New HUD Guidelines for 2018

If you rent properties, you need to know about laws and issues regarding legal aspects of leasing. For instance, new guidelines released by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development may affect the way you approach the tenant screening process.

The end of April, HUD released a bill aiming to raise rent for families who receive housing aid to reduce long wait times for federal assistance and to increase self-sufficiency. This rent reform bill will set new boundaries and limits on assistance.

The Making Affordable Housing Work Act (MAHWA) of 2018 intends to amend the Housing Act of 1937 to introduce rent reforms and standards. HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “The current system isn’t working very well. Doing nothing is not an option.”

The MAHWA bill is similar to draft reforms first reported in February 2018. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April which mandates work requirements for benefits in preparation for welfare reforms affecting housing, food, and healthcare.

MAHWA establishes new formulas for calculating rent; that is, families must pay 35 percent of their gross monthly income or 35 percent of the total an individual would earn working 15 hours minimum per week for four weeks—whichever amount is higher. The bill also creates a new minimum rent for those presently exempt from paying the 30 percent, which includes the elderly and disabled.

In summary, the new legislation enables public housing authorities and landlords who accept vouchers to put in place work requirements for people who receive aid. While the bill does not indicate minimum or maximum hours of work to be set, or the nature of the work involved, it does give Carson the power to set those terms. And Carson’s theme is to promote self-sufficiency and better financial stability.


Data Screening is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that has offered business-to-business employment and tenant screenings to human resource professionals and business owners, including staffing companies, for two decades. Among other organizations, they are members of the ASA (American Staffing Association), SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and the NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners).


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