AUDIT REPORT AUDIT OF MULTIFAMILY OPERATIONS BOWDOIN APARTMENTS PROJECT NO: 023-55005 MALDEN, MASSACHUSETTS 2001-BO-1003 JANUARY 29, 2001 OFFICE OF AUDIT, NEW ENGLAND BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS Issue Date January 29, 2001 Audit Case Number 2001-BO-1003 TO: Ellen Connolly, Director, Housing Management Division, 1AHMLA FROM: Stephen D. King, Acting District Inspector General, Office of Audit, 1AGA SUBJECT: Audit of Multifamily Operations Bowdoin Apartments Project No: 023-55005 Malden, Massachusetts We performed an audit of Bowdoin Apartments, a multifamily project located in Malden, Massachusetts. We selected Bowdoin for review based on a low physical assessment. Our objective was to assess Bowdoin’s performance relating to: (1) general physical condition and maintenance of the project; (2) financial management; (3) leasing and occupancy, and (4) general management practices. Our audit disclosed one finding on underutilized apartments which the auditee is in the process of resolving. Within 60 days, please provide us a status report on the: (1) corrective action taken; (2) proposed corrective action and date to be completed; or (3) reason why action is not considered necessary. Also, please furnish us copies of any correspondence or directives issued related to this audit. If you have any questions, please contact our office at (617) 565-5259. Management Memorandum THIS PAGE LEFT BLANK INTENTIONALLY 2001-BO-1003 Page ii Executive Summary We performed an audit on Bowdoin Apartments (Bowdoin), a multifamily project located in Malden, Massachusetts. We selected Bowdoin based on a low physical assessment obtained on a MSO Review, which reclassified the project to “troubled”. Our objective was to assess Bowdoin’s performance relating to: (1) general physical condition and maintenance of the project; (2) financial management; (3) leasing and occupancy, and (4) general management practices. Bowdoin is correcting the maintenance deficiencies disclosed by Audit Results the MSO. We noted no deficiencies in the use of project funds. However, our audit disclosed that Bowdoin needs to relocate over-housed households to reduce underutilization of apartments. Our review disclosed that 21 of 226 apartments were underutilized contrary to HUD requirements. Based on household compositions, families are in apartments with too many bedrooms. Bowdoin had not established an effective transfer policy to address underutilization of units. Consequently, HUD is paying too much in subsidies for the number of tenants served and larger families are being restricted from appropriate size apartments. Our review initially disclosed an underutilization of Section 8 subsidies under its HAP contract. Based upon Bowdoin’s response, which shows sufficient effort was made to utilize its Section 8 subsidies, this issue has been removed from the report. We recommend that Bowdoin revise their transfer policy to Recommendations- relocate families to appropriately sized units as such units become available, and submit quarterly progress reports on the progress in reducing underutilization. On December 1, 2000, we provided Bowdoin a draft audit Findings and report for comments and received their response on December Recommendations 29, 2000. Bowdoin’s response is commented on in the Discussed Finding section of the report. A copy of the Bowdoin’s response is included in Appendix A. Page iii 2001-BO-1003 Executive Summary 2001-BO-1003 Page iv Table of Contents Management Memorandum i Executive Summary iii Introduction 1 Finding 1 Underutilized Apartments 5 Management Controls 9 Appendices A Auditee Comments 11 B Distribution 15 Page v 2001-BO-1003 Table of Contents Abbreviations ACT National Housing Act BAC Bowdoin Apartments Corporation BMIR Below Market Interest Rate Bowdoin Bowdoin Apartments CFR Code of Federal Regulations HAP Housing Assistance Payment HQS Housing Quality Standards HUD Housing and Urban Development IPA Independent Public Accountant MRA Malden Redevelopment Authority MSO Massachusetts State Office of Housing and Urban Development NHM National Housing Ministries OIG Office of Inspector General REAC Real Estate Assessment Center Section 8 Section 8 of Title II of the Housing and Community Dev. Act of 1974 2001-BO-1003 Page vi Introduction Bowdoin Apartments (Bowdoin), is owned by Bowdoin Apartments Corporation (BAC), whose President is John J. Auffant. The project consists of 15 multiunit wooden buildings located along Lisbon and Bowdoin Streets in Malden, Massachusetts. Pursuant to a management agreement approved by the Massachusetts State Office (MSO), National Housing Ministries (NHM) is the Management Agent for the project. NHM has a management office located on site, at 18 Bowdoin Street, Malden, Massachusetts, and a regional office located at 135 Washington Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Oversight, accounting and capital project management functions are performed at the regional office. All other functions are performed at the on-site office. In 1965 AFSCME Housing of Malden, Inc. (AFSCME), a non-profit organization, obtained a 40-year HUD coinsured Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) mortgage in connection with Section 221(d)(3) of the National Housing Act (Act). The BMIR on the $2,366,000 mortgage is 3.125 percent. The mortgage, which has been kept