HUD Proposes New Assessments for Public Housing Authorities

HUD has proposed a new set of rules that would require public housing authorities to conduct physical needs assessments every five years, with 20-year projections.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed a rule that would require public housing authorities (PHAs) to conduct physical needs assessments (PNAs) every five years, with annual updates. The rule would apply to all PHAs, regardless of size.

PNAs assess the amount of work that would need to be done to bring a property up to standards of modernization and energy efficiency. This new rule would require PHAs to project repair needs over a 20-year period, in order to maintain long-term viability. Under the current rule, projections are made five years out.

New PNAs would need to be completed in conjunction with energy audits, and results would be submitted electronically through a new system that will analyze and monitor data. It would also set minimum requirements for those conducting PNAs.

The new assessments would cost more for PHAs to conduct. HUD estimates that they would average approximately $65.22 per unit compared with $50 per unit for current PNAs.

As HUD says in the proposal, “The need for PHAs to engage in strategic planning has increased considerably over the past decade as PHAs have transitioned to an asset-based accounting and management model more closely aligned to industry standard real estate management procedures. A focus on the individual project, rather than on the macro level of the entirety of a PHA’s public housing portfolio, further highlights the need for strategic planning over a longer-term period.”

HUD will be accepting comments on the proposal through Sept. 19, on topics such as whether HUD should require a third party to conduct PNAs, what the qualifications for those conducting assessments should be, and the pros and cons of pairing energy audits with PNAs.