,Hasty Changes To HUD's "Fair Market Rents" Would Disrupt Housing Assistance

Hasty Changes To HUD's "Fair Market Rents" Would Disrupt Housing Assistance


Publication Date: September 2004

Publisher: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Barbara Sard; Will Fischer

Research Area: Social conditions

Keywords: Economic projections; Housing assistance; Affordable rental; Section 8

Type: Report


On August 6, 2004, HUD published proposed rent standards — known as “Fair Market Rents” or FMRs — for use in the Section 8 housing voucher program and other low-income housing assistance programs in fiscal year 2005. For many local areas, the proposed 2005 FMRs are sharply different from the 2004 level for the same area.

In most years, HUD publishes proposed FMRs (which are based on market rents in local areas around the country) in May, allowing more than four months for the Department to receive and process public comments before the final FMRs go into effect at the start of the following fiscal year on October 1. This year, HUD published the proposed FMRs about three months behind the normal schedule and has failed to delay their implementation beyond October 1. As a result, only a very brief period is available for the submission of public comments, which often provide local rent data that HUD relies on to set FMRs more accurately, before the FMRs are put into effect. Moreover, under this hurried implementation schedule, the new Fair Market Rents will take effect before HUD has completed surveys of local rent data it has planned to ensure that FMRs accurately reflect local market conditions.