or provide language to owners and agents to do so, about safety measures and to assure residents that resident protections will remain in place as the emergency situation unfolds. For more information, visit the LeadingAge COVID-19 webpage with resources for housing providers.