Court Rules that HUD Must Implement Small Area Fair Market Rent Rule in 2018

Last month, a U.S. District Court ruled that HUD must implement its Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) rule starting January 1, 2018. The SAFMR rule was adopted in November 2016 with an effective date of January 1, 2018, but late last year HUD tried to delay its mandatory implementation for two years, citing plans to review public comments and do more analysis of costs and benefits. In November, civil rights groups responded by filing a lawsuit challenging HUD’s suspension of the rule, arguing that HUD’s action violates the Administrative Procedures Act, a law that governs how federal agencies propose and implement regulations. The goal of the SAMFR rule, which affects 24 metropolitan areas, is to allow more housing choice voucher holders to move into higher-opportunity neighborhoods. It pursues this goal by changing the calculation for housing voucher payments by using zip codes as the geographic boundary for the payment standards, rather than metropolitan boundaries.

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