To help the development community continue to navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Multifamily’s Compliance Department has compiled a list of FAQs they have received. All answers are based on currently available information and is subject to change as new information is received. We will send notification of any changes via emails to those signed up to receive Multifamily emails. If you have not signed up for these emails, you can do so by clicking here.
Q: Has AHFA suspended its compliance audits/inspections of multifamily funded properties?
A: Since HUD suspended all REAC inspections, we have suspended all physical inspections and will be completing electronic file reviews. We will contact the management for information they will need for a household file review.
Q: Will services that require resident gatherings be suspended until conditions improve?
A: Due to the governor’s limits for gatherings, services that require resident gatherings can be suspended temporarily during this time of uncertainty. If a quarterly or seasonal resident service has been suspended due to COVID-19, it should be conducted later in the year once the governor states it is appropriate.
Q: During this time of national emergency many leasing offices and corporate offices are closed for resident and management personnel safety. Will AHFA allow electronic signatures for leases, tenant income certifications, and verifications?
A: In the interest of protecting residents and management personnel, we are following the guidance HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing offered to stakeholders on April 2, 2020. This guidance allows electronic signatures during this time of social distancing. Owners should discuss with their legal counsel to ensure electronic methods are acceptable for state law and regulatory purposes. When wet signatures are possible to obtain again, please do so.
Q: Will AHFA allow management to scan and email paperwork to residents and require them to scan and email completed paperwork back to management?
A: We are following the guidance HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing offered to stakeholders that allows electronic verification. Any verifications that must be from a third-party source must have evidence they are from the appropriate third-party source. In cases where the resident does not have the capability to scan and email the completed paperwork back to management, we advise management to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing when collecting the necessary documentation from the resident.
Q: Due to COVID-19 will AHFA allow a temporary suspension of recertifications until this national emergency has subsided?
A: Please reference IRS Notice 2020-53 suspending the owner requirement to perform tenant income recertifications for the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020.
Q: How should the stimulus payment and additional CARES Act additional unemployment income of $600 per week be calculated?
A: Stimulus payments of up to $1,200 and the temporary $600 per week of unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act should not be included in calculations of income. However, regular unemployment payments are to be included as income.
Q: Will AHFA suspend AHFA DMS online reporting for recertifications and move ins due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: The due date for 2019 tenant data in AHFA DMS online has passed. We will consider an extension of the monthly due dates for tenant data referenced in Section I. B. of Addendum D of both the 2020 Housing Credit Qualified Allocation Plan and the 2020 HOME Action Plan when conducting electronic file reviews. We will require a reason why the tenant data was not entered in a timely manner, along with an adequate plan for entering the required data.
Q: Does the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act apply to Housing Credit and HOME funded properties?
A: The CARES Act states any property subject to The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) must adhere to the eviction moratorium. All Housing Credit and HOME funded properties are subject to VAWA. We advise owners and management to contact their legal counsel for guidance. We also advise that management notify residents of the eviction moratorium in the CARES Act.
Q: The Social Security Administration is telling us that they will not mail out or fax benefit letters due to COVID-19. We have elderly residents that do not have internet access/or are comfortable setting up an online account. Can we use the most recent SSI statement or the previous statement to calculate income?
A: We advise you to use the most recent statement you can obtain. If the cost of living adjustment (COLA) applies to the period you are calculating income for, use the COLA percentage when completing your annual calculation.
Q: Most management companies have postponed their monthly inspections for the safety of residents and employees. Will AHFA provide a 30-day advance notice of its intent to conduct physical inspections?
A: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not performing any physical inspections and will not perform physical inspections until further notice. However, we do expect management to handle maintenance issues according to the emergency plans they developed. When we resume physical inspections, per regulations, we will be able to provide, at maximum, a 30-day notice of inspection. We reserve the right to provide less than a 30-day notice if the COVID-19 pandemic presents us with a tight deadline to complete the inspections in the timeframe required by the IRS and HUD.
Q: Are there any waivers for medical personnel or other essential workers providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Reference IRS Notice 2020-53, which allows medical personnel or other essential workers providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic to temporarily occupy Housing Credit and/or Multifamily Bond-financed units in accordance with the emergency housing provisions of IRS Revenue Procedures 2014-59 and 2014-50. Visit https://www.ahfa.com/multifamily/disaster-relief/displaced-households for the request form.