Eastwood Terrace Apartments, Nacogdoches, TX Multifamily Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance Office of Audit, Region 6 Audit Report Number: 2018-FW-1005 Fort Worth, TX August 2, 2018 To: Mary Walsh, Southwest Region Director, Multifamily Housing, 6AHMLA //signed// From: Kilah S. White, Regional Inspector General for Audit, 6AGA Subject: Eastwood Terrace Apartments, Nacogdoches, TX, Multifamily Section 8, Subsidized Questionable Tenants, Overhoused Tenants and Uninspected Units Attached is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) final results of our review of the Eastwood Terrace Apartments in Nacogdoches, TX. HUD Handbook 2000.06, REV-4, sets specific timeframes for management decisions on recommended corrective actions. For each recommendation without a management decision, please respond and provide status reports in accordance with the HUD Handbook. Please furnish us copies of any correspondence or directives issued because of the audit. The Inspector General Act, Title 5 United States Code, section 8M, requires that OIG post its publicly available reports on the OIG website. Accordingly, this report will be posted at http://www.hudoig.gov. If you have any questions or comments about this report, please do not hesitate to call me at 817-978-9309. Audit Report Number: 2018-FW-1005 Date: August 2, 2018 Eastwood Terrace Apartments, Nacogdoches, TX, Multifamily Section 8, Subsidized Questionable Tenants, Overhoused Tenants and Uninspected Units Highlights What We Audited and Why We audited the Eastwood Terrace Apartments multifamily Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program. We selected Eastwood Terrace in accordance with the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) goal to review HUD’s multifamily housing programs. Our objective was to determine whether the owner administered its Section 8 PBRA program in accordance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations and guidance; specifically, whether the owner ensured that tenants were eligible for the program and that housing assistance subsidies were correct. What We Found The owner did not administer its Section 8 PBRA program in accordance with HUD regulations and guidance. It did not ensure that tenants were eligible for the program and that housing assistance subsidies were correct. Specifically, the owner (1) billed HUD for at least 81 tenants without the required documentation for recertifications and did not ensure that it could support the eligibility of its tenants, as certified on its reimbursement requests to HUD, (2) housed tenants in units larger than their family size should have allowed, and (3) failed to ensure that required annual inspections were conducted. These conditions occurred because the owner failed to implement appropriate controls and lacked proper oversight of its staff, which allowed onsite managers to mismanage its program and admit tenants with questionable qualifications into uninspected units. As a result, HUD paid the owner more than $1.8 million for unsupported tenants and units that it could not assure HUD were decent, safe, or sanitary. What We Recommend We recommend that the Southwest Region Director of Multifamily Housing require the Eastwood Terrace owner to (1) support or repay HUD more than $1.8 million for tenants whose eligibility the owner could not support, (2) properly house tenants in the correct unit size, (3) perform annual inspections as required, and (4) ensure that its recently implemented quality control program is working as designed and in accordance with HUD requirements. Table of Contents Background and Objective......................................................................................3 Results of Audit ........................................................................................................5 Finding: Eastwood Terrace Apartments Subsidized Questionable Tenants, Overhoused Tenants and Uninspected Units ................................................................. 5 Scope and Methodology .........................................................................................13 Internal Controls ....................................................................................................15 Appendixes ..............................................................................................................16 A. Schedule of Questioned Costs .................................................................................. 16 B. Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation ............................................................. 17 C. Unsupported Tenant File Results ............................................................................ 24 D. Unsupported Tenant Subsidy Payments and Repayments to HUD ..................... 