current, matures on November 1, 2005. On December 6, 1966, AFSCME amended its Articles of Organization, and changed their name, location and purpose, to: BAC of Boston MA, operating as a not-for-profit. On May 31, 1995, HUD contracted Bowdoin to provide housing assistance subsidies on 108 of its 226 units, pursuant to Section 8 of Title II of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. The five year 108 unit contract, began June 1, 1995 and expired on May 31, 2000. The contract was extended until a new Section 8 contract was implemented on November 1, 2000. (This new contract incorporated rent increases approved on September 22, 2000). Bowdoin received a low physical assessment on the MSO’s management review of March 11, 1999, which reclassified the project to “troubled.” The MSO and the Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) have since collaborated on supplying Bowdoin with sufficient capital to correct the physical deficiencies found by the MSO during their management review. In July 1999, the MSO granted Bowdoin an 11 percent rent increase to allow Bowdoin a larger Reserve for Replacement to work to repair its physical deficiencies. Additionally, the MRA issued Bowdoin two loans totaling $440,000 for capital improvements, which are to be repaid out of the rent increases implemented on October 1, 2000. The October rent increase consisted of: “An overall 2.6 percent rent increase . . . based on increased project operating expenses,” and a Section 8 increase which totaled 17.7 percent to cover increased operating expenses and the debt service on the loans for the needed capital repairs.” In addition, Bowdoin Apartments intends on withdrawing $150,000 from the Reserve for Replacement to fund the remaining repairs. Page 1 2001-BO-1003 Introduction The objectives of our audit was to assess the Bowdoin's Audit Objectives compliance with applicable laws and regulations and the terms and conditions of the Regulatory Agreement relating to: • Physical condition and maintenance of the property • Leasing and occupancy and tenant eligibility • Financial condition of the project relating to costs for operations, maintenance, administration and capital improvement • General management practices To accomplish the audit objectives, we: Audit Procedures • Reviewed HUD directives on: Multifamily Asset Management, and Project Servicing, Financial Operations, Accounting Procedures for Insured Multifamily Projects, Housing Quality Standards (HQS), Occupancy Requirements of Subsidized Multifamily Housing Programs and applicable HUD Handbooks, notices and regulations. • Reviewed the MSO's project management files for indicators and concerns over leasing and occupancy, financial management, physical condition and maintenance. • Interviewed the MSO's project manager to obtain background information on the project and to discuss any concerns on project operations. • Conducted an entrance conference with the management agent's representative to: explain the purpose of the audit; identify key personnel and their areas of responsibility; and, to request needed accounting books and records relating to the operation of the project. • Reviewed: Bowdoin’s Housing Assistance Payment Contract; Regulatory Agreement; Management Agreement and, Standard Lease Agreement to ascertain pertinent data. 2001-BO-1003 Page 2 Introduction • Reviewed Bowdoin's 1996 to 1999 audited financial reports. • Interviewed the Independent Public Accountant (IPA) and obtained explanations and documentation for areas of concern on line items reported on the Profit and Loss Statements and in audit notes. • Interviewed Bowdoin's Site Manager, Tenant Occupancy Specialist and Maintenance Supervisor on Maintenance and Tenant Eligibility procedures. • Reviewed files of all tenants with subsidies between $400 and $500, to test general eligibility controls over tenant eligibility and subsidies, to include supporting documentation for family composition, income and allowances to assure information on tenants was properly obtained, verified and maintained, and accurately reported. • Ascertained the accuracy of computed tenant rents and subsidy amounts by comparing rents to the FY 2000 Income Limits Schedule, HUD Owner Certification of Compliance Forms-50059, HUD Rent Schedule Form 92458 and HUD Housing Owner’s Certification & Application for Housing Assistance Payment Form 52670. • Reviewed the last three inspection reports (REAC, the Mortgagor - Reilly Mortgage, and HUD) to determine the general physical condition and maintenance history of the project. • Tested procedures and controls outlined in staff interviews for work order systems used by Property Maintenance, by reviewing work orders and disposition over a three-day period. • Reviewed maintenance work items on grounds and exterior building units for completion by performing drive-by and exterior walk-around inspections, to determine if conditions are improving and what actions were being taken to maintain the property in accordance with HQS. Page 3 2001-BO-1003 Introduction The audit period was from October 1, 1997 through January 31, 2000. The period was extended as needed to assess compliance with tenant occupancy requirements. The audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 2001-BO-1003 Page 4 Finding 1 Underutilized Apartments Bowdoin Apartments has a significant