Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy Ch 9: Other Provisions

Admissions And Continued Occupancy Policy

Chapter 9:Other Provisions

9.1 Lease Provisions

9.1.1 Leasing of Apartments

1.  It is BHA's policy that all apartments must be occupied pursuant to a lease that complies with HUD & DHCD regulations. In state-aided housing, the lease must be approved by DHCD.

2.  The lease shall be signed by the Head of Household, and Co-Head of Household, if any, and by the authorized representative of BHA, prior to actual admission. 

3.  All members of a Household shall be specifically listed as    Household members.

4.  If a resident transfers from one BHA apartment to another, a new lease shall be executed for the apartment into which the Household moves unless relocation occurs under the terms of a Use and Occupancy Agreement.

5.  If at any time during the term of the lease, a change in the resident's status or circumstances results in the need for changing or amending any provision of the lease, either:

  • A new lease agreement will be executed, or
  • A Notice of Rent Change will be sent to the resident, or
  • An appropriate lease addendum shall be executed and become part of the existing lease.  All copies of such addenda are to be dated and signed by the Head and Co-Head of Household and by the authorized representative of the BHA.

6.  Only those persons listed on the most recent lease or Tenant Status Review form shall be permitted to occupy an apartment on a continuing basis.

9.1.2  Length of Lease

1.  Federal Developments/AMPs only:  In accordance with the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, all BHA leases will be for a duration of 12 months.  At the end of each 12-month term, leases will be automatically renewed, unless there is noncompliance by an adult Household Member with the BHA’s Community Service and Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy after its effective date.

2.  State Developments only: Leases are continuous unless terminated by the BHA for cause or at the request of the Resident or by operation of law.

9.1.3  Policy Regarding Additions of Persons to the Lease and Change of Head of Household

The request for an addition of a person to the Lease must be made in writing by the Head or Co-Head of Household named in the Lease.

A Family may request to change which Family member is designated the Head of Household in situations where the Head of Household is frail or disabled and the current Head of Household continues to reside in the unit. The Family may also decide to designate or change a Co-Head of Household.  The BHA will approve the change if the Family member is able to take on the responsibilities of being the Head of Household/Co-Head of Household, including, but not limited to, communicating with the BHA and the landlord.  The proposed Head or Co-Head of Household will be fully screened. 

To qualify to apply for an addition of a person to the Lease, a Resident: must be considered in “good standing” at the time of an Application for additions of person(s) to lease, at the time of determination of eligibility of  person(s) to be added to Lease, and at the time of actual addition of person(s) to Lease.  “Good standing” means the household is:

  • Current in its rental payments unless it is legally withholding rent pursuant to the provisions of the Lease or applicable law.
  • Not currently under a Fourteen (14) Day or a Thirty (30) Day Notice to Quit, Summary Process Action or action pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws, Chapter 139, section 19.

1.  Additions by Birth, Adoption or Operation of Law

Additions to the Household which occur by birth, adoption or operation of law (i.e., permanent custody, marriage) or addition of a  caretaker relative or other responsible adult who has a    guardianship order (temporary[1] or permanent), or addition of a  responsible adult who provides a written designation from the parent of a BHA Household Member to care for the minor Household Member, may occur subject to meeting the resident selection criteria as described in Chapter 5  (See also Section 9.1.3.4 for additions 14 years or older ). 

2.  Other Additions to a Household

Other additions may be approved if the individual proposed as an addition is related by blood or has evidenced a stable, interdependent relationship with a current Household Member, including the sharing of financial resources.  Any such person must have the intention to live regularly in the apartment as his/her principal residence. In proposing an addition, the Head of Household shall submit the name(s) of the proposed addition(s) and identify the individual(s) as "proposed Household Member(s)". An Applicant, at the time of final processing for admission, shall notify the Occupancy Department in writing that one or more of his/her natural or adopted minor children will be joining the Household at some future date following the leasing of the apartment.  Occupancy Department staff will record the name(s) of the minor child(ren) on a form attached to the Final application.  At the time of assignment, the assignment transmittal notice will include this information.  When the resident presents evidence to the manager that the MINOR child or children is/are ready to join the Household, the manager will add them to the Household composition and immediately generate a transfer application for a larger apartment, if necessary.  The Transfer application will be processed in accordance with Authority transfer procedures.

3.Occupancy Policy Screening Criteria

Any person 14 years or older, proposed for residency in a BHA apartment, must meet BHA's resident selection criteria as described in this Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (See Chapter 5).  When a Head of Household   requests permission for an addition(s) to the Household, the resident selection criteria shall be used by the Occupancy Department to determine whether or not the proposed household member is eligible for admission. 

Should the tenant/head of household expire subsequent to the occupancy department receiving the completed application for the proposed addition to the tenant’s household, the death of the tenant/head of household shall not result in withdrawal or denial of the application and the department's review of the application shall be completed and if the subject of the application for the proposed addition to the tenant’s household is determined eligible for admission to housing he/she shall be added to the household composition retroactive to the date of receipt of the application by the department and he/she shall be allowed to apply to become a BHA resident as a Residual Tenancy Applicant. (See Chapter 8)

4.  Right to Appeal

A resident who disagrees with an adverse action taken by the BHA regarding a request for an addition of a person to the Lease can request a grievance hearing pursuant to the BHA Grievance Policy.

9.1.4  Other Occupancy Provisions

  1. The addition of a household member shall be made in accordance with the lease and this ACOP.  Residents who fail to notify BHA of additions to the Household are in violation of the lease. Residents who add a person or person(s) to the Household without the written permission of the BHA are also in violation of the lease.  Any such persons will be considered Unauthorized Occupants by BHA and the entire Household will be subject to eviction action.

