Posts Tagged ‘HUD’

Verifying Jobs Using Paystubs

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Written by Erik Whitton, Spectrum Enterprises

In August 2013 HUD released an update to the 4350.3 handbook used to define income for Section 42 LIHTC housing.  As it has now been almost a year since these changes we are seeing some noteworthy industry trends.  For instance, in June 2013 there was only 1 state (Texas) which allowed property manager to use applicant-provided paystubs to verify employment instead of contacting the employer directly for a completed Employment Verification form.  A year later (June 2014) we can now add Illinois, Georgia, Virginia, and Minnesota to that list.  I am curious to see whether more states will allow this in the coming months.

For property managers this is a big deal.  And it is a deeply polarizing concept.  I have heard many strong opinions both in favor of – and against – the allowed use of pay stubs instead of requiring 3rd party forms.

Many people in favor of this practice argue that pay stubs are more accurate in reflecting true income for applicants and tenants. Managers feel this provides better discretion on who is qualified and who is not.

An additional argument is that more and more employers do not cooperate with the request for verification.  This can slow down the process of a manager trying to lease available units.  By allowing applicants to bring pay stubs to document their income it allows them to secure housing quicker.  This benefits both the property and the family.

Many of the arguments against the allowed use of pay stubs to verify income are based on the fact that the definition of income we are required to use in certifying low income families is anticipated income for the 12 month period following move in.  Pay stubs look backwards.  They don’t reflect possible promotions, year end bonuses, raises, or seasonal shifts in scheduled work (i.e. holiday retail jobs).

Regardless of how you feel it is important to consider all points of view.  It is even more important to make sure your company has a set written policy on how to verify jobs using pay stubs.  Although your state might not currently allow this, it is possible that will change.  And it is likely you are already encountering situations where employers won’t cooperate with your verification request so you are forced to use pay stubs.  Make sure your company policy is very clear on how many pay stubs are required.  Make sure the policy shows exactly how to do the math once you collect the pay stubs.  Finally make sure all staff is fully trained on this to ensure a consistent approach.

Here is a link to a useful example.  It is not a management company procedure but instead a state agency staff document.  In California, managers are required to obtain 3rd party verification along with 3 months of pay stubs.  They have prepared this document to show managers exactly how their staff will be computing income when reviewing files:

http://www.treasurer.ca.gov/ctcac/compliance/incomeexercise.pdf

 

NAHMA XML Standard to be Modified to Accommodate HUD’s Tenant Data Collection Initiative (2008 HERA)

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Written by Paul Perpich Director of Software Developement

In order to accommodate the specific demographic data HUD is requesting, the State Housing Finance Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit Data Transfer Standard (commonly known as the NAHMA XML standard) is being modified. I have been working closely with the standards group and Michael Hollar at HUD over the past eight months on updating the standard and it looks like a final draft will be completed within the next 30 days.

What this means is that those properties that are using management system software (e.g. Yardi, Real Page, Boston Post and others) that support the NAHMA XML standard will be able to make a single transfer of tax credit data into the Spectrum End of Year software in the same manner as they are doing now and that transfer will contain the data HUD is requesting.

It is expected that the updated XML export process will be available in those management systems that support it in time for the collection and submission of 2011 TIC data. Contact your vendor for information. At Spectrum we’ll have the new standard incorporated into our End of Year software sometime during the 4th quarter of 2011.

As part of the this ongoing process, HUD is in the final phase of modifying their TIC form in order to clarify some of the data elements as well as their instructions. Below are pending changes to the form. While HUD is also making changes to the instructions that accompany the TIC form, they have not been completed and a draft is not yet available.

