Remind Residents of Their Rent Responsibilities During COVID Crisis
On April 24, HUD published a resource addressing tenant rent concerns during the temporary COVID-19 evictions ban. The brochure applies to assisted and insured housing programs administered by HUD’s Office of MFH Programs. The brochure doesn’t apply to participants in the Public Housing program; it also doesn’t apply to the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation program or the Housing Choice Voucher program, except in multifamily housing properties with FHA-insured mortgages.
The HUD brochure discusses steps residents can take in case of lost income during the COVID-19 national emergency, provides local contact information, and explains the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act. The brochure is a good resource for residents, and HUD encourages owners to share the resource widely and suggests emailing it to residents and posting it in lobby, laundry, or meeting areas. The brochure can be found at https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/Housing/documents/MF_Tenant_Concerns_COVID-19_Brochure.pdf. Here’s a summary of the information provided in the brochure.
Rent payments. Many tenants have lost income or community support due the economic and social impacts of COVID-19. HUD’s brochure outlines some expanded options and protections that residents have, but states clearly that rent is still due during this crisis.
Financial hardship. Residents receiving HUD-funded rental assistance may have the option to reduce their rent payment if their income has decreased. HUD’s resource includes information about rent reduction options through an interim income recertification or through a hardship exemption. To preserve the safety of both residents and site staff during this critical time, HUD has made electronic document and signature options available for processing the paperwork for reduced rent payments.
Evictions. Many residents have had questions about the evictions moratorium in effect from March 27 to July 25, 2020. The HUD brochure outlines rent protections and ongoing responsibilities of residents in HUD-assisted or FHA-insured communities during the moratorium. The brochure clarifies that new evictions or late fees can’t be assessed when a resident doesn’t pay her rent during the 120 days, and discusses what types of evictions can still be filed by landlords or owners.
Because the eviction protections end on July 25, the brochure encourages tenants who can pay their rent to keep paying it, and to report reduced income or set up a payment agreement to help avoid an eviction once the moratorium is over.
Scam protection, property conditions. The brochure also discusses scam protections for residents and concerns about property conditions. Residents can also use the brochure to find contact information for the housing authorities across the country.