HUD resource clarifies tenant rent responsibilities

Regulation | April 24, 2020 | by Juliana Bilowich

On April 24, HUD published a resource addressing tenant rent concerns during the temporary COVID-19 evictions ban.

The COVID-19 emergency has had far-reaching impacts on many residents and providers of affordable housing. In response to the crisis, HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing (MFH) produced a rent brochure for multifamily housing communities that lists information for residents about rent payments.

The HUD resource discusses steps residents can take in case of lost income during the COVID-19 national emergency, provides local contact information, and explains the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act. In their communication to stakeholders, HUD encouraged owners to share the resource widely and suggested emailing it to residents and posting in lobby, laundry, or meeting areas. HUD has also made translated version brochure available in Spanish, Puerto Rican Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Somali, Arabic, Thai, Tagalog,  Portugese, Farsi, and other languages.

The brochure applies to assisted and insured housing programs administered by HUD’s Office of MFH Programs. The resource does not apply to participants in the Public Housing Program; it also does not apply to the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program or the Housing Choice Voucher Program, except in multifamily housing properties with FHA-insured mortgages. Separately, USDA has made a similar rent FAQ available for rural housing residents

Rent Payments

Many tenants have lost income or community support due the economic and social impacts of COVID-19; many are concerned about how they will pay rent and for other basic needs. HUD’s brochure outlines some expanded options and protections that residents have, but states clearly that rent is still due during this crisis.

Financial Hardship

Residents receiving HUD-funded rental assistance may have the option to reduce their rent payment if their income has decreased. HUD’s resource includes information about rent reduction options through an interim income recertification or through a hardship exemption.

To preserve the safety of both residents and property staff during this critical time, HUD has made electronic document and signature options available for processing the paperwork for reduced rent payments.

Evictions

Many residents have had questions about the evictions moratorium in effect from March 27th to July 25th, 2020. The HUD rent brochure outlines rent protections and ongoing responsibilities of residents in HUD-assisted or FHA-insured communities during the moratorium.

The brochure clarifies that new evictions or late fees cannot be assessed when a resident does not pay their rent during the 120 days, and discusses what types of evictions can still be filed by landlords or owners.

Because the evictions protections end on July 25th, the brochure encourages tenants who can pay their rent to keep paying it, and to report reduced income or set up a payment agreement to help avoid an eviction once the moratorium is over.

Other Information

The brochure also discusses scam protections for residents and concerns about property conditions. Residents can also use the brochure to find contact information for the housing authorities across the country.