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HUD Proposes Increased Rents, Work Requirements for HUD-Assisted Households

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 27, 2018

This week the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released proposed legislation that would increase rents, eliminate deductions for medical and childcare expenses and allow housing providers to implement work requirements on tenants served by public housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance. The current law requires most HUD-assisted households to pay 30 percent of their adjusted income on rent and a minimum rent of $50 per month, even if it’s more than 30 percent of the household’s monthly income. HUD’s proposal requires most families to pay either 35 percent of their gross income or a minimum of $150 per month, whichever is higher. Under HUD’s proposal, the lowest income households would pay three times more than they currently do on rent. 


These families would also lose the ability to take income deductions for medical and childcare expenses, which would also raise rents for households with high costs in these areas. The bill would allow for hardship exemptions, but HUD has yet to certify that Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and housing providers are complying with hardship exemptions, a requirement of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016.


Elderly and disabled households would also see rent increases. Under the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities programs, families with an elderly or disabled head of household would pay 30 percent of the household’s monthly gross income or $50 minimum in rent, whichever is greater. Currently, elderly households are required to pay a minimum of $25 per month and disabled households do not have a minimum requirement. The bill also raises the age of an elderly household from 62 to 65. Seniors currently over the age of 65 and individuals with disabilities would be exempt from rent increases for the first six years.


The proposal additionally allows PHAs and housing providers to establish alternative rent structures and minimum work requirements for households. The rent structures could include tiered rents, calculating rents based on different income brackets; stepped rents, increasing rents systematically overtime; and timed escrow. These alternative structures could increase rents on low-income households. The work requirements could be applied to households or individuals, excluding elderly and disable households. The Secretary would set a maximum number of hours permitted in work requirement arrangements as well as the types of work and employment activities that would satisfy work requirements. It is estimated that currently 9 in 10 HUD-assisted households are elderly, disabled, working or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).


Next Steps

Since the legislation is a proposal from HUD, it would ultimately have to be approved by Congress. The proposal has not yet been introduced in Congress, and it is anticipated that if and when it is, it will be faced with harsh criticism. There is currently similar legislation being circulated by Rep. Dennis Ross, R-FL, but this bill also has yet to be introduced.


Take Action

Sign onto the national letter in opposition to any attempt to cut housing benefits for America's lowest income households. Click here to sign on! Please contact NALHFA Policy Director, Heather Voorman at with questions and stay tuned to NALHFA Legislative Alerts for more information and advocacy opportunities regarding this proposal. 

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