Westchester County has provided funding for over 20 years to many types of housing developments. The county must ensure that all of these properties:
- Meet initial and ongoing affordability requirements
- Provide appropriate housing for those that are eligible
- Market the units and select the residents pursuant to an Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan
- Remain in compliance with requirements that permitted the creation of the units
It is important for Westchester to conduct initial and long-term monitoring of county-funded fair and affordable housing developments. Monitoring ensures that properties are being sold or leased to income qualified households. Ongoing monitoring for homeownership properties include verification that the home is the household’s primary residence and that the home may not be resold, transferred or refinanced in excess of the affordable sales price and the resale of the home must comply with any other requirements included in the deed restrictions filed with the deed to the home.
Rental properties must be maintained and rented to the intended income populations as their primary residence on an ongoing basis. There are specific monitoring requirements for developments that receive federal funding such as the HOME program. Westchester has adopted similar requirements for its housing funding programs under the Housing Implementation Fund and New Homes Land Acquisition Fund.
There are four primary areas that long-term monitoring of rental property focuses on:
- Unit condition: The property must remain in decent, safe and sanitary condition to ensure health and safety of the tenants.
- Equal treatment of applicants: County-funded affordable housing must be made available to all applicants irrespective of race, color, sex, age, religion, ethnic background, disability or familial status.
- Income-targeting and rent-setting: Monitoring ensures that rental units remain occupied by low-income households and that the rents charged to these tenants are affordable.
- Future investment decisions: Monitoring of existing properties helps the county assess the performance of property owners and is a factor in future funding decisions.
- Ensure that property management and other personnel understand and implement program rules related to income, occupancy, rents, utility allowances, leases, affirmative marketing and fair housing
- Submit annual reports and other documentation to show compliance with HOME and other county housing program rules and requirements
- Ensure that the property is maintained in accordance with Housing Quality Standards
- Provide information and reports to the county as requested or required
- Provide notice to and making arrangements with tenants whose units will be inspected
- Provide files for review, as requested by the county
- Take any corrective actions that may be identified by the county in response to findings through the monitoring activity
- Tenant file for each tenant
- Annual certification of household income for each tenant
- Setting rents in affordable rental projects
- Tenant selection policies and criteria
- Occupancy standards for rental units
- A property’s standard lease
- Housing quality standards
- Lead-based paint removal requirements