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Adapting to a new normal...that continues to change

We keep hearing about this "new normal," but if this means constant change then it hardly feels normal.  At least not yet.  First, I hope that the impact of COVID-19 to you, your teams, and your families is as minimal as it can be.  Second, we must adapt, and continue to do so.

Thankfully, Zeffert is fully operational across all service lines to assist your teams with compliance matters.  Truth be told, while we prepared ourselves in advance of stay-at-home orders by deploying resources and contingency plans, we are also very fortunate to have the good health and incredible culture of all of our Associates.  Our job is to make your team's job easier so that you manage profitable properties that provide necessary housing in your communities.

We must make it a seamless process for you, one that provides you with resources that are easy and flexible.  

  • The training calendar includes new eLearning that is self-paced and can be completed anywhere as well as live-virtual training that is interactive and receiving positive reviews by agencies and site staff alike.
  • There are real examples of Utility Allowance questions fielded over the last few weeks, which likely apply to your properties as well.
  • And lastly, the Quizzle includes actual scenarios from the Compliance Department.  Ask your site staff to test their knowledge.

On April 16 HUD issued a comprehensive Q&A for multifamily stakeholders and I recommend you ask your teams to read it.  HUD also recently released the income limits for FY20, which sets forth those limits for many programs, not only within HUD's jurisdiction, but also that of Treasury, USDA, FHFA, and HOME/community development partnerships.  This was expected, but HUD has also issued a number of other proclamations that would not have been done if we were not in the middle of a pandemic:  $1.5M funding for COVID-19 specific Fair Housing Assistance Programs, multifamily mortgage relief, and updates to the Paycheck Protection Program.  This is only a small sample of the changes, there have been waivers for HOME requirements, tax filing extensions, and allowed amendments for 2018/19 partnership tax returns.

Change is happening, but at the end of the day compliance is black and white.  If there is anything else that we can do to assist you, please contact me.


Jeffrey Promnitz
Chief Executive Officer

Utility Allowances - Real Questions during COVID-19

Jamie Hart, Utility Allowance Department Manager

These are two common questions we have received lately in our department.  Most importantly, we can help you navigate these unique times and are available to speak with you during regular business hours.  Don't hesitate to let me know how I can help, it's what we are here for!

Question:  I am behind in submitting the information you need to complete the utility allowance calculation.  It is not getting easier.  I don't think we can just forget about doing them this year, right?

Response:  We realize that some of your sites (maybe many of them!) are not able to collect signed releases from every tenant for a variety of reasons, including social distancing and quarantine. Nevertheless, you still need to complete your utility allowance calculations.  Our department maintains a strict and secure record retention policy of data consumption and data rates.  In many cases it is permissible to utilize past data to supplement what you are able to collect.  If you're still unsure, contact me and I will talk you through it, we will keep it very easy for you.

Question:  I have a HUD multifamily property and I'm due for a baseline utility allowance calculation.  Right now, I do not have the staffing resources in the office to get this done because several of my site staff cannot work for various personal reasons.  What can I do?

Response:  HUD multifamily properties require a baseline utility allowance every 3 years.  In those in-between years you have the option to utilize a "factor" to complete the reports.  You are correct that you are due for a baseline calculation, but the good news is that as of April 14, HUD has ruled that if you're due for a baseline (and cannot complete it because of an inability to obtain releases or data) then you can again use the "factor" for this third year.  The baseline calculation must then be completed next year.


Question One:  (True/False)  Cory Jones, a resident at Mountain View Apartments, lives with her dependent daughter Sarah.  Cory is a member of the armed forces and is deployed on active duty.  Her parents temporarily move in to help take care of Sarah.  When determining the anticipated annual income, the manager is not required to include the income of Cory’s parents that are currently residing in the unit while she is deployed.

Question Two:  As outlined in Notice: H 2017-05 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization Act of 2013, HUD’s Final Rule - When should owner’s and agents provide the Notice of Occupancy Rights (form HUD-5380) and Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking, and Alternate Documentation (form HUD-5382):

A.  To applicants with denial of assistance
At move-in
With notice of eviction or termination of assistance
All of the above

Question Three:  (True/False)  Applicants are prioritized on the waitlist based on their income level, then date of application. Priority is NOT based on household income within an RD income level. Households of differing income levels are prioritized in the following order:

  • The low income limit – 50 % of AMI
  • The very-low income limit – 80 % of AMI
  • The moderate income limit – add $5,500 to the low-income limit

Training Calendar

Mandi Lewis, Training Department Manager

To keep with making our training as accessible and affordable as possible during the pandemic, all live classes will be delivered as a Virtually and eLearning is bundled into discounted packages with new self-paced formats now available.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime if you need assistance or would like to request a topic or large group discount.  A complete listing of training can be found here.

"This course was AWESOME!  I am fairly new to the industry so it was a great experience for me.  Thank you!"

~ Student from a recent Rural Development live-virtual course




May 20 - 21

Mastering LIHTC Compliance
(optional HCCP exam)

Virtual Class

May 26

Modern Self-employment


May 26

HUD’s New Guidelines on Assistance Animals


May 27

Essentials of Fair Housing

Virtual Class

May 28

Average Income Minimum Set-aside


June 9 - 10

Mastering LIHTC Compliance
(optional HCCP exam)

Virtual Class

June 16 - 17

Mastering the RD Program
(optional HCM-R online exam)

Virtual Class


Essentials of LIHTC – Qualifying Households
(optional HCM-TC online exam)



Essentials of HOME Funds
(optional HCM-HF online exam)



Essentials of Fair Housing



The Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan


Registration opening soon for the following webinars

June 18

Maintaining Minimum Set-Aside

June 23

The Next Available Unit and Vacant Unit Rules

June 24

Calculating Assets for the LIHTC Program

June 25

LIHTC Student Rule

June 25

Court Ordered Child Support & Alimony

June 26

The LIHTC Application Process

June 30

Anticipating Annual Income

About Us

Zeffert & Associates, Inc. is a nationwide leader of affordable housing compliance. Since 1994, property managers, owners, syndicators, housing authorities, and state agencies have partnered with Zeffert for accuracy and speed on utility allowances, tenant file reviews, building accessibility, and training. Headquartered in St. Louis, Zeffert’s service excellence reaches every state and territory within the jurisdiction of the IRS, HUD, and USDA.

 12101 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 180, St. Louis, MO 63141
(866) 760-6000  |  Website  |  Email

OUR VISION is to see a nation where serving those in need of affordable housing is easier than yesterday, less restrictive today, more certain tomorrow, and possible every single day.

OUR MISSION is to support the property managers, owners, syndicators, and agencies with quality education and consulting services and to do it better than anyone else through our speed in acquiring and delivering knowledge.

All Funding Restrictions Nationwide

 Compliance Inspections Training Utility Allowance

Electronic and onsite file reviews.  In two days or less

Physical and photo design reviews, UPCS, 504s, CNAs

Public, Private, and eLearning courses with designations

Actual use and consumption models

Zeffert & Associates
12101 Woodcrest Executive Drive
Suite 180
St. Louis, MO 63141
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