Homes and Community Renewal, Housing Finance Agency

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Homes and Community Renewal
Housing Finance Agency
The 80/20 Housing Program (Follow-Up)


Issued: November 13, 2018
Link to full audit report 2018-F-18
Link to 30-day response

Purpose
To determine the extent of implementation of the recommendation in our initial audit report, The 80/20 Housing Program (2015-S-83).

Background
Homes and Community Renewal is an umbrella entity consisting of all the State's major housing and community renewal agencies and authorities, including the Housing Finance Agency (HFA). HFA's mission is to create and preserve high-quality, affordable, multifamily rental housing. Its 80/20 Housing Program (Program) provides low-interest financing to multifamily rental developers who commit to designate at least 20 percent of a development's units to low-income individuals and families. The federal government provides income tax credits, and municipalities provide real estate tax abatements, as incentives to developers. In New York City, participating Program developers receive tax abatements through Section 421-A of New York's Real Property Tax Law. As of September 27, 2018, 93 developments, mostly in Manhattan, were occupied and had allocated 20 percent of their apartments (approximately 6,600 units) to low-income tenants. The remaining 80 percent are rented at market rates, but are subject to rent stabilization.

Our initial audit report, issued May 31, 2017, examined whether housing developers participating in the Program complied with Program requirements regarding the number of designated affordable units and tenant eligibility. We also analyzed the costs and resources used to achieve program results at four participating developments. The audit report concluded that, based on the rents charged for our four sampled developments, the proper number of affordable units were made available to low-income tenants. Our review of the files for a sample of 43 low-income tenants found that, in most cases, the developments used "reasonable judgment" in determining eligibility. However, for 4 of the 43 tenants, we question whether the developers exercised reasonable judgment in evaluating tenant file information. We also found that for 18 (42 percent) of the 43 tenants reviewed, developments did not verify applicant incomes with the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, we found that the financial benefits received by the owners of the four sampled developments could not be fully calculated. Benefits that could be quantified (local tax abatements per Section 421-A and federal tax credits) amounted to almost $427.3 million for the four sampled developments. This did not include the benefits of HFA low-interest loans.

Key Finding
HFA has made some progress in addressing the issues identified in our prior report. Of the three recommendations, one was implemented and two were not implemented.

Key Recommendation
Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up report to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this report.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest
Homes and Community Renewal - Division of Housing and Community Renewal: Enforcement of Mitchell-Lama Surcharge Provisions (2017-S-12)
Homes and Community Renewal - Housing Finance Agency: Administration of Tenant Complaints (Follow-Up) (2018-F-3)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Kenrick Sifontes
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236