27 2 Background and Objective The Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program was authorized by Congress in 1974 to provide rental subsidies for eligible tenant families residing in specific multifamily rental properties. Under the program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enters into long-term housing assistance payments contracts with project owners to provide housing units to eligible tenants. HUD also contracts with project-based contract administrators to monitor and enforce owner compliance with the terms of the contracts and HUD regulations and requirements. Eastwood Terrace Apartments is a 192-unit complex at 2817 E J Campbell Blvd. in Nacogdoches, TX. It is a combination of two formerly separate apartment complexes (Eastwood Terrace and Oakhill Plaza). The property is not insured by the Federal Housing Administration, but it is 100 percent HUD subsidized. The owner of the property is Eastwood Terrace and Oakhill Plaza, LLC, a Texas limited liability company, 1 and its management agent is Arnold Grounds. 2 Eastwood Terrace received approximately $5.1 million in multifamily project-based Section 8 subsidies between June 2014 and September 2017. HUD subsidized rents for the 192 units through a yearly housing assistance payments contract with the owner. The contract summarized the terms and conditions for subsidy payments. Based on the tenant’s income, the owner determined how much rent each tenant was responsible for and submitted monthly claims to HUD for the difference between the tenant’s portion of the rent and the total approved rent for an adequate housing unit. Southwest Housing Compliance Corporation (SHCC) was HUD’s performance-based contract administrator for Eastwood Terrace’s Section 8 PBRA program. Due to national litigation between HUD and other parties, HUD amended its contracts with administrators throughout the country to delete certain monitoring tasks, effective October 1, 2011. HUD reinstated the monitoring tasks in May 2016. SHCC performed an onsite management and occupancy review at Eastwood Terrace on February 15 and 16, 2017, and issued a report, dated March 17, 2017, assigning Eastwood Terrace an unsatisfactory score. As a result, the management agent performed a 100 percent file review for the period January 2014 through March 2017 and completed mass inspections of all 192 units. Eastwood Terrace provided SHCC required corrective action responses and supporting documentation to address the findings and observations in the review. On April 2, 2018, SHCC closed the 2017 review summary report. 1 Eastwood Terrace and Oakhill Plaza, LLC, is owned 100 percent by ZG Investment Properties, Ltd. 2 Arnold Grounds Apartment Management and Affordable Housing Specialist became Eastwood Terrace’s management agent effective January 2018. J. Allen Management was Eastwood Terrace's management agent from May 2014 through August 2015. The owner served as the management agent from September 2015 through December 2017. 3 The owner hired Arnold Grounds, effective January 2018, as its management agent to oversee day-to-day operations at Eastwood Terrace. Previously, the owner was the management agent and relied on onsite managers to oversee the day-to-day operations at Eastwood Terrace. Our objective was to determine whether the owner administered Eastwood Terrace’s Section 8 PBRA program in accordance with HUD regulations and guidance; specifically, whether the owner ensured that tenants were eligible for the program and that housing assistance subsidies were correct. This is the third audit in a series 3 of Office of Inspector General (OIG) Region 6 reviews of multifamily Section 8 PBRA programs. 3 We also conducted the following audits: (1) The Beverly Place Apartments, Groves, TX, Subsidized Nonexistent Tenants, Unqualified Tenants, and Tenants With Questionable Qualifications, audit report 2017- FW-1009, issued June 29, 2017, and (2) Villa Main Apartments, Port Arthur, TX, Subsidized Nonexistent Tenants, Unsupported Tenants, and Uninspected Units, audit report 2018-FW-1002, issued January 31, 2018. 4 Results of Audit Finding: Eastwood Terrace Apartments Subsidized Questionable Tenants, Overhoused Tenants and Uninspected Units Eastwood Terrace’s owner did not administer its Section 8 PBRA program in accordance with HUD regulations and guidance. It did not ensure that tenants were eligible for the program and that housing assistance subsidies were correct. Specifically, the owner (1) billed HUD for at least 81 tenants without the required documentation for recertifications and did not ensure that it could support the eligibility of its tenants, as certified on its reimbursement requests to HUD, (2) housed tenants in units larger than their family size should have allowed, and (3) failed to ensure that required annual inspections were conducted. These conditions occurred because the owner failed to implement appropriate controls and lacked proper oversight of its staff, which allowed onsite staff to mismanage its program and admit tenants with questionable qualifications into uninspected units. As a result, HUD paid the owner more than $1.8 million for unsupported tenants and units that it could not assure HUD were decent, safe, or sanitary. The Owner Billed HUD for Questionable Tenants The owner billed HUD for at least 81 tenants whose eligibility it could not support as shown in Table 1. The owner could not locate four tenant files, which left it unable to support that the subsidies HUD paid benefited eligible tenant families. A review of the remaining 77 tenant files showed that all of the files contained deficiencies. The files (1) showed that Eastwood Terrace overhoused tenants; (2) lacked annual certification documents; (3) lacked Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) reports, 4 third-party income verifications, or both; (4) included unsigned forms HUD-50059, which are used to submit eligibility information to HUD for housing assistance payments; and (5) had income discrepancies, as shown in Appendix C. The resulting unsupported payments for these deficiencies totaled more than $1.9 million. 