Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Section 8 Admin Plan Ch 17: General Administrative Procedures

Section 8 Admin Plan

Chapter 17:General Administrative Procedures

17.1 Fraud and Criminal Acts Against the BHA

17.1.1 Fraud Defined

Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of the truth or concealing of material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment. 

17.1.2  Fraud by a Family 

(a)        Family Fraud Against the BHA. Examples of fraud by a Family against the BHA include, but are not limited to: 

(1)        Misrepresentation of income, Assets, or deductions;
(2)        Misrepresentation of the Family’s residence or composition; and
(3)        Subletting or assigning the Apartment. 

(b)        Termination or Denial of Assistance. The BHA will propose termination of the Participant’s assistance in accordance with Chapter 9 or deny assistance, in accordance with Chapter 5, to an Applicant who commits fraud.  The BHA may use its discretion to enter into a repayment agreement with a family. 
(c)        Fraud Reporting. The BHA may report any incident of Fraud to the HUD Office of the Inspector General or any other applicable law enforcement agency. 

17.1.3  Owner Fraud and Program Abuse 

(a)        Examples of fraud and program abuse by an Owner include, but are not limited to: 

(1)        Providing false information on a Rent Roll or RTA;
(2)        Collecting extra or side rent payments from the Participant;
(3)        Collecting assistance for Apartments not occupied by eligible families; 
(4)        Filing false vacancy loss or damage claims; and
(5)        Bribing, or attempting to bribe, a BHA employee. 

(b)        Action for Owner Fraud or Program Abuse. In cases of suspected or alleged Owner fraud, the Leasing Officer will ask the Owner for an explanation of the suspected or alleged abuse. If the Owner is found to have intentionally abused the program, the BHA may cancel the HAP Contract (issuing the Family a new Voucher) and require the Owner to reimburse the BHA for extra or excessive HAP payments, overcompensated claims for vacancy loss, unpaid Tenant Rent, or damages. The BHA may require the Owner to reimburse the tenant for any overpayment, unauthorized side agreements, or utility costs.  The BHA will ask the Owner for proof that the matter has been resolved. 
The BHA may also seek redress in these matters through the Courts, with the HUD Inspector General's office, the Boston Police Department, or the Massachusetts District Attorney.  In addition, the BHA may refuse to enter into a new HAP Contract with such an Owner. 

17.2     Special BHA Analyses 

17.2.1  Analysis of Utility Costs 

The BHA will review Utility Allowances at least annually. The BHA will establish new Allowances if old Utility Allowances are inadequate. The BHA will always revise its Utility Allowance for any and all utility categories if there has been a change of ten percent (10%) or more in the utility rate since the last Utility Allowance revision. The BHA may revise the utility allowances for any change in rate supported by data analysis. The Administrator or his or her designee will approve all adjustments to the Utility Allowance schedules. The BHA will retain the documentation utilized in the annual review for seven (7) years.
When there is a change in the utility allowance schedule the BHA may implement the revised utility allowance immediately (upon 30 days written notice), but no later than the next reexamination

17.2.2  Analysis of Rental Opportunities 

To provide assistance in further expanding housing opportunities for Voucher holders, the BHA may periodically analyze rental prices both within and outside of the City, especially in areas with relatively low poverty and low concentrations of assisted housing, to determine whether the current Payment Standards allow families to find housing in a broad variety of areas. The BHA may also seek general adjustments or neighborhood exceptions from HUD as appropriate. 

17.2.3  Housing Assistance Payments Register Review 

On a monthly basis the Administrator or his or her designee shall review the Housing Assistance Payments register to ensure that it is current and reflects changes in payment due to Owners of Units assisted under the Section 8 program. 

17.2.4  Revising the Payment Standard; Affordability Adjustments 

The Payment Standard established by the BHA will never exceed the greater of 110% of Fair market rent or an exception Payment Standard. The Payment Standard shall not be less than 90% of the Fair market rent.
When a New Payment Standard is Applied. The BHA will apply the Payment Standard that is effective on the date the initial Lease and HAP Contract are effective. If the Payment Standard has increased, the BHA will change a Family’s Payment Standard at the  first  annual reexamination after the New Payment standard is effective.  If the Payment standard  has decreased the BHA will change the Family’s  Payment Standard at the second annual reexamination after the New Payment standard is effective, except when the Family has a change in voucher size, or a waiver is granted by HUD, then the BHA will give 30 days written notice of said change.

(a)     The Review Process. On a periodic basis, the BHA will review the Tenant Share of Rent for families subsidized under the Voucher program.  If the rent burdens are determined to be high, the BHA may decide to adjust the Payment Standard upward.  In no instance shall the Payment Standard be raised above 110% of the Fair Market Rents except for Reasonable Accommodation and exceptional Payment Standards.

(b)     In the case of a Reasonable Accommodation request by a Disabled Person for a Payment Standard of 120% of the Fair Market Rent, where the requisite verification of the disability or handicap and the higher Payment Standard would accommodate the disability or handicap, the BHA will seek HUD approval of a higher Payment Standard.

(d)     Local Factors. The BHA will take into consideration local factors when reviewing the applicable Payment Standards. Survey and research data will be utilized to review any overall increase in rental prices for the city and their effect on Voucher subsidy holders.

17.4     Periodic Review of Administration 

The Leased Housing Division will periodically review its procedures and revise them as necessary to accomplish its goals more efficiently and effectively and to assure compliance with the requirements of the Section 8 Management Assessment Program (“SEMAP”), and applicable federal, State, and local laws. The review and revision of this Administrative Plan is an example of such an undertaking. 

17.5     Administration of Vouchers in Accordance with HUD NOFA 

The BHA has the ability to administer new Section 8 set-asides in accordance with such criteria as listed in HUD Notices of Funding Availability (“NOFA”). The BHA will track/monitor any special set-asides in a manner consistent with the NOFAs and HUD requirements.