Attention Members: Log in to pay your dues today

HUD Indicates Voucher Payments May Be Withheld From Hurricane Impacted Properties

October 31, 2017 –

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on October 13 issued a hurricane relief effort update which indicated Section 8 payments could be withheld for properties in Puerto Rico that, as a result of Hurricane Maria, did not have electricity. HUD’s reasoning for withholding the payments was that without electricity and running water, these properties did not meet the Section 8 program’s requirements to be considered “decent, safe, and sanitary.”

In Puerto Rico, about 80% of the island is still without power and is expected to remain that way for months. While waiting for power to be restored, property managers have been shipping generators, supplies, and even cash to help improve the dire situation many tenants are finding themselves in. While those on the island are doing all they can to move forward with recovery, the problems have been compounded by supplies being delayed at air and sea ports.

Acting quickly to the announcement, IREM was joined by the National Associations of REALTORS on October 18 in submitting a letter to HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson and Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude urging the agency to reconsider its decision. The next week, members of IREM’s Federal Housing Advisory Board met with HUD senior staff in Washington, DC, to discuss funding for these recovering properties and share information about the possible impacts of withholding subsidy payments.

The current status is that HUD will continue making voucher payments through November and will review December payments over the coming weeks. Additionally, HUD plans to have inspectors on the island to begin assessing properties by the end of November. This was announced during a call with multifamily stakeholders on October 31. It was reported on that call that there are 203 properties in disaster areas in Puerto Rico representing 21,013 units, of which 19,859 are assisted. HUD also noted that the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) and Management and Occupancy Review (MOR) programs will be suspended for Texas until November 25, and until December 31 for Florida.

IREM will continue to monitor the issue and update members as new information becomes available. Any questions or comments can be directed to ILegislation@irem.org.