If you are multifamily housing property that provides Project Based rental assistance through a HAP Contract with KHC and HUD, you should know that when there is a Presidentially Declared Disaster (PDD), HUD regulations require that you follow the guidance found in the HUD Handbook 4350.1, Chapter 38 Multifamily Emergency/Disaster Guidance found at Multifamily Asset Management and Project Servicing (4350.1) | HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Once the president declares a disaster, HUD field offices serve as the central point for coordinating all multifamily housing disaster activities. It is important to remind owners that they are obligated to always immediately report physical damage to a property that has resulted from a fire, flood, wind, severe cold or other natural disaster or weather event to HUD and the PBCA responsible for monitoring their property.
This chapter provides disaster-related information to owner/agents and residents during emergency situations. It should be noted that a PDD or Emergency Response does not mean there are automatic waivers of HUD regulations, policies and procedures. All parties should refer to this chapter for full and complete information when there is a disaster. If you are unsure or have further questions, please contact HUD and/or KHC.
- Developing a pre-disaster checklist that is shared with residents
- Developing an emergency relocation plan to relocate residents, especially at Section 202 Elderly properties
- Ensuring that the property and property records are secured and resident possessions and valuables are secured and protected to the greatest extent possible
- Contacting the local HUD office immediately following a disaster
- Providing a status report of the residents and property conditions
- Ensuring that residents provide emergency contact numbers, especially if they become displaced from the property
- Determining the extent of damage, security needs, resident property protection needs, etc.
- Contacting the property’s insurance provider to apply for property and business interruption claims
- Maintaining inventory of all residents, property phone numbers, mailing address, and emails
- Determining which residents have been displaced due to unit damage or a failure of a major building system such as the electrical system, etc.
- Residents have a right to return to the unit from which they were displaced once their residence is repaired unless they accept other permanent housing; therefore, owners must make a concerted effort to track displaced residents. Owners must track each displaced resident’s temporary location and maintain contact information for each displaced resident, particularly if the property will likely have units off-line for more than 30 days.
- Contacting FEMA for on-going guidance and instructing residents to register with FEMA through www.fema.gov or 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
- Applying for assistance with FEMA, Small Business Administration, Housing Finance Agency and other. Owners must register with FEMA as financial assistance grants, loans and other federal assistance may be made available. Usually once declared, applicants for individual assistance only have sixty days to apply.
- In the event a property’s rental office has to be vacated, the owner should publish where he or she can be contacted and should regularly inform residents as to progress making repairs and when they might re-occupy their residence.
- Owners must inform all displaced residents in writing at least 60 days prior to the expected date that the unit will be ready for re-occupancy. The notice must be issued via regular and certified mail to the resident’s last known address.
- Notify the property owner of their temporary housing location and their intentions during and after the emergency/disaster
- If the displaced resident has a new, temporary address or telephone number, they should provide it to the owner or agent of the development from which they were displaced
- The resident will need to contact their insurance agent (rental insurance) for any coverage on their personal property
- Contact FEMA and obtain a letter of eligibility
It is important to note that those impacted by the disaster (i.e. owners and residents) make an application with FEMA, receive an application number, and obtain a letter of eligibility, which specifically describes the type of eligibility (instructions are below). Those impacted by a disaster will not be afforded relief or assistance as a result of a Presidential Declared Disaster unless they have been certified by FEMA as being eligible.
Waiting List Priority (Preference)
Federal statue and HUD regulations require that PDD-displaced residents be given priority over other applicants for either temporary or permanent housing in all multifamily properties currently insured under sections 221(d)(3), 221(d)(4) and 221(d)(3) BMIR and 236 programs (See HUD handbook 4350.3 REV-1, chapter 4, paragraph 4-6). The term of this requirement is for 18 months from FEMA’s publication of the PDD declaration, unless extended by Congress. The PDD displaced resident is required to provide their FEMA certification to qualify for priority on the waiting list and must also be eligible for the unit (cannot be over or under housed).
Owners are encouraged to hold vacant units off the market in anticipation of providing temporary housing to FEMA-certified displaced residents. Exceptions apply to Section 202 and 811 properties.
Leases and rents for temporary residents
Owners with displaced persons to be housed under these temporary housing measures in available vacant units should have the family or individual execute a 30-day renewable lease. Subject to state and local law, the lease should have a provision which states that the lease terminates when the resident’s permanent housing becomes available or when FEMA no longer certifies a resident’s FEMA eligibility. Rents for these temporary housing units must be set at the rents that were in effect immediately prior to the Presidential declaration. In the event the rents are more than the FEMA-approved rental assistance, the resident is responsible for paying the difference.
Resident Files and Recertification Requirements
If resident files are destroyed or unavailable as a result of a PDD, an owner/agent can use the TRACS certification database in Secure Systems as a source of information for HUD assisted residents.
Section 8 Apartments Occupied by Ineligible Residents
The Department will allow an owner to temporarily rent a vacant Section 8- assisted apartment to a FEMA-certified displaced resident. However, the owner can only voucher, and the Department may only pay, Section 8 housing assistance payments for units occupied by eligible Section 8 families.