Tenant Selection Plan

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt

Revised: April 23, 2010

                                                                  

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt

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Project Preface

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt, Inc. is a Pennsylvania based non-profit corporation. It owns and operates Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt, an apartment housing facility consisting of 94 units in Bangor, Pennsylvania. The purpose ofthis housing is to provide housing for extremely low and very low income elderly and disabled individuals and families through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 202/8 program.

Statement of nondiscrimination & general information

Residency is open to all qualified eligible persons in accordance with the Fair Housing Act which prohibits discrimination in housing and housing related transactions based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and familial status. Residency is also in accordance with TitleVI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from HUD. Finally, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from HUD. Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt does not discriminate based upon age for any reason, excluding HUD program/project requirements.  

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will make "reasonable accommodations” to individuals whose disabilities so require in accordance with HUD regulations and management policies. This includes the application process and residency period. For more information please refer to management’s Section 504 policy.

A person, in order to be a tenant at Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt, must be capable of fulfilling the lease requirements. This means that the applicant must be able to meet all of his/her personal needs and be able to fulfill the lease obligations with or without assistance. Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt does not provide, nor has the authority to provide, any care or supervision services, does not accept or retain tenants who demonstrate any level of need for care and supervision services that cannot be provided by the tenant or aides supervised by the tenant, and does not promise or make available in the future any assistance with personal activities of daily living. Management will be happy to provide any applicant or tenant with a list of outside “providers” who deliver these services in the community.

All potentially eligible, qualified applicants will be considered in accordance with the marketing procedures of HUD. All applicants must comply with any applicable admissions requirements in HUD Handbooks.

The local “Section 8” Income Limits apply to this property and applicants must meet specific income restrictions to be eligible for housing. Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt reserves the right to alter their Tenant Selection Plan at any time. In such an event, management will provide applicants with ample notice.

Preferences

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt has permanently suspended Federal Preferences, in accordance with HUD directives. However, preference must be given to individuals and families displaced by government action or a presidentially declared disaster. Preferences affect only the order of applicants on the waiting list. They do not make anyone eligible who was not otherwise eligible, and they do not change management’s right to adopt and enforce tenant screening criteria.

ADMISSIONS

Applicants will be considered on a first-received, first-reviewed basis, based on the date and time that the completed and signed application is received by m anagement of Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt. Admission to Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt is limited to those applicants whose income meets the " Section 8" Income Limits for this area. Applicants may contact the Rental office of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt at 610-863-7626 or visit our website at www.easbbangor.net for the current income limits.

40% of the Section8 units that turnover in a year, and are rented to applicants on the Waiting List, must be made available to applicants who meet the "extremely low" income (30% of median) limits. This is accomplished by renting every other available unit to an extremely low applicant/family, beginning with an extremely low applicant/family each year (please refer to ELI Procedures for more information).

ELIGIBILITY FOR ACCESSIBLE UNITS AT ADMISSION

In addition the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt has set aside 10% of the units within our facility for disabled individuals who will benefit from the features an accessible unit. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will place applicants for an accessible unit on the waiting list in accordance with our waiting list procedures. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will not prohibit an eligible family with a member who has a disability from accepting a suitable non-accessible unit if no accessible unit is available when the family reaches the top of the waiting list. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will make physical alterations to the non-accessible unit as a reasonable accommodation, unless the alterations would result in an undue financial and administrative hardship. If an appropriate-size accessible unit is not available, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will house an applicant needing an accessible unit in a larger accessible unit in order to maximize the use of the accessible features.

At the time of application, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt, as per the requirements of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, will verify a person’s disability only to the extent necessary to document that the applicant:

To live at Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt an applicant must be:

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will first assign units to in-place tenants who have a demonstrated need for a change in housing or the need for an accessible unit before offering units to an applicant on the Waiting List. This will be done in chronological order, based on the date and time of the notification of the site management of the new "Need." All current, in place tenants whose needs have changed will be housed and/or transferred before anyone on the Waiting List is housed.

PROCEDURES FOR APPLYING FOR HOUSING

All persons/families interested in applying for housing at Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt must comply with the following requirements to be "considered for housing"

All of this information will be verified in accordance with program regulations and requirements. Applicants will be required to sign appropriate forms authorizing management to verify any and all factors that affect the applicant’s eligibility or the rent that the applicant will pay. All of this information may be released by HUD to other Federal, State and Local Agencies.

In the event the applicant is personally unable to complete the form, the applicant must provide the information to someone assisting in completing the form. The person assisting the applicant must sign and date the application, indicating that it was completed at the direction of the named applicant.