5 Table 1: Subsidies paid for 81 questionable tenants and uninspected units Unsupported Reimbursed to HUD Issue subsidy payments via repayment Total (see appendix D) agreements Lack of documentation for 81 $1,906,228 $40,884 $1,865,344 tenants and uninspected units Totals $1,906,228 $40,884 $1,865,344 4 The EIV system is a web-based computer system containing employment and income information on individuals participating in HUD’s rental assistance programs. Regulations at 24 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 5.233 and HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1, require its use as a third-party verification source. 5 Eastwood Terrace reimbursed HUD $40,884 during our fieldwork for deficiencies it identified for nine tenant files in our sample. It also reimbursed HUD $6,879 for two tenant files before our fieldwork started. 5 Missing Tenant Files The owner could not locate 4 of the 81 files requested. Therefore, only 77 of the files were available for review. The owner repaid HUD $15,675 6 for the subsidies it received for the four missing files. The amounts related to these missing tenant files were not included in our recommendation in appendix A to support or reimburse HUD for identified deficiencies. Overhoused Tenants Of the 77 tenant files reviewed, 35 families (45 percent) were living in units larger than their household size should have allowed. In seeking the most efficient use of housing assistance, HUD requires owners of all federally subsidized properties to assign a family to a unit of appropriate size, taking into consideration all persons residing in the household. 7 In one instance, a three-member household moved into a three-bedroom unit in February 2015. At the family’s 2016 annual recertification, there were only two members left in the household; however, Eastwood Terrace allowed them to remain in the three-bedroom unit. At the 2017 annual recertification, Eastwood Terrace moved the two-member family into a four-bedroom unit, when they should have been in a two-bedroom unit according to HUD requirements and its own policy. This error resulted in Eastwood Terrace receiving a contract rent of $1,085 8 per month instead of $744. Although Eastwood Terrace completed a 100 percent file review, it did not identify this error. Missing Documents and Signatures All 77 of the available files were missing one or more significant documents or required certifications, including annual certifications, income documents, and unsigned or questionable documents. Annual certifications. Of the 77 available files, 21 (27 percent) were missing evidence of annual certifications. HUD requires providers to certify tenant eligibility at least yearly. 9 Without a certification, there was no evidence that the provider considered possible changes in the tenant’s income and family composition. Income documents. All 77 available files were missing EIV reports, third-party income verifications, or both. HUD mandated the use of the EIV system 10 for (1) verification of employment and income of tenants, (2) reducing administrative and subsidy errors, and (3) required third-party verification of income. Even when the staff had EIV reports, the records showed that they disregarded the information or did not follow up on inconsistent information. 6 This amount was included in the Eastwood Terrace reimbursements via repayment agreements. 7 HUD Handbook 4350.3, chapter 3 8 The $1,085 monthly contract rent for the four-bedroom unit included a HUD subsidy of $950 and $135 for the tenant’s portion of the rent. 9 HUD Handbook 4350.3, chapter 7 10 24 CFR 5.233 6 Unsigned and questionable documents. Of the 77 available files, 43 (56 percent) were missing tenant or owner signatures or both on forms HUD-50059 and HUD-50059-A as required by HUD Handbook 4530.3, REV-1, chapter 7. Many of the forms had inconsistent tenant signatures, which indicated that someone other than the tenants (such as former Eastwood Terrace staff) may have signed the documents. In at least eight instances, tenant signatures 11 on documents such as Social Security cards, Texas driver’s licenses and identification cards, and other HUD forms did not appear to match the multiple signatures on the tenant eligibility certifications. 12 Without relevant information and tenant signatures on required forms, the owner could not assure HUD that eligible tenants occupied the subsidized units. Income Discrepancies Of the 77 available files, 58 (74 percent) contained income discrepancies because they did not include all income required to be reported. Annually, HUD required the owner to calculate each tenant’s rent subsidy and the tenant’s share of the rent based on the tenant’s income. 