  2. Any Household Member who moves from the apartment shall be removed from the lease.  The Head or Co-Head of Household has the responsibility to report the move-out within 30 calendar days of its occurrence.  A former Household Member may not be readmitted to the apartment except as a temporary visitor without undergoing screening by the Occupancy Department and securing BHA approval.  Temporary visitors may occupy the apartment for no more than a total of forty-five calendar days within any twelve-month period.

  3. A resident shall not permit the Apartment to be occupied by anyone other than Household Members, except temporary visitors, no one of whom may occupy the apartment for more than a total of forty-five  (45) nights  (or forty-five  (45) days if the visitor regularly sleeps during the day), within any twelve-month period, unless the BHA for good cause otherwise consents to a longer period in writing before the expiration of 45 nights or such longer period as may have been authorized, or unless the visitor is first determined to be eligible to apply to be a member of the Household according to BHA policy, and an application is pending with the BHA. 

  4. Boarders and lodgers shall not be permitted to occupy an apartment, nor shall they be permitted to reside with any Household occupying an apartment.

9.2  Annual and Interim Redeterminations

General Policy

The BHA shall redetermine and adjust Resident's monthly rent, appropriateness of Resident's apartment size, and continued eligibility for public housing, at least once annually. At this time, residents in federal developments/AMPs will be provided with information on their ability to choose between the two methods of determining rent as described in Section 9.2 of this policy. For residents in family developments/AMPs who choose to pay flat rents, family information will be updated annually but income information will only be updated every three years.

For purposes of determination or adjustment of rent and/or for assignment or transfer to a proper size apartment, Resident agrees to submit, within thirty (30) days after a request from BHA, signed, complete, true and accurate statements and/or other information setting forth pertinent facts as to Resident's household income, employment, and composition.  Resident further agrees to execute documents authorizing release of such information from third parties, pursuant to requirements of State and/or Federal law. 

Resident agrees to pay to BHA any rent which should have been paid but for Resident's misrepresentation of any written information furnished to BHA in Resident's application for an apartment, or in substantiating documentation, or in any documentation submitted on a redetermination, or for Resident's failure to supply, in a timely manner, documentation requested by BHA on a redetermination.

Although rent is typically set only at the time of the annual determination, it may be set more often on the basis of changes in Resident's household income or composition, in accordance with the BHA lease.

Residents shall report to BHA any increase in monthly gross household income of $200 or more from the amount reported to BHA at the most recent annual rent determination or interim redetermination.  Any such increase must be reported by the seventh day of the month following the month in which the increase occurs.  Upon receipt of such a report, Resident’s rent and family circumstances shall be reviewed in accordance with BHA’s rent policy.  Rent increases will be effective the second month after BHA sends Resident a Notice of Rent Change.  If a Resident fails to report a change requiring a rent increase, rent shall be increased retroactively to the second month following the change. 

When household income decreases, rent shall be decreased if requested by Resident, and if such rent decrease is in accordance with BHA policy.  Rent decreases will be effective either as of the current month in which the change in circumstances is reported (if reported by no later than the fifteenth day of the month), or as of the first day of the next month after the change in circumstances is reported (if reported after the fifteenth day of the month).  BHA may delay processing the rent decrease until Resident provides adequate verification of such change in circumstances justifying the decrease, but once verifications have been provided, the rent change will be made effective retroactively. 

For residents in Federal developments/AMPs, if household income derives in whole or in part from benefits from welfare or public assistance from a state agency under a program for which the Federal, State or local law relating to the program requires, as a condition of eligibility for assistance under the program, participation of a member of the household in an economic self-sufficiency program or a work activities requirement, and household income decreases as a result of failure to comply with the conditions of said program or requirement, rent will not be decreased, during the period of such income reduction (to the extent that the decrease in income is a result of the benefits reduction), in accordance with BHA policy and 42 USCS §1437j(d).  If such household income decreases as a result of fraud under said program or requirement, rent will not be decreased, during the period of such income reduction (to the extent that the decrease in income is a result of the benefits reduction), in accordance with BHA policy and 42 USCS §1437j(d).  BHA shall not make any determination regarding non-compliance or fraud under such a program or requirement until BHA receives written notification from the relevant public agency specifying that household benefits have been reduced because of such non-compliance or fraud.  Any determination by BHA not to reduce rent pursuant to BHA policy and 42 USCS §1437j (d) shall be subject to BHA's Grievance Procedures and Policy.  For residents in Federal developments/AMPs, the BHA shall consider any decrease in income that results from the reduction of any welfare or public assistance benefits received by residents under any Federal, State or local law regarding a program for such assistance if resident(s) has complied with the conditions for receiving such assistance and is unable to obtain employment notwithstanding such compliance, pursuant to 42 USCS §1437j (f).  A reduction in benefits resulting from the expiration of a lifetime time limit for a household receiving said benefits shall not be considered as a failure to comply.
 
If a resident claims they have no income, management staff must use the zero income questionnaire to attempt to determine how household expenses are being paid.  In the event that family and friends are assisting the household, this is considered income and needs to be verified and counted.

Households paying $0 rent must be re-certified every ninety days.  If a head, co-head or spouse who has previously had employment income reports zero income at an annual or interim re-certification, the household should also be re-certified every ninety days. This rule requires Residents to report to the management office every 90 days to re-certify income and family status.

Before any change in Resident's rent is made, Resident will be notified by a written Notice of Rent Change containing the following information:

  1. The new rental amount and the date it will be effective;

  2. The amount of Resident's household income, household composition and other facts considered by BHA in determining Resident's new rent;

  3. Resident's right to and the method of obtaining a timely hearing under the grievance procedure.

 State Developments Only - Rent will be determined in accordance with applicable State regulations, the BHA’s Lease and the BHA’s Rent Manual.
 
