CoC funds may not be used to cover late rent payment fees. The Interim Rule at § 578.51 indicates that CoC rental assistance funding may be used to cover rent, security deposit, property damage, vacancy, and staff costs of administering rental assistance (e.g., contracting for the units or inspecting the units) -- late rent payment fees are absent among the enumerated eligible costs.
The CoC regulations do not comment on how prorated rent should be calculated and therefore the governing law for prorating rent for tenants in CoC programs in Santa Clara County should come from the California landlord-tenant law provisions in the California Civil Code and local governing municipal law.
The convention on proration of rent in California is to calculate the rate based on a 30-day month, regardless of the actual days in a given month. It is done this way because the California Civil Code states that tenancies default to month-to-month arrangements, and 30 days is how the code defines the month notice required to terminate these tenancies (See CA Civil Code Sections 1945 and 1946).
Under the CoC interim rule, utility deposits are an eligible cost under the Supportive Services budget line item. This form of assistance consists of paying for utility deposits, which must be a one-time fee, paid directly to a utility company. 24 CFR § 578.53(e)(16). HUD rules do not limit this to be for one particular type of utility, so gas, electric, or water would qualify.
While § 578.53(e)(16) of the interim rule relates specifically to deposits, § 578.53(e)(8) is broader and allows programs to cover the costs of "securing utilities" in order to assist eligible participants to locate, obtain, and retain suitable housing, which would include expenses associated with shut-off notices or reconnection fees.
HUD considers the unit to have been vacated after the program participant has been out of the unit for 90 consecutive days.
For rental assistance programs, rental assistance can only be paid for up to 30 days from the end of the month in which the unit was vacated.
For example, if the program participant is out of the unit from March 11, 2019 and is still not back in the unit by June 10, 2019, the last payment to the landlord will be for July 2019. No other payments beyond July 2019 can be provided with CoC funds.
For leasing programs, it will depend upon the lease term. If the lease term is for a year, rent must be paid for the entire year regardless of whether the unit is occupied. If the lease is written in such a way that the lease ends when the program participant vacates then no other rent should be paid.
CoC regulations do not have restrictions on how many security deposits can be paid on behalf of a client. However, every program should have policies and procedures to outline this information as it may be restricted by other factors such as the program budget.
CoC regulations will allow for overlapping rent to be paid in the event that a client is moving from one unit to another.
For example, in Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), a landlord can be paid for rent for up to 30 days after a client vacates a unit, if they vacated prior to the end of the lease. Therefore, if a tenant vacates a unit on June 14th, the landlord can keep the remaining funds for June 15-30th.
If this same client moves into a new unit on June 12th and needs a security deposit and prorated rent from June 12-30th. Both can be paid with CoC funds.
Community members could serve as third party verification if they are verifying specific months of chronic homelessness. However, community member observations may not be used to document Category 1 homelessness.
The limits of self-certification began on January 15, 2016 and they apply to those enrolled in the program (whether they are housed or not). All participants enrolled prior to January 15, 2016 are exempt from the limits on self-certification.
Per HUD'sDefining "Chronically Homeless" Final Rule, up to 25% of households in a given operating year may be self-certified. Per CoC FAQ 2872, to determine whether you are at this limit, you would calculate whether or not you are meeting the requirement that at least 75% of program participants have third-party documentation for at least 9 months of their homelessness history based on program participants that enrolled after January 15, 2016 and had been enrolled in the program for 180 days or more. This is because you have 180 days from enrollment to obtain compliant third-party documentation and the rule took effect on January 15, 2016.
The registration with the local police department does not constitute a compliant third-party verification. Verification from a member of law enforcement (as with other services providers such as health care professionals) must include the approximate date(s) when the officer encountered the individual and must also provide details regarding the encounter, either:
A description of the conditions where the individual was residing that documents that the individual was residing in a place not meant for human habitation
A description of the conversation the officer had with the individual that led the officer to believe to the best of their knowledge and based on their professional judgment that the individual was residing in a place not meant for human habitation
CoC programs must document that the household is chronically homeless when they are enrolled in the program and at which time can begin looking for housing. The program does not need to re-evaluate the homeless status of the household at the time in which the household moves into housing
The remaining household members do not meet the eligibility requirements for the program, however, they can retain rental assistance until the expiration of the lease in effect at the time of the qualifying household member's eviction or lease bifurcation.
For example: a household consists of members A, B, and C who reside together in PSH that is subsidized with CoC funding; Household Member A is the member with the qualifying eligibility for the PSH program (e.g., chronically homeless with a disability) and was the perpetrator of a domestic violence incident against B and C; and Household members B and C are now qualified for and seeking an emergency transfer. Household members B and C can remain in the program until the expiration of the lease in effect at the time that household member A was evicted or the lease was bifurcated. However, after the expiration of the lease, household members B and C must transition out of the program and no other CoC funds may be used to subsidize their rental assistance as they are not independently eligible for the program without the qualifying household member A.
The VA-funded transitional housing stay cannot count towards the 12 months of homelessness required to qualify as chronically homeless. The exception in HUD’s Final Rule only allows a veteran who was already chronically homeless at the time of enrollment to maintain chronic homeless status during the VA-funded transitional housing stay. It does not count towards the length of time homeless requirement to initially qualify as chronically homeless.
The Office of Supportive Housing, Continuum of Care team are responsible for the monitoring of the CoC programs. All programs are monitored on an annual basis as required under 24 CFR part 578.23 (c)(8).
These HQS require that "rooms used for sleeping" have the following:
Working electricity, including two outlets or one outlet and one permanently installed ceiling or wall fixture (such as a ceiling light)
Enough natural or artificial light to make sure tenants can carry out normal indoor activities
Ceilings, walls, and floors
No lead-based paint hazards
At least one window. Windows that are accessible from the outside, either because they are less than 6 feet from the ground or because there is a fire escape or other means of reaching them, must be lockable. Windows that are designed to open must work.
The Categorically Excluded and Not Subject To 24 CFR 58.5 (CENST) form is only required on the programmatic level and not by individual units rented with CoC funds. It must be completed once every five years by a tenant-based leasing or rental assistance project.
California-based projects are presumed by HUD to be in compliance with HUD’s Airport Hazard regulations without further evaluation; presumed to be in compliance with the Coastal Barrier Resources Act because the CoC area is in a state that does not include any Coastal Barrier Resources; and presumed to be in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program without further evaluation since flood insurance is recommended but not required for tenant-based leasing and rental assistance.
A unit must be determined to be rent reasonable before CoC funds can be used to provide assistance. Leasing or rental assistance funds must comply with rent reasonableness as referenced by 24 CFR 578.49 and 24 CFR 578.51.
If the unit is not rent reasonable, the program participant cannot move forward with the unit in the CoC funded program.
Rent reasonableness must be completed at move-in and at any time after that in which the amount changes, regardless of whether it goes up or down.
If a unit is deemed to not be rent reasonable due to a rent decrease/increase, the program will no longer be able to use CoC funds to provide rental assistance for the unit. The program participant can choose to remain in the unit independently without support from the program. Or the program participant will have to relocate to a new unit that meets the rent reasonableness requirements.