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RULE §10.614Utility Allowances

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide the guidelines for calculating a Utility Allowance under the Department's multifamily programs. The Department will cite noncompliance and/or not approve a Utility Allowance if it is not calculated in accordance with this section. Owners are required to comply with the provisions of this section as well as any existing federal or state program guidance.

(b) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. Other capitalized terms used in this section herein have the meanings assigned in Chapters 1, 2, 10, 11, and 12 of this title.

  (1) Building Type. The HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) characterizes building and unit configurations for HUD programs. The Department will defer to the guidance provided by HUD found at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_11608.pdf (or successor Uniform Resource Locator (URL)) when making determinations regarding the appropriate building type(s) at a Development.

  (2) Power to Choose. The Public Utility Commission of Texas database of retail electric providers in the areas of the state where the sale of electricity is open to retail competition: http://www.powertochoose.org/ (or successor URL). In areas of the state where electric service is deregulated, the Department will verify the availability of residential service directly with the Utility Provider. If the Utility Provider is not listed as a provider of residential service in the Development's ZIP code for an area that is deregulated, the request will not be approved.

  (3) Component Charges. The actual cost associated with the billing of a residential utility. Each Utility Provider may publish specific utility service information in varying formats depending on the service area. Such costs include, but are not limited to:

    (A) Rate(s). Any cost incurred for the actual unit of measure for the utility (e.g., base cost per kilowatt hour for electricity, TDU delivery charges, rate per gallon of water, etc.);

    (B) Fees. The cost associated with a residential utility that is incurred regardless of the amount of the utility the household consumes (e.g., Customer Charge);

    (C) Taxes. Taxes for electricity and gas are regulated by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and can be found http://comptroller.texas.gov/ (or successor URL). Local Utility Providers have control of the tax structure related to water, sewer and trash. To identify if taxes are imposed for these utilities, obtain documentation directly from the Utility Provider.

  (4) Multifamily Direct Loan (MFDL). Funds provided through the HOME, NSP, NHTF, TCAP RF, HOME-ARP, or other program available through the Department, local political subdivision, or administrating agency for multifamily development that require a Utility Allowance. MFDLs may also include deferred forgivable loans or other similar direct funding, regardless if it is required to be repaid. Housing Tax Credits, Tax Exempt Bonds, and Project Based Vouchers are not MFDLs.

  (5) Renewable Source. Energy produced from energy property described in IRC §48 or IRC §45(d)(1) through (4), (6), (9), or (11). The manner in which a resident is billed is limited to the rate at which the local Utility Provider would have charged the residents for the utility if that entity had provided it to them, and as may be further limited by the Texas Utilities Code or by regulation.

  (6) Submetered Utility. A utility purchased from or through a local Utility Provider by the building Owner where the resident is billed directly by Owner of the building or to a third party billing company and the utility is:

    (A) Based on the residents' actual consumption of that utility and not an allocation method or Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS); and

    (B) The rate at which the utility is billed does not exceed the rate incurred by the building Owner for that utility.

  (7) Utility Allowance. An estimate of the expected monthly cost of any utility for which a resident is financially responsible, other than telephone, cable television, or internet. A utility allowance is considered implemented once the Unit Status Report is updated and rents are restricted.

    (A) For HTC, TCAP, Exchange buildings, Bonds, and THTF include:

      (i) Utilities paid by the resident directly to the Utility Provider;

      (ii) Submetered Utilities; and

      (iii) Renewable Source Utilities.

    (B) For a Development with an MFDL, unless otherwise prescribed in the program's Regulatory Agreement, include all utilities regardless of how they are paid.

  (8) Utility Provider. The company that provides residential utility service (e.g., electric, gas, water, wastewater, and/or trash) to the buildings.

(c) Methods. The following options are available to establish a Utility Allowance for all programs except most Developments funded with MFDL funds, which are addressed in subsection (d) of this section. HOME-ARP may use methods in subsection (c) or subsection (d), but cannot combine two methods in one building.

  (1) Rural Housing Services (RHS) buildings or buildings with RHS assisted residents. The applicable Utility Allowance for the Development will be determined under the method prescribed by the RHS (or successor agency). No other utility method described in this section can be used by RHS buildings or buildings with RHS assisted residents.

  (2) HUD-Regulated buildings layered with any Department program. If neither the building nor any resident in the building receives RHS rental assistance payments, and the rents and the Utility Allowances of the building are regulated by HUD (HUD-regulated building), the applicable Utility Allowance for all rent restricted Units in the building is the applicable HUD Utility Allowance. No other utility method described in this section can be used by HUD-regulated buildings. Unless further guidance is received from the U.S. Department of Treasury or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department considers Developments awarded an MFDL (e.g., HOME) to be HUD-Regulated buildings.

  (3) Other Buildings. For all other rent-restricted Units, Development Owners must use one of the methods described in subparagraphs (A) - (E) of this paragraph:

    (A) Public Housing Authority (PHA). The Utility Allowance established by the applicable PHA for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Department will utilize the Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 392 to determine which PHA is the most applicable to the Development.

      (i) If the PHA publishes different schedules based on Building Type, the Owner is responsible for implementing the correct schedule based on the Development's Building Type(s). Example 614(1): The applicable PHA publishes a separate Utility Allowance schedule for Apartments (5+ units), one for Duplex/Townhomes and another for Single Family Homes. The Development consists of 20 buildings, 10 of which are Apartments (5+ units) and the other 10 buildings are Duplexes. The Owner must use the correct schedule for each Building Type.

      (ii) In the event the PHA publishes a Utility Allowance schedule specifically for energy efficient units, and the Owner desires to use such a schedule, the Owner must demonstrate that the building(s) meet the housing authority's specifications for energy efficiency once every five years.

      (iii) If the applicable PHA allowance lists flat fees for any utility, those flat fees must be included in the calculation of the Utility Allowance if the resident is responsible for that utility.

      (iv) If the individual components of a Utility Allowance are not in whole number format, the correct way to calculate the total allowance is to add each amount and then round the total up to the next whole dollar. Example (2): Electric cooking is $8.63, Electric Heating is $5.27, Other Electric is $24.39, Water and Sewer is $15. The Utility Allowance in this example is $54.00. If the PHA schedule reflects a rounded amount, then the PHA method of rounding should be used.

      (v) If an Owner chooses to implement a methodology as described in subparagraph (B), (C), (D), or (E) of this paragraph, for Units occupied by Section 8 voucher holders, the Utility Allowance remains the applicable PHA Utility Allowance established by the PHA from which the household's voucher is received.

      (vi) If the Development is located in an area that does not have a municipal, county, or regional housing authority that publishes a Utility Allowance schedule for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Owners must select an alternative methodology, unless the building(s) is located in the published Housing Choice Voucher service area of:

        (I) A Council of Government created under Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 303, that operates a Housing Choice Voucher Program;

        (II) The Department's Housing Choice Voucher Program; or


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