HUD unveils rent reform initiative

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials unveiled this week a series of reforms designed to offer simpler, less invasive and more transparent rent structures.

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HUD officials said the effort would also place HUD’s rental assistance programs on a more fiscally sustainable path, aiding Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), property owners and HUD-assisted families.

“The system we currently use to calculate a family’s rental assistance is broken and holds back the very people we’re supposed to be helping,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said.”HUD-assisted households are now required to surrender a long list of personal information, and any new income they earn is ‘taxed’ every year in the form of a rent increase. Today, we begin a necessary conversation about how we can provide meaningful, dignified assistance to those we serve without hurting them at the same time.”

Through its Making Affordable Housing Work Act, HUD officials said the agency is seeking to reform decades-old rent policies deemed confusing, costly and counterproductive. Officials also said incentives they create often fail to adequately support individuals and families receiving HUD rental assistance in increasing their earnings.

HUD is proposing a structure of core rents offering a more transparent and predictable rent calculation streamlining program administration for PHAs and owners easier for both landlords and tenants to understand.