Federal Developments/AMPs Only - As part of the annual Tenant Status Review (TSR) process, residents in Federal Developments/AMPs will be provided written information about the following two different methods for determining the amount of rent payable by the family, their right to choose the method of determining rent and under what circumstances they may request a change to the method utilized in determining rent. As part of this process, residents will be educated about the benefits of selecting one method over another and will be asked to notify the BHA in writing as to which option they choose. 
 
1.  Flat Rent
A fixed rent determined for each unit size based on a market analysis of comparable units. Flat rents for most public housing units are established at 70% of the Section 8 Fair Market Rent Levels.  The Flat rent amount by bedroom size will be reviewed yearly each October and changes will  become effective each 1st of April. The BHA will maintain a current listing of its flat rent schedule as an appendix to the BHA Rent Manual and will provide this list to residents at least annually as part of the TSR process.
 
a.   Financial Hardship: Residents who choose flat rents may request to change to an income-based rent at any time if the family is unable to pay the flat rent because of financial hardship. A financial hardship exists for these purposes when a family’s income is reduced or their deductions are increased to the extent that an income-based rent is lower than the flat rent.
b.    Annual Recertifications: Residents who choose flat rents will be asked to update their family information every year, but will only have to re-certify income verification once every three years.

 2.  Income-Based Rent
Rent determined by the family’s income and allowable deductions in accordance with the BHA’s Lease, the BHA’s Rent Manual and applicable Federal regulations.

9.2.1 Verification of Income, Assets, Income Deductions and Income Exclusions

Verification must be provided for all income, assets, income deductions and income exclusions pertaining to a Resident’s household at least once annually as outlined in this procedure. These items are verified for purposes of determination of monthly rent.
The monthly rent is determined by adding gross income from all sources, for all Household Members, including income from assets, and reducing that income by allowable deductions and income exclusions, in accordance with Federal (HUD) and State (DHCD) laws and regulations. 
The BHA will accept income verification in the following order of preference:

Level Verification Technique Ranking
6 Upfront Income Verification (UIV) using HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system (not available for income verifications of applicants) Highest (Mandatory)
5 Upfront Income Verification (UIV) using non-HUD system Highest (Optional)
4 Written third Party  Verification High (Mandatory to supplement EIV-reported income sources and when EIV has no data; Mandatory for non-EIV reported income sources; Mandatory when tenant disputes EIV-reported employment and income information and is unable to provide acceptable documentation to support dispute)
3 Written Third Party Verification Form Medium-Low (Mandatory if written third party verification documents are not available or rejected by the PHA; and when the applicant or tenant is unable to provide acceptable documentation)
2 Oral Third Party Verification Low (Mandatory if written third party verification is not available)
1 Tenant Declaration Low (Use as a last resort when unable to obtain any type of third party verification)
 
Note:  This verification hierarchy applies to income determinations for applicants and participants.  However, EIV is not available for verifying income of applicants or for tenants residing in state funded housing programs.
 
These verification techniques are described as follows:
  • Up-Front Income Verification – Verification through the computer matching system employed by HUD (EIV) or a computer wage reporting system is the highest, most acceptable form of verification.  For further information regarding the use of HUD’s EIV system, refer to section 9.2.2.
  • Written Third Party Verification – Written verification originated by a third party when Up-Front verification is not available, up to date or is disputed by a resident.  Written third party verification includes resident-supplied original or authentic documents generated by a third party source.  BHA will copy the documents into the Resident’s file.  Resident-supplied documents must be dated within sixty (60) days of receipt by the BHA or as required by our regulatory agencies.   This type of third party verification is the second highest acceptable form of verification. 
  • Written Third Party Verification Form – A standardized form to collect information from a third party source.  The form is completed by the third party by hand (in writing or typeset). The BHA will send the form directly to the third party source by mail, fax, or e-mail.  This type of verification will be used if the resident is unable to provide acceptable documents that are generated by a third party.
  • Oral Third Party Verification - Staff documented verification from a third party via telephone will be accepted after Up-Front verification has been determined to be unavailable and/or written third party verification has been attempted and the third party is unresponsive to BHA’s written requests within ten (10) business days of mailing.  Staff shall utilize the same form that would have been mailed to the third party.  All the information required by the written verification form should be requested during the telephone contact.  BHA staff will complete the form on the basis of such information.  The contact person, date and time of conversation will be noted and the BHA staff person who made the telephone call will sign the form.  Oral third party verification is considered to be the second lowest acceptable form of verification.  
  • Verification by Resident Certification (Tenant Declaration) – With approval from the Assistant Directors of Property Management, Staff may choose to accept an affidavit from a Resident regarding income, deductions and exclusions.  Approval will only be granted upon documentation that all other methods of verification have been attempted and determined to be unsuccessful.   Verification by resident certification is considered to be the lowest acceptable form verification.
Projections of annual income shall be based on the best available information, with due consideration to the past year's income of all household members, current income rate and effective date; and shall include projections for each income recipient in the household.
In order to ensure that all sources of income, assets, deductions and exclusions are considered in calculating annual income, Staff shall interview all residents using the Income and Deductions Questionnaire.
The following forms of verification of income, deductions, exclusions and assets will be accepted:
 
1. Income from Employment
  • Verification through the computer matching system employed by HUD (EIV) or a computer wage reporting system. 
  • Pay stubs showing gross income and all deductions taken for four current consecutive pay periods; or
  • A statement from the Employer stating the gross wages of the employee, including history or anticipated amounts of overtime or bonus to be earned by the employee.
The income of workers employed on an irregular basis will be estimated based on the verification of the best information available, with due consideration to earning ability and work history.
 
