President Obama Signs NAA/NMHC Supported Section 8 Housing Reforms
August 5, 2016
On July 29, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3700, the "Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016." The legislation passed with broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and was strongly supported by the NAA/NMHC. The Act makes a number of revisions to federal affordable housing programs, including the Housing Choice [Section 8] Voucher program. Specifically, it streamlines the Section 8 Voucher Program’s property inspection process by allowing immediate occupancy if the apartment home has been inspected within the past 24 months. The legislation also extends the contract term for project based vouchers from 15 to 20 years.
Currently, an apartment owner must wait for a Public Housing Authority to conduct an Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection of an apartment before a prospective tenant with a section 8 voucher could move in to an apartment. This inspection is separate from and in addition to any state or local inspections that may be performed. Delays for an HQS inspection can sometimes take more than thirty days. This delay puts voucher holders at a disadvantage compared to market-rate tenants and imposes unnecessary administrative burdens on apartment owners. This Act would partially address this problem by allowing voucher holders to move in to units that have already passed inspections for other federal programs. Currently, units that receive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) or are FHA insured are already inspected as a condition of participation in those programs. Click here for copy of the new law.