number of apartments (21 of 266) where there are too many bedrooms for the size of families that inhabit them. The underutilization has resulted from a failure to establish and implement a policy for complying with HUD occupancy requirements. Consequently, HUD’s Section 8 rent subsidies are too great for the number of people served; and, the needs of larger families, under BMIR and Section 8, were restricted. HUD stipulates that owners should develop occupancy HUD Directives Require standards for determining unit size (Paragraph 2-18 of HUD Occupancy Standards Directive 4350.3-Occucpancy Requirements of Subsidized Multifamily Housing Programs). Occupancy standards must address units that become underutilized due to reductions in household composition. When underutilization develops, the owner must require the family to move to an appropriate unit within the project, consistent with lease terms, when one becomes available. A family may remain in the same unit, only if it pays the HUD approved market rent. Failure to pay market rent, may result in eviction (Paragraph 2-19 of HUD Directive 4350.3). Bowdoin’s lease and contract terms require compliance with HUD occupancy requirements (HUD model Lease Appendix 19a Section 19-Size of Dwelling, HUD Housing Assistance Payment Contract Section 2.5 (e)-Underoccupied Units plus Exhibit 7-Relocation Plan Section V. C. and the Regulatory Agreement for Multifamily Housing Projects Co-insured by HUD). As of August 2000, 21 of the 226 apartments at Bowdoin were Apartment Underutilized underutilized. Twelve households were over-housed in two- bedroom units while another nine households were overhoused in three-bedroom units. Because tenants are living in over- housed units, families needing larger apartments are being restricted, and HUD is paying too much in rent subsidies for the number of people housed. Moving a former head of household, who is living alone in a three bedroom apartment (where rents are $585) into a one bedroom apartment (where rents are Page 5 2001-BO-1003 Finding 1 $392), would reduce the monthly subsidized rent by $193 a month or $2,316 annually. Bowdoin has not taken adequate corrective action to resolve No Corrective Action the underutilization of apartments. During the ten-month period from October 1999 to July 2000, 19 units became available for move-in. Of the 19 units, 14 were one and two- bedroom units of which five were one-bedroom units and nine were two- bedroom units. These units were available for the transfer of the tenants that were over-housed, living in larger two and three-bedroom units. In October 1999, there were 23 over-housed households (nine Transfer Policy Ineffective in three-bedroom units and 14 in two bedroom units). In August 2000, there were 21 over-housed households (nine in three bedroom units and 12 in two-bedroom units). Only two over-housed tenants were relocated from two bedroom to one- bedroom units during the period between October 1999 and August 2000, per the Over-housing Reports prepared on these dates. Subtracting the two households that were transferred from the fourteen units vacated between October 1999 to July 2000, leaves twelve vacated units that could have been used for additional transfers. Bowdoin indicated 13 BMIR over-housed tenants remain on Auditee Comments the list to be relocated. A final advisement was sent to these tenants on December 19, 2000 giving them approximately 90 days to either relocate or start paying market rent. OIG Evaluation of Based on the Bowdoin’s response, the corrective action being Auditee Comments taken is inappropriate. In order to require over-housed tenants to pay market rent, the appropriately sized units must be available to be offered to the tenants first. If the tenant then refuses to move within 30 days, the tenant must then be charged market rent.. 2001-BO-1003 Page 6 Finding 1 Recommendations We recommend that you instruct Bowdoin to: 1A. Revise their transfer policy to relocate families to appropriately sized units as such units become available. 1B. Submit quarterly progress reports on reducing underutiization. Page 7 2001-BO-1003 Finding 1 2001-BO-1003 Page 8 Management Controls In planning and performing the audit, we considered Bowdoin Apartments' management control systems that were relevant to the audit objective. Our goal was not to render an opinion on controls or provide assurance of its effectiveness. The three primary objectives of a management control system are to ensure efficient and effective operations, accurate financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations. An effective management control system includes five essential components, including control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information & communication and monitoring. We determined the following management controls were Relevant Management relevant to our audit objectives: Controls • Accounting and budgets • Procurement and contract administration • Capital improvements and maintenance • Compliance with HUD tenant eligibility requirements A significant weakness exists if management controls do not Assessment Results give reasonable assurance that resource use is consistent with laws, regulations, and policies; that resources are safeguarded against waste, loss, and misuse; and that reliable data is obtained, maintained, and fairly disclosed