INTERVIEWS

When the applicant completes the original application, he/she will deliver the completed application during a scheduled appointment with the facility office. This in no way means that an applicant qualifies, or is eligible. Eligibility can be confirmed only after all items which may have any bearing on the rent that the applicant may pay or subsidies he/she may receive are verified: income, assets, family composition, etc. The applicant must be determined eligible to be offered housing.

As an applicant's name approaches the top of the Waiting List, or when an applicant is being offered housing, a formal interview will be scheduled. At that time the applicant is interviewed, all items on the application will be discussed and confirmed, and verification forms will be signed by the applicant authorizing m anagement to verify all of these issues/items. Until all items are verified, eligibility cannot be determined, nor any housing offered. Management must make an attempt to verify all factors with "third party" written verification, per HUD Regulations and Procedures.

In the absence of third party verification within 14 days after attempting third party verification, and no response being received, management will use “Review of Documents” to verify items/issues in accordance with the HUD Handbook 4350.3.

REGULAR WAITING LIST

Any applicant who appears to qualify after Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt reviews the application, but before any information is formally verified, and for whom a unit is not currently available, will be placed on the Waiting List. The applicant is informed of the approximate wait for a unit. It is the applicant’s responsibility to report changes on the application to Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt in a timely fashion.

Any applicant on the Waiting List is required to contact Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt every six (6) months to update their information, by completing a revised application form when necessary. This contact must be done in the form of writing. NO PHONE CALLS. Contact may be initiated by Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt in the form of a routine letter/postcard, sent to all applicants on the Waiting List, requesting update information, asking if they wish to remain on the Waiting List and stating that if the letter is not responded to within fourteen (14) days, their name will be dropped from the Waiting List without further notice. However, management will make one (1) more attempt to contact by phone (if possible) or by mail before permanently removing them from the Waiting List.

When the number of names/families on the Waiting List for any particular size exceeds the annual apartment turn over for that size unit, the Waiting List may be closed. A notice will be published in local newspapers and prominently posted in the Management/rental office or reception area, stating that the Waiting List is closed. When the Waiting list is to be reopened, notice of this will be placed in local newspapers, as well as notifications sent to appropriate social service agencies, (including, but not limited to elderly, mental health and community service agencies) stating when the Waiting List will be re-opened, as well as times and days that applications will be taken.

extrememly Low Income (ELI) PROCEDURES
Income targeting

If management determines that following Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt’s waiting list in standard chronological order may not (or will not) achieve the admissions necessary to meet the income-targeting requirement, then management must implement procedures that will ensure compliance.

Management will implement the procedure of alternating between the first extremely low-income (ELI) applicant on the waiting list and the applicant at the top of the waiting list. To implement this method, management will select the first extremely low-income applicant on the waiting list (which may mean "skipping over” some applicants with higher incomes) for the available unit, and then select the next eligible applicant currently at the top of the waiting list (regardless of income level) for the next available unit. As subsequent units become available, tenant selection continues to alternate between the next extremely low-income applicant and the eligible applicant at the top of the waiting list until the 40% target is reached.

REJECTION PROCEDURES

When an applicant is rejected by management, the applicant will be notified of this decision in writing. This written statement, which will be sent in a timely fashion, will include the reason(s) for the rejection, and state that the applicant has the opportunity to request a meeting with the m anagement to discuss the rejection. The applicant will be further instructed to request the meeting in writing within fourteen (14) days of the date of the rejection letter. Persons with disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodations to participate in the informal hearing process.

If the applicant wants to request a meeting, the applicant's written request must be sent to Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt within fourteen (14) days of the date of the rejection notice. The requested meeting will be held by a staff member or member of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt Board of Directors who was not involved in the initial decision to deny admission or assistance. Within five (5) business days of management’s response or meeting, management must advise the applicant in writing of the final decision on eligibility. All of this material (original application, rejection letter, applicant's request for a meeting, summary of the meeting and the final decision) must be kept for three (3) years in confidential files.

occupancy STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES

When assigning bedrooms :

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will accommodate the changing needs of the in-house tenants because of increases in the number of family members or changes in the family composition, before going to the Waiting List.

ACCESSIBLE Units

Because ten (10) of the units at Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt have been architecturally altered for accessibility (to some degree), someone in the family must qualify as "needing" the architecturally altered features to apply for or live in these units. This need must be verified with a medical practitioner. Units that have been altered in any way for a disabled person will be rented to a family or individual needing that specific unit type, or the architectural features present in that unit. In all instances, "accessible" units shall be rented to a family or family with a member needing that type of unit.

