REAC admits in Proposed Rule REAC Inspections are overly burdensome
A Proposed Rule published in the Federal Register January 13, 2021 which outlines some of the new physical inspection protocol for the NSPIRE program (National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate). Basically, NSPIRE will be replacing the UPCS (Uniform Physical Condition Standards) inspections with more rigorous inspections standards. In other words, REAC will, by and large, gig you on more items and will emphasize unit defects more.
For example, a railing will be required on both sides of porch steps. Any amount of mold will be a defect. Also, REAC under NSPIRE now wants to stand guard at the bedroom door; no more than two per bedroom, and no mixing sexes in the same bedroom. REAC wants a safe and potable water source. Apparently, HUD residents are drinking bad water somewhere in the country. You better have that town water is safe certificate handy for the thirsty REAC inspector.
What’s next? Air quality tests, soil Ph level tests, electromagnetic wave exposure, banning kitchen ranges in units with children, no drinking alcohol in units, no noise over 20 decibels. Where does it end? REAC wants to be involved in more and more of your decisions, bec it just does not trust you to look out for of your residents.
Also, incredibly, REAC has finally admitted that its regulations are overburdensome. But not for everyone, mind you, just housing agencies in rural areas. No mention of rural area multifamily housing. The Rule admits that the regulatory burden often falls more heavily on small rural housing authorities, thus reducing their ability to serve low-income families.
Simply put, HUD is acknowledging that it’s regulations are burdensome. If the regs are burdensome to some they are burdensome to all. If there are regs that are not important then rescind them. Didn’t the last President cut regulations. The result was positive. He did not just cut them on small rural companies. He cut them for everyone. That is fair and equitable. This Rule is ripe for comments and advocating for inclusion for all HUD assisted properties.
REAC also plans to extend its inspection reach to housing programs under the Office of Community Planning and Development, such as HOME, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, Emergency Solutions Grants, and Continuum of Care. And, HUD assistance with down payments will kick in a REAC inspection. Best you pay the down payment back ASAP, or better yet, stay away from that assistance if at all possible, because, you'll in all likelihood end up paying more for “repairs” than the amount of the downpayment assistance.
Comments on the proposed rule are due March 15, 2021. The proposed rule does not include the standards, procedure, and scoring scheme. Per HUD staff via PHADA that will be included in a notice that will be published in “the coming weeks”.