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RULE §10.802Written Policies and Procedures

(a) The purpose of this section is to outline the policies and/or procedures of the Department (also called tenant section criteria) that are required to have written documentation. If an Owner fails to have such written policies and procedures, or fails to follow their written policies and procedures it will be handled as an Event of Noncompliance as further provided in §10.803 of this subchapter (relating to Compliance and Events of Noncompliance).

  (1) Owners must inform applicants/tenants in writing, at the time of application, or at the time of other actions described in this section, that such policies/procedures as described in this section are available, and that the Owner will provide copies upon request to applicants/tenants or their representatives.

  (2) The Owner must have all policies and related documentation required by this section and the TDHCA form based on HUD form 5380 "Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act" and the HUD form 5382 "Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking and Alternate Documentation" available in the leasing office and anywhere else where applications are taken; Developments that accept electronic applications must maintain on their website these written policies and procedures and the same noted forms.

  (3) All policies must have an effective date. Any changes made to the policies require a new effective date, and a notice regarding the availability of new policies must be communicated to tenants in writing. Acceptable forms of notification in writing are: an email or letter to all tenants, a note on all occupied Unit doors, or posting for at least 30 calendar days in a mailroom or other central common area, accessible to tenants. Other acceptable forms of notification may be approved by the Department, upon request in advance of the policy's effective date.

  (4) In general, policies addressing credit, criminal history, and occupancy standards cannot be applied retroactively. Tenants who already reside in the Development or applicants on the waitlist at the time new or revised tenant selection criteria are applied, and who are otherwise in good standing under the lease or waitlist, must not receive notices of termination or non-renewal based solely on their failure to meet the new or revised tenant selection criteria or be passed over on the waitlist. However, criteria related to program eligibility may be applied retroactively when a market rate development receives a new award of tax credits, federal, or state funds and a household is not eligible under the new program requirements, or when prior criteria violate federal or state law.

(b) Tenant Selection Criteria. A Development Owner must maintain current and prior versions of the written Tenant Selection Criteria, for the longer of the records retention period that applies to the program, or for as long as tenants who were screened under the historical criteria are occupying the Development.

  (1) The criteria identified by a Development must be reasonably related to an applicant's ability to perform under the lease (for a Development with MFDL funding this means to pay the rent, not to damage the housing, and not to interfere with the rights and quiet enjoyment of other tenants) and include at a minimum:

    (A) Requirements that determine an applicant's basic eligibility for the Development, including any preferences, restrictions (such as the Occupancy Standard Policy), the Waitlist Policy, Changes in Housing Designation Policy, low income unit designations utilized, and any other tenancy requirements. Any restrictions on student occupancy and any exceptions to those restrictions, as documented in the tenant file as provided for in 10 TAC §10.612(b)(2) of this chapter (relating to Tenant File Requirements) must be stated in the policies;

    (B) Applicant screening criteria, including what applicant attributes are screened and what scores or findings would result in ineligibility;

    (C) The following statement: Screening criteria will be applied in a manner consistent with all applicable laws, including the Texas and Federal Fair Housing Acts, the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, program guidelines, and TDHCA's rules;

    (D) Specific age requirements if the Development is operating as an Elderly Property either under the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 as amended (HOPA), or the age related eligibly criteria required by its use of federal funds.

  (2) The criteria must not:

    (A) Include preferences for admission, unless it is in a recorded LURA which has been approved by the Department (preferences are required to be in a LURA when a Development has MFDL funding, except for the preference allowed by paragraph (3) of this subsection), is required by a program in which the Owner is participating which requires the preference, or is allowed by paragraph (3) of this subsection. Owners that include preferences in their leasing criteria due to other federal financing must provide to the Department either written approval from HUD, USDA, or VA for such preference, or identify the statute, written agreement, or federal guidance documentation that permits the adoption of this preference;

    (B) Exclude an individual or family from admission to the Development solely because the household participates in the HOME Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program, the housing choice voucher program under Section 8, United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. §1-437), or other federal, state, or local government rental assistance program. If an Owner adopts a minimum income standard for households participating in a voucher program, it is limited to the greater of a monthly income of 2.5 times the household's share of the total monthly rent amount or $2,500 annually; or

    (C) In accordance with VAWA, deny admission on the basis that the applicant has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

  (3) If the Development is funded with HOME, TCAP RF, NHTF, or NSP funds, in accordance with 24 CFR §93.356 and 24 CFR §92.359, the criteria may have a preference for persons who have experienced domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

  (4) Occupancy Standard Policy.

    (A) If the Development restricts the number of occupants in a Unit in a more restrictive manner than found in Section 92.010 of the Texas Property Code, the Occupancy Standard Policy must allow at least two persons per Bedroom plus one additional person per Unit. An Efficiency Unit that is greater than 600 square feet, must also have an Occupancy Standard Policy of at least three persons per Unit. In an SRO or in an Efficiency that is less than 600 square feet, the Occupancy Standard Policy must allow at least two persons per Unit. Supportive housing or transitional housing Developments where all Units in the Development are SROs or Efficiencies, are not required by the Department to have an Occupancy Standard Policy, except as required for the 811 PRA Program or as reflected in the Development's LURA.