2.  Income from governmental agencies
  • Verification through the computer matching system employed by HUD (EIV) or a computer wage reporting system.
  • A statement from the appropriate agency (Social Security, Department of Transitional Assistance, Employment Security, etc), stating the amount of annual or monthly income provided, including the gross amount and any deductions taken.
 
 
3. Income from Retirement Accounts
  • A statement from the source stating the amount of annual or monthly income provided, including the gross amount and any deductions taken.
4. Income from the operation of a business or profession
  • Most recent audited financial statement of income and loss;
  • Most recent tax return showing income and loss from the operation of a business or profession.
5. Zero Income
When an adult resident household member reports zero income, the BHA will require the resident household to complete a No Income Statement.  If the resident household member owns a motor vehicle, a telephone, or has other evidence of some form of expenditures reflecting income, the resident household member will be asked to explain the source of funds supporting such cash expenditures.
In addition, the resident household member will be required to sign releases allowing the BHA to obtain verification of no-income from sources such as Dept. of Transitional Assistance, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Revenue, Social Security Administration, Employment Security and Veterans Affairs.

6. Child Support, alimony, regular gifts and gambling proceeds
  • A statement from the individual, business or agency providing the income and the frequency and amount of income provided; and/or
  • Signed release form allowing the BHA to obtain information from the State Division of Child Support.
7. Income from Assets
Income from assets shall be based on either the actual income received or imputed income based upon current passbook savings rates in accordance with federal and state regulations as applicable.  For instance, actual interest received shall be used for interest bearing bank accounts, money market funds, rented property, etc.  Imputed income will be used for real property which is not rented, jewelry, coin collections, works of art and other non-income bearing assets.  If the value of the asset is more than $5,000 the higher of imputed income or actual income received will be used.
Common household items such as furniture, clothing, and vehicles used for day-to-day transportation shall not be considered assets for the purposes of calculating income.
Types of verification which will be accepted for purposes of determining the value and income received from an asset include:
  • Current statement for all savings, money market and/or mutual funds accounts.  Six current and consecutive statements for checking accounts or other assets for which regular statements are issued;
  • Most recent (no older than one year) appraised value of real property owned provided it’s reflective of fair market value, in the form of property tax bill or appraisal from a Real Estate Appraiser; and
  • Appraised valuations of any non-essential personal assets such as jewelry, coin collections, antiques or classic cars.

8.  Verification of childcare expenses or care of disabled household member deductions

Statement from the provider of childcare or care of Disabled Person who is a household member of the amount of payment made on a periodic basis by the resident household
Filed income tax return stating the amount paid for childcare or care of a disabled household member and the person or agency to whom the expense was paid.
 
9.  Verification of Medical Deductions

The BHA Medical deduction applies to families where the head or spouse is a person who is at least 62 years of age or a person with disabilities.  Eligible residents must submit evidence of the following medical expenses for all household members paid within the last twelve months:

  • Statement of the cost of medical insurance and the frequency of cost from the provider or in the form of deductions indicated on pay stubs or Social Security statements accompanied by proof of payment;

  • Receipts for payment of prescriptions and other health care needs.  Non-prescription health care needs must be documented by both receipts and a statement from a Qualified Health Care Provider of the need for such items (including non-prescription medications, wheelchairs or other disability related aids, etc);

  • Signed printout of prescription costs from a pharmacy accompanied by proof of payment;

  • Medical or dental bills for a household member paid by a household member;

  • Un-reimbursed reasonable attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses and for each member of the family who is a person with disabilities, to the extent necessary to enable any member of the family (including the member who is a person with disabilities) to be employed. This deduction may not exceed the earned income received by family members who are 18 years of age or older and who are able to work because of such attendant care or auxiliary apparatus.

10. Verification of Permissive Medical Deductions

Applies to resident households as a BHA determined permissive deduction per QWHRA Regulations.  This Medical deduction applies to resident households where the head or spouse is not a person who is at least 62 years of age or a person with disabilities.  Eligible residents must submit evidence of the following medical expenses for all household members paid within the last twelve months:

  • Statement of the cost of medical insurance and the frequency of cost from the provider or in the form of deductions indicated on pay stubs or Social Security statements accompanied by proof of payment;

  • Receipts for payment of prescriptions and other health care needs.  Non-prescription health care needs must be documented by both receipts and a statement from a Qualified Health Care Provider of the need for such items (including non-prescription medications, wheelchairs or other disability related aids, etc);

  • Signed printout of prescription costs from a pharmacy accompanied by proof of payment;

  • Medical or dental bills for a household member paid by a household member;

Un-reimbursed reasonable attendant care and auxiliary apparatus expenses and for each member of the family who is a person with disabilities, to the extent necessary to enable any member of the family (including the member who is a person with disabilities) to be employed. This deduction may not exceed the earned income received by family members who are 18 years of age or older and who are able to work because of such attendant care or auxiliary apparatus.

9.2.2 – Use of HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System

The EIV System is a web-based application providing employment, wage, unemployment compensation and social security benefit information of tenants who participate in the Public Housing and various Section 8 programs under the jurisdiction of HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH)This system is available to all PHAs nationwide.  Information in EIV is derived from computer matching programs initiated by HUD with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for all program participants with valid personal identifying information (name, date of birth (DOB), and social security number (SSN)) reported on the form HUD-50058.