In the unlikely event that no applicant or family can be found that requires that unit type, a non-disabled elderly applicant or family can be housed there, (temporarily) only after signing a statement, that will become a lease amendment, that states that they will move, within 30 days, "at their own expense" when they are notified by management, in writing, that a non-handicapped unit is available.

TRANSFER POLICY

Management will allow in-house transfers. In house transfers will take precedent over applicants on the waiting list. In house transfers will be approved in the following situations:

  1. A verifiable medical reason for different unit, including the need for a care attendant or an altered unit.
  2. A change in family composition.
  3. A change in family size.
  4. Transfer from unit due to renovation of previous unit.

Requests for transfers that are based on a need for a reasonable accommodation will be provided priority over other requests. Transfers will be provided to persons who have a medical or other verified need because of a disability in the chronological order received. All other transfers will be provided after requests for reasonable accommodations and will occur in chronological order by the date the request was received.

DEFINITIONS

Elderly Family

An Elderly Family includes but is not limited to:

  1. Families of two or more persons, the head of which (or his or her spouse) is 62 years of age or older;
  2. The surviving member or members of a family described in paragraph (1) living in a unit assisted under subpart E of this part (Section 202 loans) with the now deceased member of the family at the time of his or her death;
  3. A single person who is 62 years of age or older; or
  4. Two or more elderly persons living together or one or more such persons living with another person who is determined by HUD, based upon a licensed physician's certificate provided by the family, to be essential to their care or well-being.

Disabled Family

A Disabled Family includes but is not limited to:

  1. Families of two or more persons the head of which (or his or her spouse) is a person with disabilities (handicapped);
  2. The surviving member or members of any family described in paragraph (1) of this definition living in a unit assisted under subpart E of this part (Section 202 loans) with the deceased member of the family at the time of his or her death;
  3. A single person with disabilities (handicapped person) over the age of 18; or
  4. Two or more persons with disabilities (handicapped persons), living together or one or more such persons living with another person who is determined by HUD, based upon a licensed physician's certificate provided by the family, to be essential to their care or well-being.

Person with Disabilities

Such a person has a disability, as defined in 42 U.S.C. 423;

  1. Any adult having a physical impairment that is expected to be of long, continued and indefinite duration, substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently, and is of a nature that such ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions.

Nonelderly Disabled (Handicapped) Family

A nonelderly disabled family means a disabled family in which the head of the family (and spouse, if any) is less than 62 years of age at the time of the family's initial occupancy of a project.

Project Eligible Nonelderly Disabled (Handicapped) Family

A non-elderly disabled person or family who is only eligible for housing through this program in an accessible unit and requires the accessibility features of that unit.

Live In Care Attendant

A person who resides with one or more elderly persons, near-elderly persons, or persons with disabilities, and who:

  1. Is determined to be essential to the care and well-being of the persons;
  2. Is not obligated for the support of the persons; and
  3. Would not be living in the unit except to provide the necessary supportive services.

A relative may be a Live in Attendant but must meet all of the above requirements, and sign a statement to that effect. Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will verify this with a physician or recognized health care professional. The sole purpose of a Live in Attendant is to provide the tenant with support services and will not qualify for continued occupancy in the event the tenant vacates the unit. Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt may re-verify the need for a Live in Attendant when necessary.

PROHIBITION OF ASSISTANCE TO NONCITIZEN STUDENTS

Noncitizen students and their noncitizen families may not receive assistance. Noncitizen students are not eligible for continuation of assistance, prorated assistance, or temporary deferral of termination of assistance. A non citizen student is defined as an individual who is as follows:

This prohibition applies to the noncitizen student’s noncitizen spouse and children. However, spouses and children who are citizens may receive assistance. For example, a family that includes a noncitizen student married to a U. S. citizen is a mixed family.

ELIGIBILITY OF STUDENTS FOR SECTION 8 ASSISTANCE

 

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt must determine a student’s eligibility for Section 8 Assistance at move-in, annual recertification, initial certification (when an in-place tenant begins receiving Section 8), and at the time of an interim recertification if one of the family composition changes reported is that a household member is enrolled as a student.