    (B) A Development may adopt a more restrictive standard than described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, if the Development is required to utilize a more restrictive standard by a local governmental entity, or a federal funding source. However, the Development must have this information available onsite for Department review.

    (C) Except for an Elderly Development that meets the requirements of the Housing for Older Persons Act exception under the Fair Housing Act, the Occupancy Standard Policy must state that children that join the household after the start of a lease term will not cause a household to be in violation of the lease.

(c) Reasonable Accommodations Policy. Owners must maintain a written Reasonable Accommodations policy. The policy must be maintained at the Development. Owners are responsible for ensuring that their employees and contracted third party management companies are aware of and comply with the reasonable accommodation policy.

  (1) The policy must provide:

    (A) Information on how an applicant or current resident with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation;

    (B) How transfers related to a reasonable accommodation will be addressed; and

    (C) A timeframe in which the Owner will respond to a request that is compliant with §1.204(b)(3) and (d) of this title (relating to Reasonable Accommodations).

  (2) The policy must not:

    (A) Require a household to make a reasonable accommodation request in writing;

    (B) Require a household whose need is readily apparent to provide third party documentation of a disability;

    (C) Require a household to provide specific medical or disability information other than the disability verification that may be requested to verify eligibility for reasonable accommodation;

    (D) Exclude a household with person(s) with disabilities from admission to the Development because an accessible unit is not currently available; or

    (E) Require a household to rent a unit that has already been made accessible.

(d) Waitlist Policy. Owners must maintain a written waitlist policy, regardless of current Unit availability. The policy must be maintained at the Development. The policy must include procedures the Development uses in:

  (1) Opening, closing, and selecting applicants from the waitlist, including but not limited to the requirements in §10.615(b) of this title (relating to Elections under IRC §42(g) and Additional Income and Rent Restrictions for HTC, Exchange, and TCAP Developments);

  (2) Determining how lawful preferences are applied; and

  (3) Procedures for prioritizing applicants needing accessible Units in accordance with 24 CFR §8.27, and Chapter 1, Subchapter B of this title (relating to Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodations).

(e) Changes in Household Designation Policy. This is applicable if a Development has adopted a policy in accordance with §10.611(c) of this subchapter (relating to Determination, Documentation and Certification of Annual Income).

(f) Denied Application Policies. Owners must maintain a written policy regarding the procedures they will follow when denying an application and when notifying denied applicants of their rights.

  (1) The policy must address the manner by which rejections of applications will be handled, including timeframes and appeal procedures, if any.

  (2) Within seven days after the determination is made to deny an application, the owner must provide any rejected or ineligible applicant that completed the application process a written notification of the grounds for rejection. The written notification must include:

    (A) The specific reason for the denial and reference the specific leasing criteria upon which the denial is based;

    (B) Contact information for any third parties that provided the information on which the rejection was based and information on the appeals process, if one is used by the Development. An appeals procedure is required for HOME Developments that are owned by Community Housing Development Organizations, and Units at Developments that lease Units under the Department's Section 811 PRA program. The appeals process must provide a 14-day period for the applicant to contest the reason for the denial, and comply with other requirements of the HUD Handbook 4350.3 4-9; and

    (C) The TDHCA form based on HUD form 5380 "Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act" and the HUD form 5382 "Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking and Alternate Documentation."

  (3) The Development must keep and may periodically be requested to submit to the Department a log of all denied applicants that completed the application process to include:

    (A) Basic household demographic and rental assistance information, if requested during any part of the application process; and

    (B) The specific reason for which an applicant was denied.

  (4) If an 811 applicant is being denied, within three calendar days of the denial the Department's 811 PRA Program point of contact must be notified and provided with a copy of the written notice that was provided to the applicant.

(g) Non-renewal and/or Termination Notices. A Development Owner must maintain a written policy regarding procedures for providing households non-renewal and termination notices.

  (1) The owner must provide in any non-renewal or termination notice, a specific and lawful reason for the termination or non-renewal.

  (2) The notification must:

    (A) Be delivered as required under applicable program rules and the lease. For HOME, TCAP RF, NHTF, NSP, HTC, TCAP and Exchange Developments, see 10 TAC §10.613(a) - (b) of this chapter (relating to Lease Requirements). For Section 811 PRA, see 24 CFR §247.4(a) - (f);

    (B) Include the TDHCA form based on HUD form 5380 "Notice of Occupancy Rights under the Violence Against Women Act" and the HUD form 5382 "Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking and Alternate Documentation." To avoid providing applicants and residents with duplicate information, TDHCA administered Developments layered with other federal funds are permitted to amend the TDHCA VAWA forms to incorporate requirements of other funders. However, none of the information included in the TDHCA created form may be omitted;


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