[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 231 (Friday, November 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71445-71446]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29036]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. 5677-N-01]


Regulatory and Administrative Waivers Granted for Multifamily 
Housing Programs To Assist With Recovery and Relief in Sandy Disaster 
Areas

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing--Federal Housing 
Commissioner, HUD.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This Notice advises the public of HUD regulations and other 
administrative requirements governing HUD's Office of Multifamily 
Housing programs that have been waived in order to facilitate the 
delivery of decent, safe, and sanitary housing under these programs to 
families and individuals who have been displaced from their housing by 
Sandy. Owners of HUD project-based Section 8 properties located in an 
area declared by the President to be a federal disaster area as a 
result of Sandy may defer compliance with the regulations listed in 
this notice for a period up to 60 days (December 2012 and January 
2013). Owners must provide notice of their decision to HUD as described 
below. Housing assistance payments made for November 2012 will remain 
unchanged.

DATES: Effective Date: November 26, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine M. Brennan, Director, Office 
of Housing Assistance and Grant Administration, Department of Housing 
and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 6138, Washington, 
DC 20410, telephone number (202) 708-3000. Persons with hearing or 
speech impairments may access these numbers via TTY by calling the 
Federal Relay Service at 1 (800) 877-8339 or by visiting http://federalrelay.us/ or http://www.federalip.us/.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background Information

    In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the 
United States causing significant damage to property, loss of life, and 
displacement of individuals and families from their homes and 
communities. The President has called upon all federal agencies to do 
everything in their power to assist the victims of Hurricane Sandy and 
to eliminate or reduce ``red tape'' that will impede the delivery of 
federal financial assistance and other needed benefits. To that end, 
this Notice identifies HUD regulations and other administrative 
requirements governing HUD's project-based Section 8 programs that may 
be waived, temporarily suspended, or deferred in an area declared by 
the President to be a federal disaster area as a result of Hurricane 
Sandy. This Notice is not applicable to the Rent Supplemental (Rent 
Supp) and RAP programs.

II. Request To Exercise Option To Receive Vacancy Claims

    Multifamily Hub Directors in the Sandy disaster areas may defer or 
suspend compliance with the regulations or other administrative 
requirements upon the effective date of this Notice. An owner who 
wishes to exercise his/her option to receive vacancy claims in 
accordance with the requirements listed in this Notice must contact the 
Hub Director in writing (email communication is encouraged) with that 
request. If an owner wishes to receive vacancy claims for both December 
2012 and January 2013, two separate written requests, one for each 
month, must be made to the Hub Director. The Hub Director will then 
verify that the units are uninhabitable based on phone and physical 
assessment (if available) and, once verified, approve the request. Hub 
Directors will provide the owner's request form to HUD Headquarters for 
tracking.

III. Business Interruption Insurance

    In many cases, an owner may have insurance to protect against a 
loss of profits during a period of total or partial suspension of 
business activity. Owners who have such insurance, must decide whether 
to exercise the option to receive vacancy claims as described in this 
Notice or to receive insurance payments. An owner should not voucher 
under this waiver if they are/will receive vacancy insurance payments 
for the same time for the same unit.

IV. Pass-Through Payments

    Owners with residents under a project-based Section 8 contract 
whose unit was rendered uninhabitable can temporarily lease a unit in 
another building that is habitable under Uniform Physical Condition 
Standards. The owner can sign a temporary lease on behalf of the 
displaced Section 8 resident and begin to voucher for the contract rent 
for that temporary unit. The owner will then pay the contract rent on 
the temporary dwelling until the resident's permanent rental unit has 
been restored to a habitable condition and the owner notifies the 
resident that he/she may resume occupancy of the unit. The resident is 
still responsible for the resident's share for the temporary unit.
    Once the original unit is fully repaired and ready for occupancy, 
all Section 8 provisions apply. This arrangement calls for close 
contact and cooperation between the owner and the resident as the 
displaced resident has first right of refusal for the unit. Further 
information relating to pass-through payments can be found in Housing 
Handbook 4350.1, Chapter 38.

V. November 2012 Housing Voucher Payments and Tenant Rent Payments

    Housing Assistance Payments made to an owner for November 2012 will 
remain unaffected. Owners are encouraged to refund tenant rental 
payments received for the month of November 2012 from any tenant whose 
unit was deemed uninhabitable.

VI. Regulatory Requirements Which Have Been Waived

    a. 24 CFR 880.611 Conditions for receipt of vacancy payments. 
Section 880.611 provides conditions for when owners are able to receive 
vacancy payments. Owners that have units that are deemed uninhabitable 
due to Sandy can choose to exercise their option to receive vacancy 
claims in the amount of 80 percent of the contract rent for up to 60 
days (December 2012 and January 2013).
    b. 24 CFR 881.501 The contract. Section 881.501 provides conditions 
for when owners are able to receive vacancy payments. Owners that have 
units that are deemed uninhabitable due to Hurricane Sandy can choose 
to exercise their option to receive vacancy claims in the amount of 80 
percent of the contract rent for up to 60 days (December 2012 and 
January 2013).
    c. 24 CFR 884.106 Housing assistance payments to owners. Section 
884.106 provides conditions for when owners are able to receive vacancy 
payments. Owners that have units that are deemed uninhabitable due to 
Sandy can choose to exercise their option to receive vacancy claims in 
the amount of 80 percent of the contract rent for up to

[[Page 71446]]

60 days (December 2012 and January 2013).
    d. 24 CFR 886.109 Housing assistance payments to owners. Section 
886.109 provides conditions for when owners are able to receive vacancy 
payments. Owners that have units that are deemed uninhabitable due to 
Sandy can choose to exercise their option to receive vacancy claims in 
the amount of 80 percent of the contract rent for up to 60 days 
(December 2012 and January 2013).

VII. Authority To Grant Waivers

    Generally, waivers of HUD regulations are handled on a case-by-case 
basis. Under statutory requirements set forth in section 7(q) of the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (42 U.S.C. 3535(q)) and 
its implementing regulations, 24 CFR 5.110, a regulated party that 
seeks a waiver of a HUD regulation must request a waiver from HUD in 
writing and the waiver request must specify the need for the waiver. 
HUD then responds to the request in writing and, if the waiver is 
granted, HUD includes a summary of the waiver granted (and all 
regulatory waivers granted during a three-month period) in a Federal 
Register notice that is published quarterly. Since the damage to 
property and the displacement of families and individuals in the 
disaster areas is widespread, and the need for regulatory relief in 
many areas pertaining to HUD-assisted housing is readily apparent, HUD 
is suspending its usual regulatory waiver protocols for the disaster 
areas and has substituted an expedited process that meets the 
requirements of Section 7(q) and 24 CFR 5.110.

    Dated: November 26, 2012.
Carol J. Galante,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Housing--Federal Housing Commissioner.
[FR Doc. 2012-29036 Filed 11-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P