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CARES Act information for multifamily properties

Information about CARES Act eviction moratorium for tenants, owners, and agents of FHA-insured Multifamily properties and HUD Multifamily-assisted properties.

Note: For provisions pertaining to USDA Rural Housing direct or guaranteed Multifamily properties, see USDA Rural Development COVID-19 Resources .

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Properties applicable to the CARES Act

What types of properties does the CARES Act eviction moratorium apply to?

Effective March 27, 2020, property owners are required to cease starting new actions against tenants of covered dwellings for 120 days on both FHA-insured Multifamily properties and HUD Multifamily-assisted properties. Further, they must waive late payment fees and charges during this time for nonpayment of rent.

Does the ban on evictions apply to HUD Multifamily assisted housing properties or to HUD Multifamily properties with an FHA-insured mortgage?

All HUD Multifamily assisted housing properties as well as HUD Multifamily properties with an FHA insured mortgage are covered under Section 4024 of the CARES Act. Therefore, the moratorium on evictions would apply to private owners of properties that either receive housing assistance payments under a Multifamily assisted housing program or those with an FHA-insured mortgage.

Does the ban on evictions apply to all tenants or only those tenants whose employment has been affected by the COVID-19 National Emergency?

The temporary moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent, as well as a moratorium on charging fees and penalties related to nonpayment of rent apply regardless if employment was directly or indirectly linked to COVID-19. The moratorium applies to properties that have federally backed mortgages or participate in certain federal housing subsidies.

(Note: This information describes how the CARES Act applies to tenants in FHA-insured Multifamily properties and HUD Multifamily-assisted properties. If you are not a tenant in this type of property, see the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s multifamily housing lookup tool to see what relief provisions apply.

Can an owner or agent still evict a perpetrator of domestic violence or criminal activity? Can an owner or agent still evict a perpetrator of domestic violence or criminal activity? Can an owner or agent evict for other lease violations?

Yes. The eviction moratorium found in Section 4024(b) of the CARES Act only applies to evictions related to non-payment of rent or non-payment of other charges. The moratorium also prohibits the charging of other fees, penalties, or other charges due to the non-payment of rent. Protections under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (P.L. 113-4) remain in effect. Owners and agents should consult Housing Notice 2017-05 for more information about the housing rights of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking under VAWA.

Resident health and access to property

If a resident tests positive for COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized, what happens when the resident is discharged from the hospital and needs to quarantine at home - is there a HUD policy that prohibits residents from returning to their homes until they receive a negative test result?

No, there is no HUD prohibition against a resident returning to their unit until a negative test is received. HUD encourages owners and agents of HUD-assisted multifamily properties to coordinate and cooperate with local health care professionals and officials to ensure a safe transition from one location to another.

If a person under quarantine has additional family members who need to be kept separate, what are a property manager’s options for meeting those needs? What if managers are being asked to use vacant units for quarantine?

Resident requests to occupy vacant units or temporarily relocate should be verified before being granted. Verification could include written communication from a medical health professional or through communication with the local health department. Managers may use electronic and telephonic communication to perform verification.

Can visitors be banned or restricted from a HUD-assisted property?

Owners and agents of HUD-assisted multifamily properties may have the authority to restrict visitors and should review state and local laws to determine the permissibility of banning visitors. If an owner or agent plans to implement a visitor restriction or ban through amended policies or house rules, HUD recommends it be done as part of a broader, publicly announced plan to respond to the COVID-19 National Emergency. Owners should consider that residents will still need to receive essential services, such as food deliveries, medications, and personal care assistants (PCAs). Restrictions should track with CDC guidance and recommendations from state or local health officials. Owners are also reminded that they must continue to adhere to Fair Housing Act requirements in implementation of such restrictions.

Income recertifications

Are household payments under the CARES Act reportable as tenant income?

Economic Impact Payments (which are technically an advance payment of a tax credit that may be claimed on a 2020 tax return) and the temporary weekly federal enhancement to unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act are not to be included in calculations of income. However, HUD notes that regular payments of unemployment insurance (issued by the state) are treated as income, as is customary under program rules.

Will impacted residents still have to complete annual recertification and interim certification for lost income?

HUD statute and regulations require family income to be reviewed at least annually to determine the amount paid by the family for the assisted unit. Owners must continue to perform annual and interim recertifications, as requested by tenants, within the required timeframes and using current/anticipated data. Annual recertifications must not use previous year’s income to determine rent and assistance, except in instances when using streamlined income determinations.

Considering the current COVID-19 emergency, there may be extenuating circumstances that impede owners and tenants from complying with interim and annual recertification requirements. HUD considers the CDC’s recommendations for controlling the spread of the virus as well as shelter-in-place and similar orders as qualifying as an extenuating circumstance. Tenants experiencing extenuating circumstances due to the COVID-19 virus can provide the owner with documentation for the recertification by email or other electronic delivery at the owner’s discretion. Documentation includes, but is not limited to, paystubs, (Social Security) SS/Supplemental Social Security (SSI)/State Supplemental Program (SSP) awards, bank statements, and public assistance documents. If electronic documentation is received by the owner, and original documents are required by HUD policy, the owner must collect the original documents from the tenant at a later date.

HUD will allow assisted tenants that may have lost income due to COVID-19 to self-certify for annual or interim recertifications. Family certification can be used if the information cannot be verified by another acceptable verification method; however, when family certification is used, owners must document the tenant file to explain why third-party verification was not available. During the COVID-19 National emergency, this certification can be provided to the owner by other means such as mail or email. HUD will allow alternate signatures (e.g. copies or images of signatures sent by email, fax, or other electronic means) as long as original, “wet” signatures are obtained at a later date.

Can a resident who is unemployed or furloughed continue to receive an income deduction for childcare expenses?

Yes, the resident can continue to receive a deduction for reasonable childcare expenses if the parent/guardian/caretaker continues to have childcare expenses. HUD regulations under 24 CFR 5.611(a) permit a deduction for unreimbursed childcare expense to enable a family member to seek employment, be employed, or further his/her education.

Property Inspections and maintenance

In light of concerns about site visits to HUD properties, what is the status of REAC inspections on MFH properties?

Until further notice, Multifamily is postponing all REAC property inspections for all HUD-assisted multifamily properties. Where there is an exigent circumstance or reason to believe that there is a threat to life or property at a specific location, inspections will be conducted by HUD quality assurance inspectors in compliance with CDC guidelines.

Maintenance employees who need to enter resident units for service calls are concerned that residents may be ill with COVID-19. Can they ask tenants if they have COVID-19 symptoms before entering a unit? Can non-essential repairs be postponed?

Maintenance employees and other staff can ask a resident if it is safe to enter a unit before entering. Owner/management staff who do not feel safe should not enter a tenant’s unit. Residents suspected of having an unreported illness should be referred to a medical provider and/or local health officials.

The deferral of non-essential or non-health and safety repairs should be made on a unit-by-unit basis. If the repair is necessary for health and safety of residents and the staff person is not comfortable entering the unit as a result of a potential COVID-19 exposure, owner/management should consult local health guidance regarding the appropriate precautions to take.

Page last modified: July 1, 2020