Property Standards

The HOME Program has multiple requirements with regard to property standards and condition, and these generally exceed what is required for the LIHTC program. Therefore, the PJ should make sure the LIHTC developer understands these requirements, and that any adjustments to the plans and specifications are made accordingly.

Codes and Standards

At the conclusion of construction or rehabilitation, HOME-funded properties must comply with applicable codes and standards. The property codes that are applicable to HOME-LIHTC projects include:

4 Since the promulgation of the HOME Program regulations, these code issuing agencies have merged to form the International Code Council (ICC). The model codes used for the HOME Program are no longer being updated. In their stead, the ICC has issued the International Building Code. HUD will consider whether changes to the HOME regulations incorporating the International Building Code are appropriate. The HOME Program website provides updated information on all HOME requirements. (See http://www.hud.gov/homeprogram/. ) For more information about the International Building Code, see http://www.iccsafe.org.

While most of the codes and standards are established outside of the HOME Program, each PJ must develop written rehabilitation standards to apply to all HOME-funded rehabilitation work. These standards define the quality and functionality of a property upon completion of rehabilitation. They include the methods and materials to be used when performing rehabilitation activities, but can also include other elements preferred or required in rehabilitation, including standards for energy efficiency and useful life of structure and systems.

While the LIHTC program does not impose property standards on new construction or rehabilitation, some states impose property standards through the QAP (such as Energy Star). LIHTC requires ongoing inspections based on the HUD Uniform Property Conditions Standards at 24 CFR 5.703.

Accessibility Requirements

HOME-funded programs are subject to several Federal laws governing accessibility for persons with disabilities. Key among these are:

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (24 CFR Part 8) ? Fair Housing Act, as amended (24 CFR Part 100).

Generally, these laws ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to programs and activities that receive Federal funding, and impose structural requirements for the design and construction of housing. LIHTC projects are subject to the Fair Housing Act requirements, but they are not subject to Section 504. PJs must be certain that HOME-LIHTC properties meet the requirements of both laws.

The technical specifications required by Section 504 apply the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standard (UFAS), which is generally a higher standard of accessibility than that imposed by the Fair Housing Act. Since UFAS does not typically apply to tax credit units, it is important for PJs to be sure that architect and construction contractors of the HOME-LIHTC project understand the specific UFAS standard for any units that are designated as accessible to meet the Section 504 requirements.

In addition to the design and construction standards, Section 504 requires that the PJ's program, when viewed in its entirety, be readily accessible to, and usable by, persons with disabilities. This requirement may have some operational implications for the property’s management (such as requirements for accommodations for persons with disabilities, and defining disability).

Lead-Based Paint Requirements

When the HOME-assisted project involves rehabilitation of a property that was constructed prior to1978, the rehabilitation is subject to the lead-based paint regulations at 24 CFR Part 35.5 The LIHTC program does not specifically impose lead-based paint rehabilitation standards. However, tax credit properties are subject to the HUD Uniform Property Conditions Standards (UPCS) and all tax credit properties (including pre-1978 properties) are subject to ongoing inspections and paint maintenance requirements.

A HOME-LIHTC project must meet the lead-based paint requirements of both programs. In general, the HOME lead-based paint requirements are more stringent than those imposed by LIHTC. These requirements vary, based on the amount of Federal rehabilitation assistance per unit, as summarized in Exhibit 3-2.

Exhibit 3-2: Summary of Federal Lead-Based Paint Requirements

Exhibit 3-2: Summary of Federal Lead-Based Paint Requirements

Exhibit 3-2: Summary of Federal Lead-Based Paint Requirements

5 Some pre-1978 properties may be exempt under 24 CFR 35.110, including properties that are LBP-free or LBP-removed, zero bedroom units, and rehabilitation that will not disturb any painted surfaces.

Ongoing maintenance requirements also apply to HOME rental projects during the affordability period, and are discussed in Chapter 5.

Enforcement of Labor Standards during Construction

The HOME Program imposes certain labor standards during construction. None of these standards typically apply in an LIHTC-only project; therefore, the PJ must be sure that the LIHTC owner understands and complies with these requirements. The HOME labor-related requirements are summarized in the last section of this chapter. Among the requirements are Equal Employment Opportunity, Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise outreach, Davis-Bacon labor standards for projects of 12 or more HOME-assisted units, and Section 3 requirements for awards over $200,000 and construction contracts over $100,000.



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