Section 8 assistance shall not be provided to any individual who:

For a student to be eligible independent of his or her parents (where the income of the parents is not relevant), the student must demonstrate the absence of, or his or her independence from parents. While the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt may use additional criteria for determining the student’s independence from parents, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt must use, and the student must meet, at a minimum all of the following criteria to be eligible for Section 8 assistance. The student must:

Any financial assistance a student receives (1) under the Higher Education Act of 1965, (2) from private sources, or (3) from an institution of higher education that is in excess of amounts received for tuition is included in annual income, except if the student is over the age of 23 with dependent children or if the student is living with his or her parents who are receiving Section 8 assistance. If an ineligible student is a member of an existing household receiving Section 8 assistance, the assistance for the household will not be prorated but will be terminated.

Proof of Citizenship

All family members, regardless of age, must declare their citizenship or immigration status. Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt is required to verify with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the validity of documents provided by applicants. Applicants must submit required documentation of citizenship/immigration status no later than the date the owner initiates verification of other eligibility factors. Because of the prohibition against delaying assistance to obtain verification of citizenship/immigration status, owners are advised to implement procedures to verify eligible immigration status in advance of other verification efforts.

Assistance in subsidized housing is restricted to the following:

A mixed family—a family with one or more ineligible family members and one or more eligible family members—may receive prorated assistance, continued assistance, or a temporary deferral of termination of assistance.

If the applicant cannot supply the documentation within the specified timeframe, management may grant the applicant an extension of not more than 30 days, but only if the applicant certifies that the documentation is temporarily unavailable and additional time is needed to collect and submit the required documentation. Although the extension period may not exceed 30 days, management may establish a shorter extension period based on the circumstances of the individual case.

Management must inform the applicant in writing if an extension request is granted or denied. If the request is granted, management will include the new deadline for submitting the documentation. If the request is denied, management will state the reasons for the denial in the written response.

Currently assisted families that have no eligible members and those that qualify only for prorated assistance and choose not to accept the partial assistance are eligible for temporary deferral of termination of assistance. Please seek management for deferral policies.

Proof of Social securIty numbers

Applicants must provide documentation of SSNs in order to be eligible for subsidy at Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt. Adequate documentation means a social security card issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or other acceptable evidence of the SSN. The head of household/spouse/co-head must disclose SSNs for themselves and all family members including children.

Applicants who cannot provide Social Security Numbers for all family members retain their place on the waiting list for the program; however, all members of the household must provide appropriate documentation of his/her and children (if applicable) Social Security Numbers before the household is admitted into the program.

Individuals who have applied for legalization under the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 will be able to disclose the social security numbers, but unable to supply the cards for documentation. Social security numbers are assigned to these persons when they apply for amnesty. The cards go to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until the persons are granted temporary lawful resident status. Until that time, their acceptable documentation is a letter from the DHS indicating social security numbers have been assigned.

Management must accept the certification and continue to process the individual’s application. However, an applicant may not become a participant in the program unless the applicant submits the required SSN documentation to management. The applicant must provide SSN documentation to management within 60 days from the date on which the applicant certified that the documentation was not available.

If management has determined that the applicant is otherwise eligible for admission into the property, and the only outstanding verification is that of the SSN, the applicant may retain his or her place on the waiting list for the 60-day period during which the applicant is trying to obtain documentation. After 60 days, if the applicant has been unable to supply the required SSN documentation, the applicant will be determined ineligible and removed from the waiting list (see paragraph 4-20 A).

Management may extend the time period for an additional 60 days if the applicant is at least 62 years old and unable to submit the required documentation within the first 60-day period.

SCREENING\REJECTION CRITERIA

All applicants 18 years of age or older in a household will be screened for rental history, credit and criminal history, and general program eligibility prior to residency. The screening of live-in aides at initial occupancy and the screening of persons or live-in aides to be added to the tenant household after initial occupancy involve similar screening activities. Both live-in aides and new additions to the tenant household will be screened for drug abuse and other criminal activity. An application may be rejected for any one of the following reasons:

Persons with disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodations to participate in the informal hearing process for a rejection of housing based on the above.

CRIMINAL or DRUG-RELATED ACTIVITY

Upon move-in tenants sign leases requiring them to accept responsibility for the actions of individual household members, their guests, or other persons on the premises with their consent. No tenant, no member of the tenant’s family or household nor a guest or any other person visiting a tenant shall engage in criminal activity on or near the apartment complex, including drug-related criminal activity, or other criminal activity or drug and alcohol abuse that threatens the health and safety of the tenants or staff or hinders the peaceful enjoyment of the housing premises. "Drug-related criminal activity" means the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution or use of a controlled substance (as defined in Section 102 of the Controlled Substance Act).

