HUD recently released guidance on relocation requirements for Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD”) conversions of public housing and moderate rehabilitation projects.
The Uniform Relocation Act (“URA”) is the federal law governing minimum standards for persons that are displaced as a result of acquisition, rehabilitation, or demolition involving federal funds. The URA applies to tenants displaced as the result of RAD conversions of public housing or moderate rehabilitation properties. Relocation protections available to tenants of RAD conversions are more extensive than those available under the URA.
The kind of assistance available to a tenant depends upon the length of time the person will be displaced. For any tenant who will be permanently displaced, full relocation benefits under the URA must be provided. For tenants that will be relocated for more than a year, tenants may receive either permanent relocation assistance under the URA, or temporary assistance while the resident retains his or her right to return under RAD. Tenants that will be relocated for less than a year need only be provided temporary relocation assistance, while maintaining his or her right to return under RAD. However, if a temporary relocation extends beyond one year, that tenant will be eligible for full relocation benefits under the URA.
The HUD guidance also clarifies the timing and type of notices that must be issued to tenants during the RAD conversion process. The notice requirements are slightly different than those of the URA. HUD guidance introduces a “RAD Notice of Relocation”. HUD explains that tenants should not be relocated prior to final RAD closing. If the Owner would like to relocate residents prior to closing, consultation with residents and prior approval of HUD is required. In addition, HUD recommends careful planning for acquisitions involving relocation, as certain notices must be issued at least 90 days prior to relocation.
In addition, owners should be careful to comply with Fair Housing and Civil Rights requirements when planning for and conducting relocation of tenants. HUD highlights the need to provide effective communication for persons with disabilities, accessible meeting facilities for persons with disabilities, meaningful access for persons with limited English proficiency, appropriate translation and counseling for persons unable to read or understand the notices, and comparable housing for persons with disabilities.