Affordable Compliance: A Disappointing 2013 With Brighter Prospects for 2014

Jed Graef, Bostonpost Product Manager, provides the latest information on the upcoming TRACS 202D affordable housing industry specification update. For more on the pending TRACS 202D changes, read Jed’s previous post or you can click here for a complete list of Jed’s continuing TRACS 202D coverage.

In many ways 2013 was the compliance year that wasn’t.

TRACS 202D failed to be released because of delays in approving new and changed HUD forms by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  In addition, the release of HUD Handbook 4350.3 REV 1, Change 4 in August forced changes to TRACS 202D as a result of foster children and adults being considered as full family members for income limit and deduction purposes. This change also impacts tax credit projects as they are subject to HUD Section 8 rules in determining income.

HUD was supposed to issue quick implementation guidance for the new Change 4 of the 4350.3.  However the government shutdown seems to have derailed those plans and only on December 10 was a new transmittal posted, giving owner/agents (OAs) until December 15 to implement the handbook changes.  The date of the transmittal was November 27. There is an exception for items requiring a software update (the foster changes).  Those have a new deadline of March 1 with the possibility for an extension due to TRACS incompatibility.

apartmentsOn the tax credit front, a handful of new states have moved to make their tenant income certifications (TICs) compatible with the HUD data collection requirements and a couple of new states are moving to electronic collection of TIC data, thereby removing the need for reporting manually or with spreadsheets. However much more needs to be done in this area.

HUD and tax credit income limits were supposed to be released on December 1 but were not posted as of the 11th.  Expectations are for a release soon and the likely cause for the delay is the government shutdown.  Once those numbers are out, the USDA and HOME limits can be developed.  They are usually published within 30-90 days of the HUD release.

The Rental Policy Working Group (RPWG) is comprised of representatives from HUD multifamily, HUD Public and Indian Housing, USDA and the IRS.  It is charged for looking for ways to make the various affordable housing programs play better together and to find ways to save money for OAs and the government. This group largely went dark during 2013 and has not published any new ideas or initiatives.  They are said to be working on a common set of household member relation codes to use across programs and common rounding rules for income and assets. A common TIC or at least a common TIC section for household member and income information is also supposed to be under consideration. There is also a desire to propose a common student rule for Congress to implement in statute.

On the positive side, HUD began rolling out new multifamily subsidy programs.  RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) provides for public housing projects to be converted to multifamily Section 8 and for RAP and Rent Supplement contracts to convert to public housing project based vouchers.  SPRAC (Senior Project Rental Assistance Contract) provides funding for seniors.  Both RAD and SPRAC are considered Section 8.  The 811 PRA (Project Rental Assistance) Demo program disabled households.  It is a new multifamily subsidy type.

For 2014, however, prospects for action on multiple fronts are brighter.

 

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