No tenant, no member of the tenant’s household or family, nor any guest or other person shall engage in any act intended to facilitate criminal activity, drug-related activity on or near the apartment complex.

Neither tenant, nor members of the tenant’s household or family will permit the dwelling unit to be used for, or to facilitate, criminal activity, including drug-related criminal activity, regardless of whether the individual engaging in such activity is a member of the household, family or a guest.

Neither tenant, nor members of the tenant’s household or family will engage in the manufacture, sale or distribution of illegal drugs on or near the apartment complex or elsewhere.

No tenant, nor shall any member of the tenant’s household or family, guest or other person, engage in acts of violence, including, but not limited to, the unlawful discharge of firearms on or near the apartment complex.

Violation of the above provisions shall be a material noncompliance violation of the lease and good cause for termination of the lease. A single violation of any of these provisions shall be deemed a serious violation and material noncompliance with the lease. It is understood and agreed that a single violation shall be good cause for termination of the lease. Unless otherwise provided by law, proof of violation shall not require criminal conviction, but shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

CREDIT & CRIMINAL SCREENING CRITERIA

Rental Approval:

Credit Approval:

Criminal Background Check:
  1. Any conviction for illegal drug use, manufacture or distribution of a controlled illegal substance is grounds for denial.
  2. Any conviction for any crime of violence, fraud, theft, or other crime which establishes that the applicant’s tendency might constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or result in the substantial physical damage to the property of others is grounds for denial.
  3. Any conviction for any activity concerning sexual abuse or assault is grounds for denial. This includes, but is not limited to, any member of the household who is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program.
  4. Any conviction for any activity including murder is grounds for denial.
  5. Any other felony conviction is grounds for denial.
  6. Any household members who are currently engaging in illegal drug use are grounds for denial. This can included a pattern of illegal drug use that may interfere with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants.
  7. Any household member who has a pattern of alcohol abuse that may interfere with the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants is grounds for denial.
  8. Any household containing a member(s) who was evicted in the last three (3) years from federally assisted housing for drug-related criminal activity is grounds for denial.

ENTERPRISE INCOME VERIFICATION (EIV)

EIV is a web-based computer system containing employment and income information on individuals participating in HUD’s rental assistance programs. This information assists the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt and HUD in making sure “the right benefits go to the right persons”. The information in EIV comes and provides the following;

    1. The Social Security Administration:
    2. The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) National Directory of New Hires (NDNH)

The information contained in the EIV system provides the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt with your income information and employment history. This information is used to meet HUD’s requirement to independently verify your employment and/or income when you recertify for continued rental assistance. Getting the information from the EIV system is more accurate and less time consuming and costly to the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt than contacting your income source directly for verification. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will be able to use the EIV system to determine if you:

We will also be able to determine if you:

Prior to the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt accessing the EIV system you will be required to sign HUD Form – 9887, Notice and Consent for the Release of Information, and HUD Form – 9887-A, Applicant’s/Tenant’s Consent to the Release of Information. By signing these forms, you are giving your consent for HUD and the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt to obtain information about you to verify your employment and/or income and determine your eligibility for HUD rental assistance. Your failure to sign the consent forms may result in the denial of assistance or termination of assisted housing benefits.

Only you and those parties listed on the consent form HUD-9887 that you must sign have access to the information in EIV pertaining to you. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt goes to great lengths to protect and secure your information.

As a tenant at the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt (a HUD assisted property), you must certify that information provided on an application for housing assistance and the form used to certify and recertify your assistance (HUD-50059) is accurate and honest.

When completing your rental application for housing assistance with the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt and recertification’s, you must include all sources of income you or any member of your household receives. If you have any questions on whether money received should be counted as income, ask the property manager or rental agent of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt. When changes occur in your household income or family composition, immediately contact the property manager or the rental agent of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt to determine if this will affect your rental assistance.

If you do not agree with the employment and/or income information in EIV, you must tell the property manager of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt. The property manager or rental agent will contact the income source directly to obtain verification of the employment and/or income you disagree with. Once the property manager or rental agent receives the information for the income source, you will be notified in writing of the results.

If the EIV report discloses income form a prior period that you did not report, you have two options: 1) you can agree with the EIV report if it is correct, or 2) you can dispute the report if you believe it is incorrect. The property manager or rental agent of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will then conduct written third party verification with the reporting source of income. If the source confirms this income is accurate, you will be required to repay any overpaid rental assistance as far back as five (5) years and you may be subject to penalties if it is determined that you deliberately tried to conceal your income.