13 However, the forms HUD-50059 in the files did not include all required income sources. Specifically, they did not include employment income shown on EIV reports in the tenant files. Instead, the forms showed either $0 income or much lower income from nonwage sources, such as child support and gifts. Further, other household members failed to report income. For example, three adult members of a household all signed statements certifying that they had $0 income. However, EIV reports showed that at least one family member had employment income. There was no evidence in the file that Eastwood Terrace addressed the discrepancy. Further, as shown in Table 2, many of the annual recertifications included multiple forms HUD-50059 for the same year with inconsistent income information and missing signatures. 11 Although we have evidence to support our conclusion, for privacy reasons, we did not include examples of the inconsistent signatures in this report. 12 Forms HUD-50059 and 50059A 13 See footnote 10. 7 Table 2: Multiple forms HUD-50059 annual recertifications for the same year Number of annual recertifications Deficiencies Sample 2017 2016 2015 2014 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 3 3 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 4 2 3 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 5 2 2 2 2 Incomes differed 6 2 Incomes differed 8 2 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 11 2 3 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 12 2 2 2 Incomes differed 16 3 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 17 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 20 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 21 3 4 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 25 2 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 26 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 29 2 3 2 Incomes differed 30 2 Signature missing on form 35 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 41 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 47 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 48 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms 50 2 2 Incomes differed and signature missing on some forms The Owner Billed HUD for Uninspected Units Of the 77 files reviewed, 75 14 (97 percent) had missing inspection reports, or the inspection reports were not completed for the entire review period. HUD required the owner to complete annual inspections to ensure that the units for which it provided subsidies were decent, safe, sanitary, and occupied or available for occupancy. 15 After the file reviews were completed, the owner provided auditors with additional annual inspections from its 2017 100 percent inspections and a spreadsheet that summarized inspections conducted by the former management agent. 16 We were able to accept only the 2017 inspections, which were largely duplicates of reviewed inspections already in the files, 17 and applied them if they were within a reasonable 14 If the file did not contain an inspection report for each year of the audit period (2014 through 2017), we counted the file as a missing inspection report error. See appendix C. 15 24 CFR 5.705 and form HUD-52670 part V – owner's certification 16 The former management agent was J. Allen Management. 17 Many of the 2017 inspection reports in the files were either illegible, incomplete, or both. 8 timeframe of the recertification date. Although the owner explained that he believed the inspection information provided in the spreadsheets was from 2015 and 2016 inspections, it was not sufficient to support the housing assistance payment subsidies or to assure HUD and taxpayers that the units were decent, safe, or sanitary. The spreadsheets did not include required information, such as when the inspections were conducted and by whom, and required signatures. In addition, the spreadsheet creation dates were from 2018, indicating that the spreadsheets were not completed contemporaneously. The Owner Lacked Oversight and Did Not Have Controls to Detect or Prevent Deficiencies The owner did not have appropriate oversight or controls to detect or prevent deficiencies in the tenant files. In addition, it did not verify the information that the onsite managers provided when it certified the accuracy of its monthly requests to HUD for subsidy payments. Instead, the owner (1) hired the prior owner’s employees; (2) relied on the onsite staff, which engaged in questionable practices and mismanaged its program; and (3) allowed questionable mass document processing. The owner blamed former employees for subsidy issues and other inconsistencies. However, the owner was ultimately responsible for submissions to HUD for unsupported housing payments. The Owner Hired the Prior Owner’s Employees Despite being aware of the property’s troubled history, after acquiring Eastwood Terrace in 2014, the owner hired the same onsite property employees who had worked for the prior owner. The owner believed that if he maintained the previous owner’s experienced employees, it