HUD Issues Final FMRs, Sets Release Date for Income Limit Data
On Sept. 30, HUD released its final fair market rents (FMRs), which are used in the determination of area median family income and their associated income limits, for fiscal year (FY) 2012. They took effect Oct. 1. HUD uses FMRs to determine payment standard amounts for the Housing Choice Voucher program, initial renewal rents for some expiring project-based Section 8 contracts, and initial rents for certain housing assistance payments contracts.
The comment period for the FY 2012 FMRs ended on Sept. 19. HUD reports that among the comments it received were several that questioned the FMRs for their respective market areas. HUD says it considered all public comments received and has posted its response to these comments on its Web site at www.huduser.org.
The department also said it will continue to review data provided in those comments, and it will publish any revisions to the FY 2012 FMRs that result from data submissions in a forthcoming Federal Register notice.
Official Release Date Set for Income Limit Data
In a recent notice, HUD set Dec. 1 as the formal publication date for income limits—beginning with the FY 2012 income limits.
In the Aug. 19 notice proposing this year's FMRs, HUD invited comments on a proposal to establish a certain date for publishing income limits. Because FMRs are used in the determination of income limits, annual income limit data cannot be published until FMR calculations are completed. Under current regulations, the publication date for final FMRs is Oct. 1.
However, there was no statutorily required publication date for income limits. In its discussion of the issue in the Aug. 19 notice, HUD mentioned that in recent years, the department has attempted to incorporate the most recent American Community Survey data into the income limit calculations. But because of the increase in the number and scope of American Community Survey data products, the publication date for income limits has become later each year.
HUD reports that it had received comments from the public stating that the resulting uncertainty surrounding the timing of income limits' publication was hindering the ability of low-income housing tax credit property owners to set annual rents. As such, in an attempt to be responsive to the concerns of the users of income limits, HUD proposed giving the publication of area median family income estimates and income limits a more certain date. HUD considered two possible time frames for the publication of median family incomes and income limits.
The first date considered was Oct. 1, at the same time that final FMRs are published. The second date was Dec. 1. In its notice issued at the end of September, HUD set Dec. 1 as the date that annual income limit data will be published going forward. This means that low-income housing tax credit site owners and managers will enjoy a much greater level of predictability regarding the timing of each year's release of the income limits and related rent changes.