LeadingAge Recommends HUD Regulatory Reforms

Regulation | June 16, 2017 | by Colleen Bloom

On June 14, LeadingAge submitted 14 specific recommendations for reforms that HUD could take to help alleviate regulatory burdens, streamline processes and reduce inconsistencies.

Executive Orders Focus on Regulatory Reform

Early on in his new administration, President Trump issued the following Executive Orders dealing with regulatory reform: 

Presidential Executive Order on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs issued January 30 articulates a goal of reducing regulatory burden by “offsetting,” indicating that “for every one new regulation issues, at least two prior regulations [should] be identified for elimination” and that “the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year [fiscal 2017] shall be no greater than zero…” For purposes of this executive order, the term “regulation” or “rule” has broad implications. In this case, the definition is stated as “an[y] agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or to describe the procedure or practices requirements of an agency.”

Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda issued February 24 directs each federal agency to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force, to evaluate existing regulations, and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modifications, consistent with applicable law. The task forces are instructed at least in part to attempt to identify regulations that “are outdated, unnecessary or ineffective; imposed costs that exceed benefits; [or] create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies” and to “seek input and other assistance…from entities significantly affected by Federal regulations including State, local and tribal governments, small business, consumers, non-governmental organizations, and trade associations.”

Members Provide Suggestions and Feedback

Given this background, and with an understanding and expectation that desired regulations such as implementing the Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), unanimously passed by Congress last summer, may require some offsets, LeadingAge began in January to collect ideas.   Member feedback was solicited through the Housing Management listserv, and discussed with the Housing Advisory Group* and members of the Public Policy Congress to formulate a preliminary submission of ideas sent to Secretary Carson in May.  Around that time, HUD also published a formal request for feedback on regulatory burdens.

LeadingAge Submits Formal Recommendations 

On June 14, LeadingAge submitted specific recommendations for reforms that HUD could take to help alleviate regulatory burdens, streamline processes and reduce inconsistencies. Our recommendations were that HUD:

  • Withdraw the proposed mandate to provide utility cost benchmarking data for 100% of units.
  • Repeal current policies requiring annual remission of residual receipts.
  • Streamline and reduce notification requirements under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
  • Modify the frequency of Management and Occupancy Reviews (MORs) to reduce burden on owners and cost to HUD by performing site-based inspections on a risk-management priority and 5-3-1 basis.
  • Strengthen the consistency of policy interpretation by Contract Administrators and regional HUD staff, and engage willing stakeholders in discussions to identify and resolve recurrent issues.
  • Create, at the Assistant Secretary level, an Office of Rental Housing to better coordinate disparate rental assistance program policies and structures.
  • Update and replace all programmatic leases - and ensure they will be able to modified to conform with state landlord tenant laws.
  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system, and eliminate ineffective reports currently required.
  • Modify time-consuming and ineffective policies for HUD to approve project rent adjustments and Service Coordinator budgets, which can result in delays of four to 12 months before completion.
  • Repeal costly limited English proficiency (LEP) mandates imposed on individual providers and replace with centralized translation of documents and provision of contracted interpretation services through HUD.
  • Modify regulations to make capital improvements in properties easier.
  • Allow nonprofit owners the same distribution rights currently available to for-profits.
  • Withdraw the new flood plain rule to alleviate the chilling impacts on financing or refinancing of mortgage insured properties.
  • Repeal the succession of interpretative changes regarding Option 4 properties in the Section 8 renewal guidance.

We also used this as an opportunity to urge HUD to engage willing stakeholders in regular policy discussion forums and to provide opportunities to review new policies and practices prior to implementation.

* NOTE: The Housing Advisory Group is open to all LeadingAge members. Anyone wishing to participate in future advisory group discussions should contact Niles Godes at ngodes@leadingage.org