would maintain continuity between owner changes. The Owner Relied on Staff, Which Had Questionable Practices and Mismanaged Its Program For day-to-day operations, the owner relied on its former onsite staff, which engaged in questionable practices and mismanaged its program. The files reviewed contained multiple issues, which the onsite staff should not have allowed. These issues included overhoused tenants, income discrepancies, missing required documents, and a lack of required inspections and signatures. In some instances, it appeared that the onsite staff had conflicts of interest or actively engaged in questionable behavior. For example, a former employee, who regularly certified applications, forms HUD-50059, and other required documents maintained in the tenant files, was also a HUD-subsidized tenant at Eastwood Terrace for part of the time when she was an employee. In at least one instance, the former employee certified that she was a gift donor for a different tenant. The former employee also signed a document containing a tenant’s signature. During the 100 percent file review, the tenant verified with Eastwood Terrace that the signature on the document represented as hers was not her signature. Further, the tenant verified that although she completed an application in 2016, she did not move into Eastwood Terrace, which could be an indication of a ghost tenant. 18 The onsite staff processed a form HUD-50059 for this tenant and collected $5,062 in related subsidies on behalf of the owner. Upon discovering the issue, the owner reimbursed HUD for the overpayment. When potential conflicts of interest and questionable practices existed, Eastwood Terrace was at risk for fraudulent activity. 18 Ghost tenants refers to subsidized units, which Section 8 PBRA tenants did not occupy but the owner billed HUD for those tenants on its certified reimbursement requests, resulting in ineligible monthly housing subsidies from HUD. 9 In addition, paperwork was often misfiled, 19 and onsite staff was inconsistent in how it recorded tenant names, which led to confusion. Tenant files contained a mixture of documents with variations on names, which made it difficult to determine which documents applied to the correct tenant file or whether individuals with different names were the same tenant. In one case, onsite staff processed documents for a tenant using different names. In reviewing payment history data, it appeared that Eastwood Terrace received subsidies for multiple tenants for the same unit. The only way to identify the potential duplicate issue was through cumbersome individual file reviews, paying close attention to the possibility of unrelated name errors. A typical owner would not have the resources to regularly engage in that level of review. These examples show the importance of providing proper oversight of staff and implementing effective controls to prevent and detect questionable practices. The Owner Allowed Mass Document Processing Onsite staff processed and approved mass tenant actions on the same date, which did not appear feasible. For example, onsite staff processed 19 move-ins on October 30, 2015; 15 20 move-ins on June 30, 2016; and 12 move-outs on June 23, 2016. Moving this many tenants in or out of units on the same day, when the process was time consuming and required detailed information collection procedures, appeared questionable. We reviewed 9 21 of the 15 move-ins processed on June 30, 2016, and found inconsistencies and errors. In one case, records in the file showed that a tenant moved in on June 30, 2016, when the tenant did not apply for admission to the program until March 30, 2017. The Owner Blamed Former Employees for Issues The owner acknowledged that there were subsidy issues in 2015 and that he saw “things that were not right,” which led to the management and occupancy review. The owner stated that the low score Eastwood Terrace received was a result, in part, of suspected instances of employee dishonesty and collusion related to tenant eligibility, including underhousing 22 and overhousing. He also said he met with the contract administrator, who pointed out signatures in files that were not correct. The owner said he believed that the employees took advantage of him. However, on the requests for subsidy payment, the owner certified that each tenant’s eligibility and assistance payment was computed in accordance with HUD regulations and the facts and data submitted were true and correct; the required inspections had been completed; and the units for which assistance was billed were decent, safe, and sanitary. The certifications were incorrect, and the owner received unsupported payments totaling more than $1.8 million. The Owner Had Made Improvements In response to administrative and physical condition issues identified by HUD and its project- based contract administrator, the owner took steps to improve its program operations by hiring a new management agent and implementing changes to its oversight procedures. The owner admitted that being the owner of a HUD-subsidized multifamily property and being the property 19 The misfiled documents often belonged to other tenants. 