The HOME and LIHTC Programs impose certain lease requirements for the purpose of protecting tenants’ rights. Generally, the HOME Program imposes more restrictive requirements, and these must be followed for units that are both HOME- and LIHTC-assisted. As a general practice, these requirements would be followed across all units in the property operating under both programs.
Required Lease Provisions
The following HOME lease requirements, in accordance with 24 CFR 92.253, must be met for all HOME-LIHTC units:
6 Note, the only exception to this rule is for housing for persons with a specific type of disability who could not reside in housing that is available to the general public. In practice, this exception would apply to persons whose disabilities require them to have onsite supportive services (such as 24-hour supervision), because without the onsite services, these persons would be unable to maintain themselves in housing. See 24 CFR 8.4(b)(1)(iv).
- Every tenant must have a written lease.
- The lease for a HOME-assisted unit must explain the HOME rent requirements and clearly state the rent amount, applicable utility allowance (if any), whether or not there is project-based assistance, and under what circumstances rents may be adjusted. It should also clearly state the LIHTC requirements.
- The lease term must be for at least twelve (12) months, unless there is mutual agreement between the owner and the tenant. This is more restrictive than the LIHTC six-month requirement.
- Services or program participation requirements (such as “clean and sober” programs) cannot be mandated through the lease document.
- The PJ must approve the lease form.
Prohibited Lease Provisions
HOME also expressly prohibits the use of certain lease provisions (which may not be allowable under state or local tenant-landlord law as well). Therefore, leases for units that are assisted with both HOME and LIHTC may not include the following provisions:
- Agreement to be sued
- Agreement regarding seizure of property
- Agreement excusing the owner from responsibility
- Waiver of notice
- Waiver of legal proceedings
- Waiver of a jury trial
- Waiver of right to appeal a court decision
- Agreement to pay legal costs, regardless of outcome.
The LIHTC program permits the property manager to impose a requirement for tenants to participate in certain services or tenant programs. This is not permitted under the HOME Program. Therefore, no tenant of a unit funded with both HOME and LIHTC can be required to participate in any services or tenant programs.
Provisions for CHDO Projects
The HOME Program imposes additional requirements on projects that are owned, developed, or sponsored by CHDOs. These projects must adopt tenant participation plans and fair lease and grievance procedures to ensure ongoing involvement of low-income residents in decisions at the property.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Federal law requires all owners of pre-1978 to disclose any knowledge of lead-based paint to tenants. Rules require a disclosure notice and provision of the Protect Your Family from Lead brochure.
In addition, property managers of HOME-assisted housing that is built prior to 1978 must comply with rules related to controlling or abating the hazards of lead-based paint in federally assisted housing. These rules require that the owner make additional disclosures regarding any evaluations or clearances of lead-based paint hazards.
The HOME requirements related to lead-based paint control are discussed in Chapter 3.
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