Utility Allowances are an important part of the compliance process, and should come from a third party source. For this, there are several options available, including the local Public Housing Authority (PHA), a Provider Letter obtained from an approved source, and the Energy Consumption Model, as approved by your state agency. When determining your specific property rents, indicate the amounts specific to that property by circling or placing a check mark next to the appropriate amounts on the chart. If your property is using the PHA Utility Allowance, and “other” costs are listed, such as “other-natural gas” or “other-electric”, be sure to include these costs in the total for each unit. Properties that use an Energy Consumption Model or Provider Letter should also remember that these amounts are not appropriate for Section 8 assisted households.
Utility Allowances should only be updated on the Program Report for households at move in or at time of recertification, and global changes should not be made to the Program Report. However, it is important to check with your state agency to determine their recommendations. In order to ensure compliance, the most recent Utility Allowance as well as the formerly used Utility Allowance should be made available at the management review. These charts should always agree with amounts used on the Program Report and Income Certification.
The Utility Allowance should be reviewed at least once per calendar year. However, it is recommended that it be checked more frequently to ensure the correct amounts are being used on the property. In First Housing’s opinion, you should confirm the Utility Allowances on a quarterly basis for each property. Furthermore, Utility Allowances must be implemented within 90 days of the effective date.
Remember, as a best practice, management should always keep the monitors abreast of any new updates to the Utility Allowances for a property. If you keep these things in mind, this key piece of the compliance process can be a simple process that is easy to abide by.