Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide Updates

Posted On: May 11, 2023

Nitira Mickel, Lead Contract Management Specialist

What You Need to Know

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plays a crucial role in providing affordable housing options through its Section 8 program. Recently, HUD has implemented significant changes to Chapter 9 of the Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide. These updates aim to streamline processes and enhance cost efficiency for owners while ensuring the integrity of the program. In this blog post, we will delve into the key changes and their implications for owners and participants in the Section 8 program.

Alternative Methods to a Rent Comparability Study

One notable update involves introducing two alternative methods to a Rent Comparability Study (RCS). These methods provide owners with cost-effective options for submitting RCS:

  • Method One: Designed for owners seeking an Option 2 contract renewal or fifth-year rent adjustment, this method involves comparing the proposed Section 8 rent to the Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR). By aligning rents with SAFMR, owners can ensure fair pricing based on local market conditions.
  • Method Two: Available for owners requesting an Option 1 or 2 contract renewal or fifth-year rent adjustment, this method entails comparing the proposed Section 8 rents to the rents charged for comparable, unassisted units within the same project. This approach allows for a more accurate assessment of rental rates within the specific project.
New Mandatory Market Rent Threshold

HUD has revised the mandatory market rent threshold to ensure it better reflects the current market conditions. Instead of relying on the HUD 140% median gross rent, the new threshold is now set at 150% of the SAFMR gross rent for the property’s Zip code. This adjustment aligns rents more closely with the local market and promotes fair pricing standards.

HUD-Commissioned RCS (3rd Party RCS)

To maintain consistency and accuracy in rent assessments, HUD has introduced requirements for HUD-commissioned RCS in specific situations. If an owner’s RCS gross rents exceed 150% of the SAFMR, a HUD-commissioned RCS becomes necessary. Similarly, for the Chapter 15 process, a HUD-commissioned RCS is mandatory if the AS-IS or Post REHAB gross rents exceed 150% of the SAFMR gross. It’s important to note that a HUD-commissioned RCS cannot be appealed, although owners can bring factual discrepancies or errors to HUD’s attention.

Chapter 15 Capital Repairs Program

Chapter 9 also brings clarity to services added during the capital repairs process. While planned services can be included in the RCS, they require HUD’s approval. Once approved, failure by the owner to implement the described services may lead to a reduction in project rents. This measure ensures that the funds allocated for repairs are utilized effectively and the intended improvements are made.

Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide: A Significant Step

HUD’s recent updates to Chapter 9 of the Section 8 Renewal Policy Guidebook mark a significant step towards enhancing efficiency and fairness in the Section 8 program. The alternative methods to a Rent Comparability Study offer owners flexibility, while the new mandatory market rent threshold ensures rents are aligned with local market conditions. The introduction of HUD-commissioned RCS and clarifying services in the capital repairs process aim to streamline operations and maintain program integrity.

These changes reflect HUD’s commitment to optimizing the Section 8 program to better serve both owners and participants. By providing clear guidelines and cost-efficient options, HUD aims to support affordable housing initiatives nationwide.

To learn more about these updates and access the Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide, including the Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR). Please visit HUD’s Section 8 Contract Renewals Page.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or financial advice



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