USDA RD Multi-Family Housing – External Questions and Answers

The USDA Rural Development National Office has made the following Stakeholder notifications:

Click here for additional guidance from USDA National Rural Development.

1. Stakeholder Notification – Updated 3/31/2020

Multi-Family Housing is taking several steps to help owners, management agents and tenants maintain quality housing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, three immediate steps are effective for Section 515 Multi-Family properties:

  • Tenant certifications due March 31, April 30 and May 31 for Multi-Family properties have been extended to June 30 with no late fees or overage charges, as allowed in Multi-Family guidance (HB-3-3560, Chapter 4, Section 4.11). This extension will allow for additional time to complete needed certifications while avoiding face-to-face meetings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived, subject to waiver authority in 7 CFR 3560.403 (c)(3).
  • Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due March 31 will be extended 30 days, as per Multi-Family guidance (HB-2-3560 Chapter 4, Section 4.16-H). USDA is exploring whether a longer extension is appropriate and will provide further guidance.
  • Current policy states that owners must process an interim recertification at the tenant’s request if there is a change in income of $50 or more per month. The owner should already have this policy in writing and apply it consistently. To the maximum extent possible, we encourage all owners to work with all tenants with impacted income to adjust rent payments.
  • USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents. At this time, no additional subsidy funding has been made available. If borrowers are temporarily unable to make loan payments, the Agency may waive late fees and enter into an official workout plan.

2. CARES Act Forbearance Request Guidance:

Memo from Nancie-Ann Bodell (Deputy Administrator MFH) to Multifamily Housing Partners:

This was sent to Stakeholders last week. A sample “USDA Rural Development COVID-19 Relief Workout Agreement” is attached to this document. (In addition, Indiana Area Staff are sending this to owners/managers.) Click here to view the memo. Click here to view the Sample COVID-19 Relief Workout Agreement.

Other Points Relating to Forbearance:

  • Borrowers do not need to submit the sample form supplied by RD, as long as their submission contains the same information. Please email the completed form to the appropriate Area Specialist.
  • This a streamlined workout plan created to address the COVID-19 emergency and is expected to be widely used. As such, the negative penalties associated with a traditional workout plan do not apply to projects with a COVID-19 relief agreement. Borrowers may still collect RTO and are not required to submit quarterly reports.
  • Agreements do not need to start April 1, 2020. They may begin May 1 or June 1 as long as the National Emergency is still in effect.

We expect External Notifications that will address the following:

  1. Questions and Answers for Owners/Managers
  2. Letter to Voucher Tenants
  3. Letter to Voucher Landlords

Unused Rental Assistance in Indiana

Do we have the authority to postpone the removal of unused RA because of the virus outbreak?

Yes, we will postpone the removal of unused RA. There is a good chance that the property will have to recertify a portion of the residents and that there will be a need for the RA. Unless instructed otherwise by National Office, we will give them another 90 days.

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