1.   Required Use of EIV
The BHA is required to review an EIV Income Report of each family before or during mandatory annual and interim reexaminations of family income and/or composition to reduce tenant under reporting of income and improper subsidy payments. EIV is classified as an UIV technique (or automated written third party verification), which helps to identify income sources and/or amounts that the tenant may not have disclosed.  The BHA is required to maintain the Income Report in the tenant file along with the form HUD-50058 and other supporting documentation to support income and rent determinations for all mandatory annual reexaminations of family income and composition.
 
EIV also provides various reports to assist the BHA with the following:
 
  • Identifying tenants whose reported personal identifiers (name, date of birth or Social Security number) do not match the Social Security Administration database;
  • Identifying tenants who need to disclose a SSN;
  • Identifying tenants whose alternate identification number (Alt ID) needs to be replaced with a SSN;
  • Identifying tenants who may not have reported complete and accurate income information;
  • Identifying tenants who have started a new job;
  • Identifying tenants who may be receiving duplicate rental assistance;
  • Identifying tenants who are deceased and possibly continuing to receive rental assistance;
  • Identifying former tenants of PIH rental assistance programs who voluntarily or involuntarily left the program and have a reportable adverse status and/or owe money to a housing authority or Section 8 landlord. 
2.   Disputing EIV Information and Resolving Discrepancies
In accordance with 24 CFR §5.236(b)(2)(3), the BHA is required to compare the information on the EIV report with the family-reported information. If the EIV report reveals an income source that was not reported by the tenant or a substantial difference in the reported income information, the BHA is required to take the following actions: 
  • Discuss the income discrepancy with the tenant; and
  • Request the tenant to provide any documentation to confirm or dispute the unreported or underreported income and/ or income sources; and
  • In the event the tenant is unable to provide acceptable documentation to resolve the income discrepancy, the BHA is required to request from the third party source, any information necessary to resolve the income discrepancy; and
  • If applicable, determine the tenant’s underpayment of rent as a result of unreported or underreported income, retroactively*; and
  • Take any other appropriate action as directed by HUD or the BHA’s administrative policies.  
       *The BHA is required to determine the retroactive rent as far back as the existence of complete file documentation (form HUD-50058 and supporting documentation) to  
         support such retroactive rent determinations.

Tenants are required to reimburse the BHA if they were charged less rent than required by HUD’s rent formula due to the tenant’s underreporting or failure to report income.  The tenant is required to reimburse the BHA for the difference between the tenant rent that should have been paid and the tenant rent that was charged.  This rent underpayment is commonly referred to as retroactive rent.  If the tenant refuses to enter into a repayment agreement or fails to make payments on an existing or new repayment agreement, the BHA must terminate the family’s tenancy or assistance, or both.  HUD does not authorize any PHA-sponsored amnesty or debt forgiveness programs.
 
Sometimes the source or originator of EIV information may make an error when submitting or reporting information about tenants.  HUD cannot correct data in the EIV system.  Only the originator of the data can correct the information.  When the originator corrects the data, HUD will obtain the updated information with its next computer matching process.   Below are the procedures tenants and PHAs should follow regarding incorrect EIV information.
 
Employment and wage information reported in EIV originates from the employer. The employer reports this information to the local State Workforce Agency (SWA), who in turn, reports the information to HHS’ National Directory of New Hires (NDNH) database.
 
If the tenant disputes this information, s/he should contact the employer directly, in writing to dispute the employment and/or wage information, and request that the employer correct erroneous information.
 
The tenant should provide the BHA with this written correspondence so that it may be maintained in the tenant file.  If employer resolution is not possible, the tenant should contact the local SWA for assistance.
 
Unemployment benefit information reported in EIV originates from the local SWA. If the tenant disputes this information, s/he should contact the SWA directly, in writing to dispute the unemployment benefit information, and request that the SWA correct erroneous information. The tenant should provide the PHA with this written correspondence so that it may be maintained in the tenant file.
 
SS and SSI benefit information reported in EIV originates from the SSA. If the tenant disputes this information, s/he should contact the SSA at (800) 772–1213, or visit the local SSA office. SSA office information is available in the government pages of the local telephone directory or online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
 
Note:  The tenant may also provide the BHA with third party documents which are in the tenant’s possession to support their dispute of EIV information.  The BHA, with the tenant’s consent, is required to submit a third party verification form to third party sources for completion and submission to the BHA, when the tenant disputes EIV information and is unable to provide documentation to validate the disputed information. The tenant’s failure to sign the consent form is grounds for termination of tenancy and/or assistance in accordance with 24 CFR §5.232.
 
Debts owed to PHAs and termination information reported in EIV originates from the PHA. If a current or former tenant disputes this information, s/he should contact the PHA (who reported the information) directly in writing to dispute this information and provide any documentation that supports the dispute. If the PHA determines that the disputed information is incorrect, the PHA will update or delete the record from EIV.  Former tenants may dispute debt and termination information for a period of up to three (3) years from the end of participation date in the PIH program.
 
Identity Theft.  Seemingly incorrect information in EIV may be a sign of identity theft.  Sometimes someone else may use an individual’s SSN, either on purpose or by accident.  SSA does not require an individual to report a lost or stolen SSN card, and reporting a lost or stolen SSN card to SSA will not prevent the misuse of an individual’s SSN.  However, a person using an individual’s SSN can get other personal information about that individual and apply for credit in that individual’s name.  So, if the tenant suspects someone is using his/her SSN, s/he should check their Social Security records to ensure their records are correct (call SSA at (800) 772-1213); file an identity theft complaint with the local police department and/or Federal Trade Commission  (call FTC at (877) 438-4338, or visit their website at:  http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/); and s/he should also monitor their credit reports with the three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian).  The tenant should provide the PHA written documentation of filed identity theft complaint.  (Refer back to paragraph on Employment and wage information regarding disputed EIV information related to identity theft).
 