Providing false information is fraud. Penalties for those who commit fraud could include eviction, repayment of overpaid assistance received, fines up to $10,000.00, imprisonment for up to 5 years, and prohibition from receiving any future rental assistance and/or state and local government penalties.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (VAWA)

BACKGROUND

On January 5, 2006, President Bush signed into law the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-162) and on August 12, 2006, signed into law technical corrections to the VAWA (Public Law 109-271).

The VAWA protections apply to families applying for or receiving rental assistance payments under the project-based Section 8 program. The law protects victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, as well as their immediate family members generally, from being evicted or being denied housing assistance if an incident of violence that is reported and confirmed. The VAWA also provides that an incident of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence or stalking does not qualify as a serious or repeated violation of the lease nor does it constitute good cause for terminating the assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights of the victim. Furthermore, criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking is not grounds for terminating the victim’s tenancy. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt may bifurcate a lease in order to evict, remove, or terminate the assistance of the offender while allowing the victim, who is a tenant or lawful occupant, to remain in the unit.

IV. DEFINITIONS

The following definitions are provided as assistance in understanding and implementing the VAWA protections. The definitions for domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and immediate family member have been incorporated into the United States Housing Act.

Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating Violence means violence committed by a person: (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking means (A)(i) to follow, pursue, or repeatedly commit acts with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate; or (ii) to place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person; and (B) in the course of, or as a result of, such following, pursuit, surveillance, or repeatedly committed acts, to place a person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or to cause substantial emotional harm to (i) that person; (ii) a member of the immediate family of that person; or (iii) the spouse or intimate partner of that person.

Immediate Family Member means, with respect to a person: (a) a spouse, parent, brother or sister, or child of the person, or an individual to whom that person stands in loco parentis (in place of a parent); or (B) any other person living in the household of that person and related to that person by blood or marriage.

Bifurcate means to divide a lease as a matter of law so that certain tenants can be evicted or removed while the remaining family members’ lease and occupancy rights are allowed to remain intact.

V. PROTECTIONS FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE OR STALKING

The law offers the following protections against eviction or denial of housing based on domestic violence, dating violence or stalking:

    A. An applicant’s or program participant’s status as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking is not a basis for denial of rental assistance or for denial of admission, if the applicant otherwise qualifies for assistance or admission.

    B. An incident or incidents of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence or stalking will not be construed as serious or repeated violations of the lease or other “good cause” for terminating the assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights of a victim of abuse.

    C. Criminal activity directly related to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, engaged in by a member of a tenant’s household or any guest or other person under the tenant’s control, shall not be cause for termination of assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights of the victim of the criminal acts.

    D. Assistance may be terminated or a lease “bifurcated” in order to remove an offending household member from the home. Whether or not the individual is a signatory to the lease and lawful tenant, if he/she engages in a criminal act of physical violence against family members or others, he/she stands to be evicted, removed, or has his/her occupancy rights terminated. This action is taken while allowing the victim, who is a tenant or a lawful occupant, to remain.

    E. The provisions protecting victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking engaged in by a member of the household, may not be construed to limit the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt, when notified, from honoring various court orders issued to either protect the victim or address the distribution of property in case a family breaks up.

    F. The authority to evict or terminate assistance is not limited with respect to to a victim that commits unrelated criminal activity. Furthermore, if the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt can show an actual and imminent threat to other tenants or those employed at or providing service to the property if an unlawful tenant’s residency is not terminated, then evicting a victim is an option, the VAWA notwithstanding. Ultimately, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt may not subject victims to more demanding standards than other tenants.

    G. the VAWA protections shall not supersede any provision of any federal, state, or local law that provides greater protection for victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. The laws offering greater protection are applied in instances of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

 

B. Tenants Rights and Responsibilities

Tenants and family members of tenants who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking are protected by the VAWA from being evicted or from housing assistance being terminated because of the acts of violence against them.

If requested, tenants are required to submit to the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt a completed Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking, Form HUD-91066, or other supporting documentation as described in VI.A.2, above, within 14 business days of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt’s request, or any

extension of that date provided by the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt. If the certification or other supporting documentation is not provided within the specified timeframe, the landlord may begin eviction proceedings.

If the tenant has sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, dating violence or stalking from a federal, state, tribal, territorial jurisdiction, local police or court, the tenant may submit written proof of this outreach.