Initial TIC Form
Pending Updated TIC Form
Move-in Date:
LIHTC Qualification Date:
County:
Replaced with PIN:
Vacant Unit
Was Unit Vacant on December 31, 2010?  Yes;  No
(Is Yes, no other information required.)
Race:
Added – Did Not Respond
Ethnicity:
Added – Did Not Respond
Is Disabled:
Added – Did Not Respond
Part III: Gross Annual Income
Added – Individual Household Member Income is optional
Part IV: Income From Assets
Added – Individual Household Member Income is optional
Effective Date of Income Certification:
Effective Date of LIHTC Income Certification:
Household Size at Certification:
Household Size at LIHTC Certification:
Household Meets Income Restriction at:
 60%• 50%    40%• 30%  ____%
Household Meets LIHTC Income Restriction at:
 50% AMGI;
 60% AMGI
Household Income at Move-in:
Household Income at LIHTC Qualification Date:
Household Size at Move-in:
Household Size at LIHTC Qualification Date:
Maximum Rent Limit for this unit:
Maximum LIHTC Rent for this Unit:
Unit Meets Rent Restriction at:
 60%• 50%    40%• 30%  ____%
Unit Meets LIHTC Rent Restriction at:    50% AMGI;
 60% AMGI
Part VII. Student Status
Added – #6. Extended-Use Period
Next time I will be covering how we’ll be implementing more extensive help and tutorials in our End of Year software including complete information on the HUD data requirements.

HUD’s Tenant Data Collection Initiative (2008 HERA)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Written by Paul Perpich, Director of Software Development

Greetings and welcome to my first blog entry on our updated web site! I’m excited to have an opportunity to communicate directly with you about our End of Year Reporting software as well as upcoming changes you can expect to see. I’ll also be providing tips on the use of our software as well as industry news regarding the data we need to collect as part of our compliance monitoring activities. Please stay tuned…

The 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) included a provision directing state HFAs to collect and submit to HUD demographic and economic information on tenants living in LIHTC properties. The first set of tenant data was for 2009 and initially needed to be submitted to HUD by September 31, 2010. HUD first released it’s XML data specification documents and technical instructions in July of 2010 and continued to updated them until September. Consequently, they moved the deadline back to October 31st.

We were able to work closely with Mike Hollar at HUD on finalizing and testing our submissions to their new web site and were able to compile and successfully submit final tenant data for our client state FHAs by the deadline (HUD letter to Spectrum).

The two primary reasons we were able to meet this deadline for the 2009 data (as well as the upcoming 2010 submission) is that HUD relaxed some of the requirements regarding what was to be submitted in the first year(s) of the mandate and the reduced data they are accepting has been part of the data set we collect every year in our End of Year Status Report software that property managers use to report to Spectrum as part of their annual compliance requirements. Things will change for the 2011 data.

Starting with 2011 data HUD will be raising the bar regarding the data that needs to be collected. For example, for 2009/10 they didn’t specifically require demographic data (name, DOB, race, ethnicity, disability status, student status, and last four digits of the social security number) on each member of the household and only required a Head of Household name. For 2011 they will require demographic information on all household members.

Collection of this demographic data has become a sensitive issue for some states and consequently HUD has modified the options for some of the questions. For example, HUD’s original TIC form only included a Yes or No answer to the Disabled question and include the following instructions regarding identifying disability:

“The housing credit agency administering its low-income housing credit program must, to the best of its ability, provide this disability status information, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1437z-8. However, it is the tenant’s voluntary choice whether to provide such information, and questions to the tenant requesting the information must so state. If the tenant declines to provide the information, the housing credit agency shall use its best efforts to provide the information, such as by noting the appearance of a physical disability that is readily apparent and obvious, or by relying on a past year’s information. For purposes of gathering this information, no questions with respect to the nature or severity of the disability are appropriate.”

For 2011 and beyond HUD has modified the available answers to include ‘Did Not Respond’ to the Race, Ethnicity and Disability Status questions.

Consequently, our End of Year Reporting software will be updated to include these and other new requirements and will be released in the fourth quarter of 2011. Keep in mind that the data HUD is requesting is the status of the project as of December 31st. What this means to property mangers in Spectrum’s client states is that they’ll continue to enter and submit data with our End of Year software in their usual manner and on their same schedule during the first quarter of 2012 (either hand entering or importing XML files from their management software systems) only they’ll be using an updated version of the software.

Next time I’ll be covering changes to the NAHMA XML standard (to accommodate the new HUD data) used by  property management software systems to import data into our software.


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