Category and special group units have become a very familiar set-aside for affordable housing communities. These units fulfill a needed rental opportunity for farm-workers, fish workers, elderly, and homeless; just to name a few. Maintaining compliance with these requirements can be challenging.
The Owner chooses the special category or special group needs at the time of application. The regulatory agreement (Extended Use Agreement (EUA) or Land Use Restriction Agreement (LURA)) will list the group(s) that will be targeted, the required special group set-aside, and the number of units necessary to maintain the obligation. Management should familiarize themselves with the requirements for their property. This is necessary because the categorical selection is specific to the property. Management should ensure the categorical requirement is met on a monthly basis.
If your property has a Special Needs (SN) requirement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) may be required from an approved agency for special needs referrals. For properties that require an MOU, it is necessary to keep a log showing that vacant units have been held vacant for at least 14 days prior to renting to a non-special needs household. This will show that the property is complying with the requirement and the MOU.
It is imperative to meet the requirement every month. Even one month of falling below the required categorical set-aside will result in a noncompliance, and the property will remain in noncompliance until the requirement has been satisfied. The compliance monitor checks this requirement each month on the program report and during the annual management review. Categorical and special group units provide communities with fair and decent housing where there is a need for such. These programs are necessary and essential to the overall health of the cities and towns where they are located.
Again, please check your regulatory agreement for these special requirements!