It is possible for someone lawfully occupying the unit, who is also a victim, to be evicted or removed from the home. If the victim commits separate criminal activity, a landlord may evict them for

engaging in crime. Furthermore, if a victim poses “an actual and imminent threat to other tenants or those employed at or providing service to the property,” they could be evicted, despite the VAWA. Of paramount consideration within the VAWA is that the landlord may not hold the victim to a more demanding standard than other tenants.

BRIEFING WITH NEW TENANTS

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belts performs briefings with all new tenants. The briefing is completed on the day of the actual move-in and takes approximately 1hour and 30 minutes to complete. By performing this briefing it ensures the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt that new tenants understand the terms the lease. It also provides the opportunity to relay important information about resident’s rights, house rules and regulations, termination of assistance and tenancy. At the same time, information provided during tenant briefing topics gives tenants a clear understanding of the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt’s responsibilities and better enables tenants to fulfill their own responsibilities. The briefing gives the tenant an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the information being presented.

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt provides all new tenant’s with an information packet including all documents reviewed during the new tenant briefing session.

UNIT INSPECTIONS

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt performs unit inspections at the time of move-in, move-out and annually.

Move-In Inspections are performed on the actual day a tenant moves into the facility. The move-in inspection is an opportunity to familiarize the tenant with the project and the unit, as well as to document its current condition. By performing move-in inspections, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt and tenants are assured that the unit is in livable condition and is free of damages. A move-in inspection gives the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt an opportunity to explain to new tenants the tenant’s responsibility for damages caused to the unit by family members and visitors, discuss the house rules, and familiarize tenants with the operation of appliances and equipment in the unit. Move-in Inspection requirements are as follows:

Move-Out Inspections are performed on the day that the tenant is moving out of the facility. On the day the tenant provides notice of vacating their unit, the tenant is provided a form detailing how the unit must be left and what normal wear and tear can be expected. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt recommends that the tenant vacating the unit to be present if possible while performing the move-out inspection. If the tenant is in attendance during the move-out inspection, disagreements between the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt and the tenant regarding unit damage can be resolved up front. Tenant caused damage beyond normal wear and tear will be deducted from the security deposit. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt notifies households about the status of the deposit and refunds any amounts we are not withholding within 30 days after the household has moved out. In the event that the amount of security deposit does not cover the total cost of tenant caused damage the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will invoice the amount due and owing and payment must be received in full within 30 days of receipt of the invoice. In the event that the tenant disputes the cost of any repairs due and owing, the tenant may request in writing to meet with the property manager to discuss the charges in detail and at that time a determination will be made. The property manager will confirm the determination in writing to the tenant within 10 days of the date of the meeting.

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt performs annual inspections on occupied units on the day of the tenant’s scheduled annual recertification interview. Tenant’s will be notified of the annual inspection in writing and will receive the notice at the same time they receive their 1 st notice of annual recertification. Annual inspections are performed to ensure that the tenant is maintaining the unit in accordance with lease terms, to determine whether the appliances and equipment are functioning properly and to assess whether a component needs to be repaired or replaced. The annual inspection also provides the opportunity to determine any damage to the unit caused by the tenant’s abuse or negligence and, if so, make the necessary repairs and bill the tenant for the cost of the repair.

HUD, or its authorized contractor(s), has the right to inspect the units and the entire property to ensure that the property is being physically well maintained. These inspections assure HUD that owners are fulfilling their obligations under the regulatory agreements and/or subsidy contracts and that tenant’s are provided with decent, safe, and sanitary housing.

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt maintains all move-in, move-out and annual inspection forms in the tenant’s file.

SECURITY DEPOSITS

Security Deposits provide some financial protection when a tenant moves out of the unit and fails to fulfill his/her obligations under the lease. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt collects security deposits at the time of the initial lease execution. The amount of the security deposit is established at move-in as per the total tenant payment on the HUD Form 50059 line item number 108 or $50.00 whichever is greater amount. The security deposit is placed into a segregated, interest-bearing account to be refunded with interest at the time the tenant vacates the unit. An applicant may be rejected for housing if he/she does not have sufficient funds to pay the security deposit. The security deposit established at move-in does not change when a tenant’s rent changes based on annual or interim recertifications.

When a tenant transfers to a new unit, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will transfer the existing security deposit to the new unit.

