For flood resources, visit vermont.gov/flood. More information is also available from VHFA.
VHFA has suspended its physical inspections of properties and apartments until further notice. Property managers should contact VHFA with questions about compliance and asset management practices. Residents should continue to contact the organization responsible for property management with any questions or concerns.
To minimize health risks for building occupants, property managers should monitor guidance about COVID‐19 and provide up-to-date information to residents and staff.
Many management companies are limiting maintenance and other in-person interactions with tenants to only emergency or life-threatening issues. Although it is not possible to establish a comprehensive definition of what constitutes an emergency maintenance request; here is a list of possible scenarios:
1. Heating problems
3. Flooding or unstoppable leaks
4. Plumbing stoppage in a residence with one bathroom
5. Fire (the Fire Department should be called first)
Leases or management policies may provide further guidance as to what constitutes an emergency. Please exercise good judgment and apply reasonable standards when evaluating work orders. It may be appropriate for non-emergency work orders to be postponed. Managers are expected to log these requests and respond appropriately once it is safe to do so. Managers should screen residents prior to entering their homes.
The screening procedure is as follows:
If residents or staff answer yes to any of the following questions prior to an in‐person meeting or in‐unit non‐emergency maintenance request, reschedule the appointment (or attempt to conduct in an alternative way). If the request is an emergency, take additional safety measures:
Please be aware that maintenance requests may be governed by the terms of your lease, Vermont Code, local codes, or other regulation. The above is general guidance and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult your legal counsel if you have any questions concerning your legal obligations.
As of April 8, 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated Vermont as a major disaster area due to the impact of COVID-19. Under this declaration, some displaced individuals and households are eligible for emergency housing in tax credit properties, allowing housing tax credit owners temporary relief from income requirements. To request permission to house displaced households, review the memo below with further instructions, then complete and submit the forms below:
As the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in your communities, we know you are also feeling the impact in the management of your multi-family housing portfolio. VHFA understands that as we move further away from April 1st your organization is likely getting a better sense of your potential concerns around revenues and expenses for each of your properties. VHFA will consider a number of options based upon demonstration of documented financial hardship for individual properties. To document your financial hardship, review the memo below with further instructions, then complete and submit the spreadsheet below:
In an effort to respond to questions regarding delayed Tenant Income Certifications and third party verifications due to COVID-19, VHFA suggests that you add documentation to each tenant file that states “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenant Income Certifications and verifications are delayed “. Be sure include a date and an electronic signature to this documentation.
Any properties with capital needs assessments due to VHFA in 2020 can postpone these until 2021.
Updates from other state agencies
HUD and USDA RD have provided COVID-related guidance to multifamily managers and property owners. Frequently asked questions pertaining to both agencies are listed below:
Q: Are household payments under the CARES Act reportable as tenant income?
A: Household stimulus payments and the temporary $600 per week federal enhancement to unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act are not to be included in calculations of income. However, HUD notes that regular payments of unemployment insurance (issued by the state) are treated as income, as is customary under program rules.
For further details, review the FAQ links and agency memos linked below:
Main COVID-19 affordable housing updates page