20 Four of these files were missing. 21 These 9 files were included in our review of 77 sample files. See Scope and Methodology section. 22 In our review of 77 tenant files, we did not identify any instances of underhousing. 10 manager was new to him. Therefore, the owner said he decided to find a team of consultants to assist him and hired an audit team to address the deep-rooted problems. As Eastwood Terrace conducted its 100 percent file review, the owner repaid HUD for errors that it identified. The Owner Entered Into Repayment Agreements The owner entered into three repayment agreements to reimburse HUD for tenant files it could not support. The owner received a reduced monthly housing assistance payment subsidy to satisfy the repayment agreements. As of June 2018, the owner had repaid HUD the amounts in two of the three repayment agreements as shown in Table 3. We deducted the amounts the owner repaid to HUD for each of our 81 sample files totaling $40,884. We did not deduct any amounts for the third repayment agreement because payments had not been made by the end of our fieldwork. Table 3: Owner repayment agreements Repayment Agreement setup Voucher reimbursement Repayment number month month agreement amount Paid 1 August 2017 August 2017 – January 2018 $56,750 Yes 2 October 2017 February 2018 – June 2018 41,747 Yes 3 March 2018 July 2018 – December 2018 182,919 No Total repayment agreement amount 281,416 Conclusion The owner violated its housing assistance payments contract with HUD for its Section 8 PBRA program by submitting incorrect certifications to bill HUD for questionable tenants and by charging HUD for units that it failed to ensure were decent, safe, and sanitary. This condition occurred because the owner relied on its onsite managers, who mismanaged the program. Further, the owner and former management agent lacked oversight of their staff and failed to implement appropriate controls to ensure that they could support the eligibility of their tenants and that more than $1.9 million in HUD housing assistance payments was accurate, as certified on their reimbursement requests. In understanding the issues it faced, the owner undertook steps to manage its program in a more efficient and effective manner. It hired a new management agent, conducted a 100 percent file review and mass inspections, and entered into repayment agreements with HUD for tenant files it could not support. 23 However, the owner collected housing assistance payments of more than $1.8 million, which it could not support. Recommendations We recommend that the Southwest Region Director of Multifamily Housing require the Eastwood Terrace Apartments owner to 1A. Support that the subsidies for 77 tenants and units with income discrepancies, missing EIV reports, missing income verifications, missing annual certifications and missing signatures are supported and accurate or repay HUD $1,865,344 for those subsidies. Repayment must be from non-project funds. 23 Of its repayments through June 2018, $40,884 related to 9 of 81 tenant files in our sample. 11 1B. Ensure tenants are housed in the correct unit size. 1C. Ensure annual inspections are performed in a timely manner and in accordance with HUD requirements. 1D. Ensure that its new property management agent is providing oversight to its onsite staff and that its recently implemented quality control program is working as designed and in accordance with HUD requirements. 1E. Maintain tenant files in a manner that ensures they contain the correct records and all required documentation. 12 Scope and Methodology We performed our fieldwork at Eastwood Terrace’s office located in Nacogdoches, TX, and the OIG Office of Audit in Houston, TX, from November 2017 through June 2018. Our audit period was June 2014 through September 2017. To accomplish our objective, we • Reviewed relevant HUD regulations and requirements. • Reviewed Eastwood Terrace’s policies and procedures. • Reviewed the contract administrator’s management and occupancy review period for Eastwood Terrace, dated March 17, 2017. • Reviewed Eastwood Terrace’s latest Real Estate Assessment Center inspection report. • Reviewed Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System move-in and move-out reports and unit payment history reports. • Reviewed the project’s audited financial statements. • Interviewed employees at Eastwood Terrace. • Interviewed the owner, project-based contract administrator and management agent staff. • Corresponded with HUD staff. • Removed HUD reimbursed amounts for unsupported tenant files from repayment agreements. Of the 401 subsidized tenants during our review period receiving more than $5.1 million in housing assistance payments, we selected a nonstatistical sample of 15 tenants totaling $482,375 in housing assistance payments during the survey phase for tenants who (1) had housing assistance payment amounts of more than $10,000, (2) received payments under more than one name (duplicates), 24 (3) and had low income. Based on the results, we expanded our review in the audit phase to include an additional 66 tenants 25 for the audit phase totaling more than $1.4 million in housing assistance payments. We selected tenants who had (1) housing assistance payment amounts of more than $10,000 and (2) income of $5,000 or less. For these 81 (15 + 66) tenants totaling more than $1.9 million in housing assistance payments, we reviewed their files to determine whether documentation supported the tenant’s eligibility for subsidized housing. 