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06-01-2020: COVID-19 & Dealing With
Staff Anxiety First!
Lyn Burton, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Connections speaks on COVID-19 and Dealing With "Staff Anxiety First." Please click here for further information and access to the Women's Radio Network.
06-15-2020: Minnesota COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency
Minnesota eviction suspension: Governor Walz declared multiple Peacetime Emergencies, starting with an executive order on March 27th that suspended evictions, and several executive orders that direct Minnesotans to stay at home, until May 18th. On April 13th, Governor Walz issued an additional order to extend the peacetime emergency until May 13th. On May 13th, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-53 extending the peacetime emergency 30 days until June 12, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to intensify in Minnesota therefore the Legislature adjourned its regular session on May 17, 2020, on June 10, 2020, Governor Waltz issued a proclamation calling the Legislature into a special session beginning June 12, 2020. The Minnesota COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency is now extended through July 13, 2020 for all Minnesota properties. This means the suspension of evictions currently remains in place until then. Please click on the link for specifics on the updated Emergency Executive Order 20-75.
Federal CARES Act: eviction moratorium operates by restricting lessors of covered properties from filing new eviction actions for non-payment of rent, and prohibits “charg[ing] fees, penalties, or other charges to the tenant related to such nonpayment of rent.” Sec. 4024(b). The federal moratorium also provides that a lessor (of a covered property) may not evict a tenant after the moratorium expires except on 30 days’ notice—which may not be given until after the moratorium period.
Evictions Covered properties include:
Properties covered in Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and must follow the Federal CARES Act:
*HUD assisted – Section 8, Section 811, HOME, NHTF, Section 202, Housing Choice Vouchers
*Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC)
Properties with federally backed mortgages (including HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).
The federal moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent or related fees in “Eviction Covered Properties” took effect on March 27, 2020 and extends for 120 days until July 24, 2020.
The federal eviction moratorium does NOT affect:
Evictions that were filed before the moratorium started or that are filed after it ends.
Cases where the eviction is based on reasons other than non-payment of rent or non-payment of other fees or charges.
Once the moratorium ends, owners can file for evictions with 30- days’ notice and removals can be enforced for non-payment of rent.
Late Fees: A landlord of a residential building may not charge a late fee if the rent is paid after the due date, unless the tenant and landlord have agreed in writing that a late fee may be imposed. In no case may the late fee exceed eight percent of the overdue rent payment. The landlord of a residential unit may not charge a late fee for the first 60-days after the declaration of a public health emergency.
HUD’s HOME Program: HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) has issued a sample letter to HOME program owners and a sample tenant flier that Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) can use to notify property owners and tenants about the temporary eviction moratorium established by Section 4024 of the CARES Act. The sample forms attached are specific to the HOME CARES Act. For further information please visit HUD Exchange (HOME COVID-19 Guidance) page.
03-15-2020: COVID-19 Precautions
These are certainly challenging and unprecedented times we’re facing, with many unknowns ahead. But if there’s one thing that’s true about the housing industry, it’s that we get through the tough times together. Please know that we’re following the CDC recommendations surrounding COVID-19 and that the well-being of our teams, your teams and all housing communities is our top priority. We’re here for you and we’re committed to helping protect our community every way we can.
Our thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this extraordinary event and we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus.
Promoting health and safety. For everyone.
Nothing is more important than your health and safety, and the need to protect those most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
We have a very busy inspection schedule ahead of us and we have been sketching out site visit dates. At this time there are only two projects scheduled for a site visit between now and the week of April 6th. We will work directly with those projects on how to proceed with the site visit. However, because of our tight schedules we are proceeding as planned with site visits that we have scheduled after the week of April 6th. Should the protocol of social distancing and self-isolation continue past this date, we will re-evaluate our procedures.
AHC is taking multiple steps to minimize health risks to our teammates, our clients and our communities, including enhanced cleaning procedures during our visits to your offices. Unless your company implemented a “no entry” policy for units (i.e. no entry to any occupied unit unless it is an emergency), AHC will move forward with the minimal amount of inspections already scheduled. During these visits, you will notice the following precautionary measures.
