Multifamily Housing:

Better Direction and Oversight by HUD Needed for Properties Sold With Rent Restrictions

RCED-95-72: Published: Mar 22, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) procedures for implementing a rent-restriction alternative for the disposition of multifamily properties, focusing on: (1) HUD instructions to its field offices and property purchasers on implementing the alternative; (2) HUD instructions to field offices on monitoring purchasers' compliance with rent-restriction agreements; and (3) the expected future use of the rent-restriction alternative.

GAO found that: (1) HUD has not provided adequate instructions on how the rent-restriction alternative should be implemented; (2) HUD has inconsistently enforced its policy of filling vacant units on a first-come, first-served basis, which ensures that new property owners accept low-income households regardless of how much rental income the owners receive; (3) HUD did not require its field offices to monitor property owners' compliance with rent-restriction agreements until July 1994, since it placed a low priority on establishing monitoring requirements because few properties were sold with rent restrictions; (4) HUD plans to issue instructions clarifying program requirements by May 1, 1995; (5) changes authorized by new property disposition legislation are likely to diminish HUD use of the current rent-restriction alternative; and (6) many occupants of rent-restricted units may be required to pay rents computed as a percentage of the area median income rather than as 30 percent of their own adjusted household income.

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