Tenants may request their credit report and place a fraud alert on their credit report with the three national credit reporting agencies at: www.annualcreditreport.com or by contacting the credit reporting agency directly.  Each agency’s contact information is listed below.
 
National Credit Reporting Agencies Contact Information
 
Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Website:  www.equifax.com
Telephone: (800) 685-1111
 
Experian
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
Website:  www.experian.com
Telephone (888) 397-3742
 
TransUnion
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
Website:  www.transunion.com
Telephone: (800) 680-7289 or (800) 888-4213
 
3.   Security of EIV Data
The Federal Privacy Act (5 USC §552a, as amended) prohibits the disclosure of an individual’s information to another person without the written consent of such individual.  As such, the EIV data of an adult household member may not be shared (or a copy provided or displayed) with another adult household member, unless the individual has provided written consent to disclose such information. 
 
However, the PHA is not prohibited from discussing with the head of household (HOH) and showing the HOH how the household’s income and rent were determined based on the total family income reported and verified.
 
EIV information and any other information obtained by the BHA for the purpose of determining eligibility and level of assistance may not be disclosed to third parties for any reason (even for similar verifications under other programs, such as eligibility for low income housing tax credit units, other federal or state assistance programs), unless the tenant has authorized such disclosure in writing.

9.3 Self-Sufficiency Income Exclusions

The earned income exclusion is only available for households under lease. It is not applicable at admission. Only adults can qualify for the earned income disallowance (because the earnings of family members other than the head or spouse are excluded if the family member is under age 18). Each person can receive only one 24-month disallowance period during his or her lifetime. There are three categories of individuals who qualify for the earned income disallowance:

  • A person whose annual income increases because of employment after having been unemployed for at least 12 months.  A person is considered to have been unemployed if he or she has earned less money in the previous 12 months than would have been earned working 10 hours per week for 50 weeks at the established minimum wage. (The minimum wage to be used is that applicable to the locality in which the determination is made.)  The majority of families who qualify for earned income disallowances are likely to do so under this category. Note: An individual who was unemployed for some period of time before becoming a public housing resident or who earned so little in the previous period to be considered unemployed could qualify under this category, so long as there is a 12 month period of unemployment.
  • A person whose annual income increases because of new or increased earnings during participation in an economic self-sufficiency or other job-training program. This requirement is not the same as the previous income disregard. The key concept in this eligibility category is that the individual receives the new or additional earned income while he or she is involved in economic self sufficiency or job training, not after the completion of such training.  Note: An example of this category of qualification occurs when people are studying for a variety of medical professions. Typically, classroom work is followed by a ‘practicum’ in a doctor’s office, hospital or clinic, during which the individual is paid.
  • A person whose annual income increases because of new or increased earnings, during or within six months after the household’s receiving assistance, benefits or services from a program funded by any state program for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funded under Part A of Title VI of the Social Security.

9.4 Community Service and Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy (Applicable to Federal Developments/AMPs Only)

GENERAL REQUIREMENT

As part of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998, Congress imposed a requirement that all adult residents of federally funded public housing, unless specifically exempted, must perform community service activities or participate in an economic self-sufficiency program to remain eligible for public housing assistance. Therefore the federal public housing lease provides that all non-exempt residents must:
 

  • Contribute 8 hours per month of community service (not including political activity); or
  • Participate in an economic self-sufficiency program for 8 hours per month; or
  • Perform eight hours each month of combined community service and self-sufficiency activities.
DEFINITIONS
 
Community Service:  For the purpose of this policy, community service is the performance of voluntary work or duties for the public benefit that serve to improve the quality of life and/or enhance resident self-sufficiency, and/or increase the self-responsibility of the resident within the community in which the resident resides. Community service is not limited to a single type of activity or a single location. Acceptable community service activities include, but are not limited to, improving the physical environment of the resident's development/AMP; volunteer work in a local school, hospital or child care center; working with youth organizations; or helping neighborhood groups on special projects. By statute, political activity is not an eligible form of community service.
 
Economic Self-Sufficiency Program: For the purpose of this policy, an economic self-sufficiency program is any program designed to encourage, assist, train, or facilitate the economic independence of participants and their families or to provide work for participants. These programs may include, but are not limited to: programs for job readiness or training, employment training, work placement, basic skills training, education, English language proficiency, work fare, financial or household management, apprenticeship, and any program necessary to ready a participant to work, such as substance abuse or mental health treatment.
 
NOTIFICATION OF RESIDENTS
 
       The Boston Housing Authority will notify all new residents of the community service requirement at the time of lease signing. The notification will include an explanation of the program and will list the categories of individuals who are exempt from performing community service activities. Definitions and examples of community service and economic self-sufficiency activities will be part of the notice.
            
       All current residents will be provided with a copy of this notice at the time of
      annual re-examination. 
              
       The notification will also advise families when the community service obligation will begin. Non-exempt residents will be required to begin performing community service at their first lease renewal date following the adoption of this policy.
 
EXEMPTIONS
 
The following residents over the age of eighteen are exempt from this   requirement:
  1. Resident household members who are 62 or older;
  2. Resident household members who are blind or disabled as defined in the Social Security Act (Section 2l6 (i) (1) or Section 1614 of the Social Security Act (42 USC 416 (i) (1); 1382c);
The Social Security Act defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”
 
Blindness is defined as “central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye which is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no less than 20 degrees shall be considered for purposes of this paragraph as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.”
 