in financial statements and reports. Our audit identified a significant deficiency in controls related to Significant Weakness complying with HUD’s requirement for tenant occupancy standards. The deficiency is discussed in the Finding section of the report. Page 9 2001-BO-1003 Management Controls 2001-BO-1003 Page 10 Appendix A Auditee Comments Page 11 2001-BO-1003 Appendix A 2001-BO-1003 Page 12 Appendix A Page 13 2001-BO-1003 Appendix A 2001-BO-1003 Page 14 Appendix B Distribution Secretary, S, Room 1000 (1) Deputy Secretary, SD, Room 10100 (1) Chief of Staff, S., Room 10000 (1) Office of Administration, S, Room 10110 (1) Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations. J, Room 10120 (1) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, W., Room 10222 (1) Deputy Assistant to the Secretary, S, Room 10222 (1) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administrative Services, Office of the Executive Secretariat, S, Room 10220 (1) Acting Deputy Chief of Staff, S, Room 10226 (1) Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, S, Room 10226 (1) Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs, S, Room 10026 (1) Special Counsel to the Secretary, S, Room 10234 (1) Senior Advisor to the Secretary, S, Room 10222 (1). Special Assistant for Inter-Faith Community Outreach, S, Room 10222 (1) Executive Office for Administrative Operations and Management, S, Room 10220 (1) General Counsel, C., Room 10214 (1) Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner, H, Room 9100 (1) Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research, R, Room 8100 (1) Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, D, Room 7100 (1) Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, E, Room 5100 Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management, SDF, Room 7108 (2) Office of Government National Mortgage Association, T, Room 6100 (1) Director, Office of Departmental Equal Employment Opportunity, Room 10126 (1) Chief Procurement Officer, N, Room 5184 (1) Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, P, Room 4100 (1) Director, Office of Departmental Operations and Coordination, I, Room 2124 (1) Office of the Chief Financial Officer, F, Room 2202 (1) Chief Information Officer, Q, Room 3152 (1) Director, Real Estate Assessment Center, X, 1280 Maryland Avenue, SW, Suite 800 (1) Director, Office of Multifamily Assistance Restructuring, Y, 4000 Portals Building (1) Inspector General, G, Room 8256 (1) Deputy Inspector General, G, Room 8256 (1) Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Audit, GA, Room 8286 (1) Assistant Inspector General for Investigation, GI, Room 8272 (1) Acting Director, Program Research and Planning Division, GAP, Room 8180 (1) Director, Financial Audits Division, GAF, Room 8286 (1) Director, Information Systems Audit Division, GAA, Room 8172 (1) Counsel to the Inspector General, GC, Room 8260 (1) Central Records, GF, Room 8256 (4) Semi-Annual Report Coordinator, GF, Room 8254 (1) Page 15 2001-BO-1003 Appendix B Office of Inspector General Webmaster - Electronic format Public Affairs Officer, G, Room 8256 (1) Acquisitions Librarian, Library, AS, Room 8141 (1) District Inspector General (Districts 2 - 11) Secretary’s Representative, 1AS (2) Appropriate Special Agent-In-Charge, 1AGI (1) Primary Field Audit Liaison Officer, 3AFI (2) Headquarters Audit Liaison Officer, DOT (2) Departmental Audit Liaison Officer, FM, Room 2206 (2) Auditee (2) Armando Falcon, Director, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight,1700G Street, NW, Room 4011, Washington, DC (1) Frank Edington, Deputy Staff Director, Counsel, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy & Human Resources, B373 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 (1) The Honorable Fred Thompson, Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs, 340 Dirksen Senate Office Building, United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510 (1) The Honorable Joseph Lieberman, Ranking Member, Committee on Governmental Affairs, 706 Hart Senate Office Bldg., United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510 (1) The Honorable Dan Burton, Chairman, Committee on Government Reform, 2185 Rayburn Bldg., House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515 (1) The Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member, Committee on Government Reform, 2204 Rayburn Bldg., House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515 (1) Ms. Cindy Fogleman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Room 212, O’Neill House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515 (1) Steve Redburn, Chief, Housing Branch Office of Management & Budget, 725 17th Street, NW, Room 9226, New England Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503 (1) Stanley Czerwinski, Associate Director, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division, United States General Accounting Office, 441 G Street, NW, Room 2T23, Washington, DC 20548 (1) The Honorable A. Waxman, Ranking Member, Committee on Government Reform, 2204 Rayburn Bldg., Housing of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515. 2001-BO-1003 Page 16
Audit of Multifamily Operations Bowdoin Apartments Malden, Massachusetts
Published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General on 2001-01-29.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)