24 We could not precisely identify the number of duplicate tenants because there were several tenants with multiple variations of their names and some with different names for the same tenant in the unit payment history data, which we used to identify our universe and select our sample. 25 Four of the files were missing. Records showed these four tenants moved into Eastwood Terrace on June 30, 2016. 13 To achieve our audit objective, we relied on computer-processed data regarding the unit payment history for each tenant. We assessed the reliability of the computer-processed data and determined that the data were generally reliable. The test results refer only to the tenants tested and cannot be projected to the population of tenants. We conducted the audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective. 14 Internal Controls Internal control is a process adopted by those charged with governance and management, designed to provide reasonable assurance about the achievement of the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives with regard to • effectiveness and efficiency of operations, • reliability of financial reporting, and • compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Internal controls comprise the plans, policies, methods, and procedures used to meet the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives. Internal controls include the processes and procedures for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling program operations as well as the systems for measuring, reporting, and monitoring program performance. Relevant Internal Controls We determined that the following internal controls were relevant to our audit objective: • Policies and procedures that Eastwood Terrace’s owner implemented to ensure that its Section 8 PBRA program was administered in accordance with HUD’s rules and regulations. • Policies and procedures that Eastwood Terrace’s owner implemented to provide adequate oversight of former onsite managers at Eastwood Terrace. • Policies and procedures that Eastwood Terrace’s owner implemented to ensure that its monthly HUD billings were accurate. • Policies and procedures that Eastwood Terrace’s owner implemented to ensure that its units were decent, safe, and sanitary. We assessed the relevant controls identified above. A deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, the reasonable opportunity to prevent, detect, or correct (1) impairments to effectiveness or efficiency of operations, (2) misstatements in financial or performance information, or (3) violations of laws and regulations on a timely basis. Significant Deficiency Based on our review, we believe that the following item is a significant deficiency: • The owner and former management agent lacked oversight and did not have sufficient controls in place to ensure that they implemented the Section 8 PBRA program in accordance with HUD’s rules and regulations, including that their monthly billings to HUD were accurate (finding). 15 Appendixes Appendix A Schedule of Questioned Costs Recommendation Unsupported 1/ number 1A $1,865,344 Totals 1,865,344 1/ Unsupported costs are those costs charged to a HUD-financed or HUD-insured program or activity when we cannot determine eligibility at the time of the audit. Unsupported costs require a decision by HUD program officials. This decision, in addition to obtaining supporting documentation, might involve a legal interpretation or clarification of departmental policies and procedures. 16 Appendix B Auditee Comments and OIG’s Evaluation Ref to OIG Evaluation Auditee Comments 17 Ref to OIG Evaluation Auditee Comments Comment 1 Comment 2 18 Ref to OIG Evaluation Auditee Comments Comment 3 Comment 4 Comment 2 19 Ref to OIG Evaluation Auditee Comments Comment 5 Comment 6 Comment 7 20 Ref to OIG Evaluation Auditee Comments 21 OIG Evaluation of Auditee Comments Comment 1 The owner explained that its most recent management occupancy review (MOR) required a 100 percent file review and 100 percent unit inspections. The owner stated that its file review overlapped OIG’s audit and the OIG results were based on information collected before the owner completed its review. The owner provided details on its required file reviews and unit inspections, who conducted them, and when they were conducted. We agree that the owner undertook the required 100 percent file reviews and unit inspections because it received an unsatisfactory score in its MOR, as discussed in the background and objective section of the report. We revised a portion of the finding for clarification. The OIG report was based on information the owner provided throughout the audit process, including review of information collected after the owner's 100 percent file audit. The owner will need to work with HUD to resolve the finding and recommendations during the audit resolution process. