SC State Housing Finance and Development Authority – Public Notice

Posted 04/20/2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HUD published Notice PIH 2020-05 on April 10, 2020 which provides waivers and alternative requirements for numerous statutory and regulatory requirements for the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP). The waivers provide administrative flexibilities and relief to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. In order to continue to provide for the health, safety, and well-being of our staff and customers and to effectively administer our HCVP, SC Housing has adopted the following waivers and alternative requirements that have a direct impact on our customers:

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection Requirement – Biennial Inspections

Statutory Authority: Section 8(o)(D) of the USHA of 1937
Regulatory Authority: 24 CFR §§ 982.405(a), 983.103(d)

Description: The statute and the regulations require the PHA to inspect the unit not less often than biennially during the term of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract. HUD is waiving this requirement and is allowing PHAs to delay biennial inspections of units. All delayed biennial inspections must be completed as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than October 31, 2020.

Period of Availability: The period of availability ends on October 31, 2020.

SC Housing actions: Once normal operations have resumed, SC Housing will schedule and provide written notice to participants and landlords of the required inspections. Both parties are reminded of their requirement to continue to maintain the unit in accordance with HQS requirements.

HQS Interim Inspections (Also called Special Inspections)

Statutory Authority: Section 8(o)(8)(F) of the USHA of 1937
Regulatory Authority: 24 CFR §§ 982.405(g), 983.103(e)

Description: The statute requires that upon notification to the PHA by a family or government official that the assisted unit does not comply with the HQS, the PHA must inspect the unit within 24 hours of when the PHA received the notification if the condition is life-threatening. 24 CFR 982.405(g) provides that if the reported condition is not life threatening, the PHA must inspect the unit within 15 days. The regulation further provides that in the event of extraordinary circumstances HUD may waive the 24-hour or the 15-day inspection requirement until such time as an inspection is feasible. HUD is waiving these requirements and establishing an alternative requirement for HCVP units. If the reported deficiency is life-threatening, the PHA must notify the owner of the reported life-threatening deficiency and that the owner must either correct the life-threatening deficiency within 24 hours of the PHA notification or provide documentation (e.g., text or email a photo to the PHA) that the reported deficiency does not exist. In the case of a reported non-life-threatening deficiency, the PHA must notify the owner of the reported deficiency within 30 days and the owner must either make the repair or document that the deficiency does not exist within 30 days of the PHA notification or any approved PHA extension.

Period of Availability: The period of availability ends on July 31, 2020. After July 31, 2020, the PHA must conduct the HQS inspection in accordance with the applicable time periods upon notification by a family or government official that the assisted unit does not comply with the HQS.

SC Housing actions: SC Housing will require the landlord to provide photo verification that the repair has been completed or that it did not exist. Failure to comply will result in the HAP being abated until the unit is in compliance with HQS unless it is determined the deficiency is tenant caused which will not result in abatement but will still require photo verification within the prescribed time frame.

HQS Quality Control Inspections

Regulatory Authority: 24 CFR § 982.405(b)

Description: The regulations require PHAs to conduct supervisory quality control inspections of a sampling of units under contract. HUD is waiving this regulatory requirement.

Period of Availability: The period of applicability ends on October 31, 2020.

SC Housing requirement: SC Housing will reinstitute HQS QC inspections in conjunction with completing all the FY2021 SEMAP requirements.

Housing Quality Standards; Space and Security

Regulatory Authority: § 982.401(d)

Description: The regulation establishes a minimum standard for adequate space for an HCVP assisted family. Specifically, it requires that each dwelling unit have at least 1 bedroom or living/sleeping room for each 2 persons. HUD is waiving this requirement for PHAs where the PHA wishes to assist a current participant that needs to add a member or members to the assisted household as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the additional family members would result in the unit not meeting the space and security standards. This provision does not apply to an initial or new lease. A participant must not enter into a new lease for a unit that does not comply with the space and security standards.

Period of availability: For any family occupying a unit that does not meet the space and security requirements pursuant to this waiver, the waiver will be in effect for the duration of the current lease term or one year from the date of the HUD notice, whichever period of time is longer.

SC Housing requirements: SC Housing will follow-up with the family and landlord at least 30 days before the lease term ends to determine if a new lease will be offered or the one year date.

Automatic Termination of HAP contract

Regulatory Authority: 24 CFR § 982.455

Description: When an HCV family’s income increases to the extent that the housing assistance payment is reduced to $0, PHAs are required by this regulation to automatically terminate HAP contracts 180 days after the last housing assistance payment to the owner. In recognition that the COVID-19 emergency is creating economic and employment instability for many families, as well as situations where families may on a temporary basis be adding members whose additional income may result in a $0 HAP subsidy calculation, HUD is waiving this requirement. As an alternative requirement, the PHA, upon written notice to the owner and family, may extend the period of time following the last payment to the owner that triggers the automatic termination of the HAP contract. The extension beyond the normally applicable 180 days is determined by the PHA but may not extend beyond December 31, 2020.

Period of Availability: The period of availability for the extension ends December 31, 2020. The PHA may not extend the HAP contract beyond December 31, 2020.

SC Housing requirement: SC Housing will provide written notice to all families and landlords that are currently in $0 HAP that the termination date has been extended to 12/31/2020. All families that enter $0 HAP status effective 8/1/2020 or later will be under the original 180 day requirement.

If you have further questions or comments, please contact Carl Bowen or Ron Phillips.

Carl Bowen, Director of Rental Assistance and Compliance
Office: 803.896.8670
Fax: 803.551.4870

Ron Phillips, Assistant Director Voucher Program
Office: 803.896.8671

You may also mail your concerns to
SC Housing
300-C Outlet Pointe Blvd.
Columbia, SC 29210