Residents who claim exemption because of disability or blindness must also certify that because of this blindness or disability they are unable to comply with the community service requirement. If a resident does not meet this definition of blindness or disability and believes that he or she is unable to perform community service or economic self-sufficiency activity, he or she may apply for an exemption from the requirement as a reasonable accommodation under the BHA Reasonable Accommodation in Housing Policy (RAHP). An application for reasonable accommodation can be obtained at the development/AMP management office.
 
  1. Resident household members who are the primary care giver of a blind or disabled individual as described in paragraph 2;
  2. Resident household members who are engaged in a work activity as defined under section 407 (d) of the Social Security Act (42 USC 607 (d), for ten or more hours each week;
      Work activities are:
  • Unsubsidized employment;
  • Subsidized private sector employment;
  • Subsidized public sector employment;
  • Work experience, including  work associated with refurbishing: publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector employment is not available;
  • On-the-job training;
  • Job search;
  • Community service programs;
  • Vocational educational training not to exceed twelve months;
  • Job skills training directly related to employment;
  • Education directly related to employment for a resident who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency;
  • Satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalency for a resident who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate; or
  • The provision of childcare services to an individual who is participating in a community service program
  1. Resident household members who are exempt from work activity under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 USC Section 60l et seq.) or under any other state welfare program, including a State-administered welfare-to-work program;        
      6.   Resident household member of a family receiving assistance, benefits or services under a State program funded under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act  
          (42 USC 601 et seq.), or under any other State welfare program, including a State-administered welfare-to-work program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance    
          Program (SNAP), and is in compliance with all provisions of that program.
 
In accordance with HUD guidelines, persons eligible for a disability deduction in rent are not automatically exempt from the community service requirement. A resident is exempt only to the extent the disability makes the person “unable to comply” with the community service requirement.
 
INITIAL DETERMINATION OF EXEMPTION
 
All applicants will be provided with an information sheet describing the community service/self-sufficiency requirement at the time they make their final application. At the time the lease is signed, the property manager will again provide the head of household with the community service information sheet. Each household member will be asked to declare if they are exempt from community service and provide the appropriate verifications.
 
In order to establish an exemption the following verification must be provided:
           
  1. Age 62 or over.  Any birth certificate or proof of age already submitted by the resident to establish age or achieve eligibility for occupancy as a person 62 or older shall be deemed sufficient verification.
  2. Disability or blindness.   Receipt by a household member of Social Security Disability or SSI benefits shall be deemed proof of disability under this policy. A household member whose application for disability benefits is pending shall be deemed disabled unless and until a denial of the application is received. Any resident who believes they meet the definition of disability included in this policy may submit a statement from their treating physician providing BHA staff with facts that will assist them in determining whether the resident is disabled within the definition applicable under this policy. If a resident does not meet this definition but still believes that he or she is unable to perform community service, the resident may apply for a reasonable accommodation under the BHA RAHP policy. The manager will provide an application for reasonable accommodation upon request.
Residents who are determined to be exempt because of blindness or disability shall also sign a statement certifying that they are unable to comply with the community service requirement because of the blindness or disability.
  1. Primary caregiver of a disabled or blind person.  A statement from the person being cared for or his or her guardian affirming that the resident seeking exemption acts as the primary caregiver and the period during which (s)he is expected to continue in that role shall be adequate verification.
  2. Engaged in work activity.  The verification of employment income provided to BHA for rent determination shall be adequate for this purpose. Verification of participation in job training or other qualifying program must be submitted by the providing organization or school.
  3. Exempt from work activity under state welfare program.  Verification of the exemption should be obtained from the welfare department.
  4. Member of a family who receives assistance from a state welfare program and is in compliance with that program.  Verification of receipt of program assistance and compliance should be obtained from the welfare department.
The manager will make a determination of exempt status and notify the resident. If the resident disagrees with the determination, he or she may file a grievance under the BHA grievance procedure.
 
The exemption status for each household member will be entered on the client worksheet. Families with non-exempt members will receive a list of community service and self-sufficiency opportunities.
 
CONTINUING DETERMINATION OF EXEMPTION AND COMPLIANCE
 
Each year, as part of the Tenant Status Review, the property manager will determine whether each non-exempt household member has complied with the community service requirement and whether each exempt household member continues to be exempt.
 
Included with the letter requesting the head of household to come to the office for the status review will be a reminder that resident compliance with and/or exemption from community service will be determined as part of the status review. A list of exemption categories, a reminder that certain exemptions from the community service requirement must be reviewed annually and a description of the documentation needed to support each exemption will be attached to the letter. A Verification of Compliance form for each household member who was required to perform community service will be provided at the recertification appointment. These forms must be completed and returned to the property manager at least thirty (30) days before the lease term expires. The form includes confirmation of:
·     the number of hours of community service/self-sufficiency work completed,
·     the type of work completed
·     the community organization where the work was completed
·     the signature, name, title, address and phone number of the person supervising completion of the work.
 
At the time of the status review the manager will reconfirm the exemption status of each household member. The head of household may provide the property manager with the required documentation for any change in status claimed by an adult family member. The manager will reconfirm the following exemption categories annually:
  • Blindness or disability
  • Primary caregiver
  • Engaged in work activity
  • Exempt from work activity under a state welfare program
  • Exempt through receipt of assistance, benefits or services from a state welfare program and in compliance with all provisions of the program.
If a household member becomes exempt from the community service requirement during a lease term and informs the manager so that the exemption can be verified, he or she shall be exempt from performing community service for the entire year. Unemployed residents, for example, may request an exemption if they find work or start a job training program. If a resident is determined by BHA to become exempt during the year, s/he will be excused from the entire annual 96-hour requirement. There is no obligation for a resident to report a change in status from exempt to non-exempt between regular status reviews. If a resident previously determined to be exempt becomes non-exempt during a lease term, he or she is not required to report the change in status to the manager until the next status review.
 
