Multifamily Housing:

Issues Facing the Congress in Assessing HUD's Portfolio Reengineering Proposal

T-RCED-96-231: Published: Jul 26, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) efforts to reengineer its multifamily rental housing portfolio. GAO noted that: (1) the portfolio's excessive subsidy costs, high exposure to insurance loss, and poor physical condition stem from program design flaws, HUD dual role as loan insurer and rental subsidy provider, and weaknesses in HUD oversight and management; (3) in 1995, HUD proposed allowing property owners to set rents at market levels, terminating Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance, and replacing project-based rent subsidies with portable tenant-based subsidies; (4) although the proposal could lower mortgage debt, it would result in substantial FHA insurance claims; (5) HUD has made several proposal changes in 1996 due to concerns about the lack of data, effects on properties and existing residents, and the long-term financial impact on the government; (6) a 1996 contractor's report confirmed that most properties have assisted rents that are higher than estimated market rents and significant maintenance and capital improvement needs; (7) the study also indicates that most portfolio properties need to have their debt reduced to continue operating; and (8) reengineering issues requiring congressional consideration include HUD portfolio management problems, FHA insurance for restructured loans, project- versus tenant-based rent subsidies, protection for displaced households, inclusion of properties with below-market rents, mortgage restructuring, government financing of rehabilitation costs, and property owners' tax relief.

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