1. AHC inspectors will wear gloves and shoe covers and will carry hand sanitizer. They will change gloves and/or apply hand sanitizer between each unit.
2. If a unit has or is suspected to have an occupant that is symptomatic, the AHC inspector will swap that unit with another.
3. AHC staff will bring wipes and hand sanitizer to each site visit and will wipe down all hard work surfaces. If an AHC staff person is not well, they will not go to a site visit. AHC will work with management contacts to reschedule or make other arrangements for file reviews if needed.
The IRS has not yet identified any additional guidance regarding face-to-face contact, limited ability to contact verification sources and any possible increase of requests for a review of income during annual recertification processing. Once the IRS publishes information, AHC will be sure to share its continued measures to ensure safety for all involved.
Suspension of activities & restrictions to common areas.
In response to COVID-19, AHC prepared the following format for you to follow if your company intends to restrict access to common areas and/or amenities in properties that contain SRO units (with or without kitchens and/or bathrooms).
For properties with SRO units: AHC is requesting that management companies notify AHC, in writing, of any intention to restrict access to common areas and/or amenities (with the exception of laundry facilities) in their properties that have SRO units. AHC will forward all notices to the appropriate Suballocators and/or HOME Participating Jurisdictions. One letter can cover all properties managed by your company as long as all the affected properties are included in your letter. The notice should be submitted on company letterhead and signed by someone authorized to make this type of decision.
For properties without SRO units: Suballocators and HOME PJs are giving blanket approval to restrict access to common areas and/or amenities (with the exception of laundry facilities) in properties that DO NOT have SRO units. There is no need to submit a notice to AHC if you intend to restrict these areas and/or amenities.
Please keep in mind that public health emergencies such as what we are currently experiencing can be stressful for people and communities. Be respectful and maintain privacy and confidentiality of those who may be self-quarantining, seeking healthcare and/or those who may be part of any contact investigation. Keep your residents informed by sharing accurate information and raising awareness without increasing fear.
Utility Allowance Method Change Request
In conjunction with Suballocators and Minnesota Housing, AHC has established a protocol for reviewing Owner requests to change the utility allowance methodology from the utility allowance published by the local PHA to other methods allowed by program regulations.
Please see the UA Method Change Request Process (below) for instructions on how to submit the request as well as the documents required for submission.
Due to the additional staff time required to process these requests, a separate fee will be charged to Owners for the reviews.
AHC Review Process UA Method Change Requests
AHC UA Certification
AHC UA Information [CHART UAHTC-UAHOME tab]
Income and Rent Limits
Please go to Income & Rent Limits for specific program information.
2020 Section 42 limits have been published and are effective April 01, 2020.
2020 HOME limits have been published and are effective July 01, 2020.
2020 FDIC limits have been released & became effective
April 01, 2020.
On December 6, 2018, Dr. Tom Romero presented a workshop titled: So, You Want to Be An Inclusive Housing Professional? How to Liberate Yourself from Color-Blindness
His workshop explored how and in what ways those charged with making affordable housing operational can incorporate an equity lens into their everyday work. Zeroing in on a few examples from various fields, Dr. Romero challenged us to consider a radical transformation in how we see, talk, and think about equality, diversity, affordability and justice in the clients and communities we serve.
Looking for housing?
Please see our Resources page for more info.
Fair Housing Session presentations:
Dr. Tom Romero 12/06/18: So You Want to Be An Inclusive Housing Professional? How to Liberate Yourself from Color-Blindness
Previous years' presentations:
Alyssa Wetzel-Moore: Furthering Fair Housing
Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice: Twin-Cities
Minnesota Housing Partnership AHC Conference Awards 2018 Ramsey County: Fair Housing Implementation Council
AHC is contracted with various government agencies to monitor rental property owners’ and managers’ compliance with affordable housing programs, including Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME, FDIC, and NSP. We report compliance or noncompliance to the agencies for appropriate follow-up and penalties as required.
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