If the household is found to be in compliance with the community service/self-sufficiency requirement as well as all other requirements for continuing occupancy, the lease will be automatically renewed. An annual lease signing process is not necessary.
  
NON-COMPLIANCE
 
If the BHA determines that a non-exempt resident has not complied with the community service/self-sufficiency requirement, the property manager must notify the head of household of the noncompliance in writing. This notification must also inform the resident that:
  • the determination of noncompliance is subject to the BHA's grievance procedure;
  • unless the resident enters into an agreement to cure or the non-compliant adult no longer resides in the unit, the lease of the family of which the noncompliant adult is a member shall not be renewed; and
  • the resident has the opportunity to cure the noncompliance during the next twelve-month period.
To take advantage of the statutory opportunity to cure, the noncompliant adult must sign an agreement stating that the noncompliant adult will complete, over the next 12-month term of the lease, the additional hours of community service or economic self-sufficiency activity needed to reach the required total of 96 hours for the prior year. These additional hours must be performed in addition to the 96-hour requirement for the current lease year.
 
As is required by law, continued non-compliance will result in the commencement of eviction proceedings against the entire household, unless the noncompliant family member is no longer part of the household.
 
DOCUMENTATION
 
The property manager must retain documentation of community service participation and/or exemption in the resident's file.
At lease signing for new residents or at the Tenant Status Review for current residents, the manager must ensure a Certification of Exemption Status form is completed for each adult household member claiming an exemption from the community service/self-sufficiency requirement. Supporting documentation will be requested of the resident to verify exempt status and copies of the verification will be retained in the file.
 
At the time of the annual Tenant Status Review, the head of household is responsible for ensuring that a Verification of Compliance form is completed by the appropriate authority for every non-exempt household member. This form will also be maintained in the resident file.
 
GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
 
Upon filing a written request, as provided in the Boston Housing Authority grievance procedure, any resident who disagrees with any Boston Housing Authority (BHA) action or failure to act in accordance with the Community Service Policy shall be entitled to a grievance hearing.
 
PROHIBITION AGAINST THE REPLACEMENT OF EMPLOYEES
 
In implementing the community service requirement, the Boston Housing Authority will not substitute community service for work ordinarily performed by public housing employees or replace a job at any location where community work requirements are performed.

THIRD-PARTY COORDINATING

The Boston Housing Authority intends to exercise its option to administer the community service/self-sufficiency requirement through one or more of the following alternatives:
 
      directly administer some qualifying community service and economic self-sufficiency activities;

  • make such activities available through a contractor; or
  • make such activities available through partnerships with qualified organizations, including resident organizations and community agencies or institutions.

9.5  Inspections

In accordance with the lease, apartment inspections are performed at three times: pre-occupancy, upon move-out, and at least once annually and as further provided in the BHA lease.

9.5.1  Pre-Occupancy Inspections

  1. The BHA and the resident or his/her representative will inspect the apartment prior to occupancy by the resident.  The BHA will give the resident a copy of the statement of conditions showing the condition of the premises, interior and exterior as applicable, and of any appliances provided with the apartment.
  2. The statement of conditions shall be signed by a BHA representative and resident and a copy of the form retained in the resident's folder.  Any deficiencies noted on the statement of conditions will be corrected by the Authority before the resident moves in, and at no charge to the resident.

9.5.2  Annual Inspections

  1. The BHA will inspect all apartments at least annually and more frequently if apartment conditions are not safe, sanitary and in good repair. Residents will be notified as to the date and time of inspections in accordance with provisions in the lease.
  2. Annual inspections will evaluate the following: any need for repairs; housekeeping conditions; safety violations; and resident’s compliance with other obligations under the lease.  The resident will be informed of any deficiencies and notified of any action required by the resident or the BHA to correct deficiencies.
  3. BHA will correct deficiencies determined to be the BHA’s responsibility.
  4. Where resident action is required, re-inspections will be conducted.
  5. Where the resident fails to take required action to correct deficiencies, the BHA may correct the deficiencies and bill the resident. The resident shall also pay promptly, upon receipt of a bill, for lock replacements or re-keying and for the cost of all materials and/or labor for repair of any damage to BHA property caused by the negligence or intentional act of the resident, a member of resident's Household or a guest; the bill shall clearly state the items for which the charge is made, the work done, and the cost of labor and materials; the bill shall not become due and payable before the first day of the second month following the month in which the charge is billed; BHA will post in each management office a list of the hourly rate charged for labor.

9.5.3  Move-Out Inspection 

The BHA will inspect the apartment after the resident vacates the apartment and give the resident a written statement of conditions, repairs, cleaning and replacements    for which the resident is responsible.  The resident and/or his/her representative may join in such inspection, unless the resident vacates without notice to the BHA.

9.6  Lease Termination Procedures

The lease of a BHA resident provides the terms and procedures for termination of the lease.

9.6.1  Recordkeeping Requirements for Lease Termination

A written record of every termination and/or eviction shall be maintained by BHA in the resident file, and shall contain the following information:

  1. Name of resident, number and identification of the apartment occupied;
  2. Date of the 14-Day Notice, 30-Day Notice, or other notice of Intent to Terminate and the Notice to Vacate;
  3. Specific reason(s) for the Notice(s), indicating the section(s) of the lease allegedly violated, and other facts pertinent to the issuing of the Notices described in detail;
  4. Date and method of notifying the resident;
  5. Summary of any conference held with the resident including date, names of conference participants and conclusion.
  6. Decisions of any grievance panel hearings.
 

[1] Temporary orders shall be for a period of at least one year in order to be considered under this provision.


Revision date:  09/19/16