The pace of distributing Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) to struggling renters is picking up, but many areas still have a lot of funds available.
Yesterday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new rule to help spread awareness of these funds for many of its tenants who are facing eviction.
The interim final rule will require Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to give tenants of Public Housing and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) properties information on ERA programs before evicting.
HUD states in the Federal Register document that:
“Many tenants (including in HUD-assisted properties) may remain unaware of or do not understand how to access ERA resources, have been unable to access the funds in time, or have incorrectly believed that they need not apply for ERA because rental obligations were suspended during the eviction moratorium. Many of those tenants may be eligible for ERA, yet they are not benefiting from it, thus requiring HUD to take this further, related action.”
HUD defines PBRA tenants as participants of the following programs:
- Section 8
- Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation
- Section 202/162 Project Assistance Contract
- Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC)
- Section 811 PRAC
- Section 236 Rental Housing Assistance Program and Rent Supplement
Because this rule applies only to PBRA tenants, it does not apply to Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holders.
The new rule will also amend a standard eviction policy for PHAs.
Before this rule, a PHA could issue a 14-day written notice to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent. This new rule changes that to a 30-day written notice of eviction.
HUD says in the document that it “needs to act to prevent a wave of preventable evictions that will interfere with the orderly operation of HUD’s programs and the accomplishment of HUD’s mission.”
In the past, a final rule would go into effect 30 days after publication, and be given 60 days for public comment. But this change in policy is expected to be immediately implemented because of the seriousness of the eviction problem. HUD is giving only 30 days for public comment.
The official effective date for the interim final rule is November 8, 2021. However, Public Housing and PBRA administrators are expected to implement this change immediately.