GAO Releases Report on Ways for the Rural Housing Service to Better Preserve Affordable Rental Units

CARH’S BROADCAST E-MAIL – Regulatory Alert

May 21, 2018

On May 17, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled, “RURAL HOUSING SERVICE: Better Data Controls, Planning, and Additional Options Could Help Preserve Affordable Rental Units.” (GAO-18-285)

GAO was asked by the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Chairman (at the time) and Ranking Member, Senators Robert Moran (R-KS) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), to examine the Rural Housing Service’s (RHS) response to properties with maturing mortgages. (Click here for a copy of the request letter.) As CARH members know, when mortgages for affordable units that have Rental Assistance (RA) mature, current law does not allow RHS to continue to provide RA on those properties. Also, RD’s interpretation of current law does not extend Rural Housing Vouchers to residents of maturing RHS assisted multi-family apartment complexes.

GAO’s report examines RHS’s efforts to estimate rural housing property mortgage maturity dates and what measures can be put in place to preserve the affordability of rural rental properties. The report recommends to Congress that it should consider granting RHS authority to continue providing rental assistance to residents in properties with maturing mortgages. The report also recommends that residents receive vouchers where owners do not continue in the RHS programs.

Additionally, GAO made five recommendations for RHS:

  1. The RHS Administrator should establish additional controls to check the accuracy of all loan information entered into RHS information technology systems, to help ensure complete, accurate, and reliable data for estimating rural rental housing property exit dates.
  2. The RHS Administrator should establish a process to help ensure regular and frequent updates for the preservation tool and its underlying data.
  3. The RHS Administrator should establish performance goals and measures for its rural rental housing preservation and rehabilitation efforts and report out these outcomes.
  4. The RHS Administrator should monitor the results of rural rental housing preservation efforts and assess the degree to which those efforts yielded intended outcomes.
  5. The RHS Administrator should identify, analyze, and respond to risks to achieving its preservation goals, including resource and staffing limitations.

GAO provided a draft of the report for review and comment to RHS and HUD. RHS agreed with all five of GAO’s recommendations. There was no response from HUD.

During a session on Tuesday, June 19th, during CARH’s Annual Meeting and Legislative Conference, an official from GAO will be on hand to discuss this and other GAO reports. You will not want to miss the session entitled “Breaking News from the Halls of Congress” where there will be an in-depth discussion of GAOs reports and findings.

If you have any questions, please contact the CARH National Office at or 703-837-9001.




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