HUD Updates Electronic Signatures, File Storage Guidance
On Nov. 6, HUD published Notice H 2020-10 to clarify the Electronic Signatures and Electronic File Storage guidance previously published on May 26, 2020, in Notice H 2020-04. This guidance gave owners the flexibility to use electronic signatures and documents so they could limit in-person interactions at sites. The guidance from May permits, but doesn’t require, HUD multifamily partners to use electronic signatures and electronic file transmission and retention.
The revised notice replaces the earlier guidance and provides updates to the following two sections:
- Section II(A) added another assisted Multifamily Housing program (Section 811 PRA); and
- Section VII(B)(5) revised the language regarding Independent Public Auditors and the use of EIV data.
The list of eligible multifamily housing programs was expanded with the updated notice. This notice is applicable to the following assisted multifamily housing programs and pertains to all applicants, assisted tenants, and owners and agents working with these programs:
- Project-based Section 8 programs;
- Section 202 Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contracts (SPRAC);
- Section 202/162 Project Assistance Contract (PAC);
- Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC);
- Section 811 PRAC and Project Rental Assistance (PRA);
- Rent Supplement;
- Section 236 (including RAP); and
- Section 221(d)(3)/(d)(5) Below-Market Interest Rate (BMIR).
The guidance in this notice doesn’t apply to unassisted properties with a Section 221(d)(4) mortgage, the HOME program, or to Public and Indian Housing (PIH) programs.
Independent Public Auditors
The first notice permitted Independent Public Auditors (IPAs) to access the owner or agent’s electronic files when conducting HUD financial audits. But the notice didn’t expressly state that this access didn’t apply to EIV Data.
HUD Notice H 2020-10 clarified that access is not permitted if the electronic files contain EIV data. IPAs are permitted to access EIV income information only within hard copy files and only within the owner or management agent offices.v