In order to receive a refund of the tenant paid security deposit, the tenant must provide the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt with a written 30 day notice of vacating including a forwarding address. Within 30 days after the move-out date the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will either:

In the event that a disagreement arises concerning the reimbursement of the security deposit to the tenant, the tenant has the right to present objections in writing and at that time request to an informal meeting. After a determination has been made the property manager will confirm the determination in writing to the tenant. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will keep a record of any disagreements and meetings in the tenant file for a period of three (3) years for inspection by the HUD field office or Contract Administrator.

CHARGES IN ADDITION TO RENT

Pet Deposits:

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt charges in addition to rent a pet deposit to be held in a separate, interest-bearing account of $150.00 to any tenant owning a pet. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt may use the pet deposit only to pay reasonable expenses directly attributable to the presence of the pet on the property. Such expenses would include, but not limited to, the cost of repairs and replacement to the unit, fumigation of the unit, and the cost of animal care facilities. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt will return the full or unused portion of the pet deposit with interest to a tenant within 30 days after the tenant moves from the property or no longer owns or keeps the pet in the household.

Damages:

Whenever damage is caused by carelessness, misuse, or neglect on the part of the tenant, household member, or visitor, the tenant is obligated to reimburse the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt for the cost of the damage within 30 days after the tenant receives a bill from the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt. In the event the cost of the tenant damages proves to be a hardship to pay in full when invoiced, it is the responsibility of the tenant to arrange to meet with the property manager to discuss the possibility of setting up a payment agreement that is acceptable to both parties.

The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt may deduct accrued, unpaid damage charges from the tenant’s security deposit at the time of move-out.

ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Because a tenant’s income and family composition can change over time, HUD program requirements have established procedures for addressing these changes. Such changes are examined and implemented through the recertification process. To assure that assisted tenants pay rent commensurate with their ability to pay, HUD requires the following:

  1. The Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt must conduct a recertification of family income and composition annually. Tenant’s annual recertification date is based on the 1 st of the month of the month that the tenant moved into the property. Management will send all tenant’s that are due for their annual recertification a written notice 120 days prior to their anniversary date, advising the tenant that it is time to complete their annual recertification including the date and time they are scheduled for their meeting at the Rental Office.
  2. Tenants must supply information requested by the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt or HUD for use in a regularly scheduled recertification of family income and composition is accordance with HUD requirements.
  3. Tenants must sign consent forms and asset declaration forms, and the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt must obtain third party verification of the following items and document them in the tenant file:
  4. Reported family annual income;
  5. The value of family assets;
  6. Expenses related to deductions from annual income; and
  7. Other factors that will affect the determination of adjusted income.
  8. At each annual recertification, the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt must provide the tenant with a copy of the HUD Fact Sheet describing how the tenant’s rent is determined.

INTERIM RECERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

To ensure that assisted tenants pay rents commensurate with their ability to pay, tenants must supply information requested by the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt or HUD for use in an interim recertification of family income and composition in accordance with HUD requirements. All tenants must notify the Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt when:

  1. A family member moves out of the unit;
  2. The family proposes to move a new member into the unit;
  3. An adult member of the family who was reported as unemployed on the most recent certification or recertification obtains employment; or
  4. The family’s income cumulatively increases by $200 or more per month.

Tenants may request an interim recertification due to any changes occurring since the last recertification that may affect the Total Tenant Payment or Tenant Rent and assistance payment for the tenant. Changes a tenant may report include the following:

  1. Decreases in income including, but limited to, loss of employment, reduction in number of hours worked by an employed family member, and loss or reduction of welfare or social security income.
  2. Increases in allowances including, but not limited to, medical expenses, and higher child care costs; and
  3. Other changes affecting the calculation of a family’s annual or adjusted income including, but not limited to, a family member turning 62 years old, becoming a full-time student, or becoming a person with a disability.

Tenants are not required to report when a family member turns 18 years of age between annual recertifications. However, tenants must follow the requirements in their lease for reporting changes in the household income.

MODIFICATIONS OF THE TENANT SELECTION PLAN

The Episcopal Apartments will provide by 1 st class mail, new Tenant Selection Plans to all applicants on the waiting list no later than 30 days prior to implementation.

Note: All applicants in a household will be processed as one approval or denial for an apartment. If any one of the applicants has negative rental history, negative credit history or negative criminal history all applicant will be denied.

By signing this form, I/We hereby agree that we have read and understand all information covered in the Tenant Selection Policy. I/We agree to abide by all of the regulations in this agreement:

_______________________________ _____________
Head of Household Date

_______________________________ _____________
Spouse/Co-Head Date

_______________________________ _____________
Property Manager or Rental Agent Date

Episcopal Apartments of the Slate Belt

 

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