Bill Would Change Physical Condition Standard for Small PHAs

The Senate Banking Committee recently approved the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act” (S. 2155). The bill incorporates the Protect Tenants at Foreclosure Act and the Family Self-Sufficiency Act, which provide important protections and opportunities for low-income renters.

Currently, HUD rules provide a quantitative measure to evaluate the performance of small public housing authorities (PHAs). S. 2155 eliminates this and gives HUD discretion for labeling a small PHA as “troubled.” The bill states that a small PHA may be designated as troubled if HUD determines the PHA has failed to maintain its properties “in a satisfactory physical condition,” but does not define what that entails.

The bill also postpones physical inspections for public housing for three years, unless the small PHA has been deemed troubled under the new standard. Current HUD rules allow only the highest performing small PHAs to receive a physical inspection every three years. Those PHAs categorized as standard or substandard are inspected every two years, and those rated as troubled are inspected every year.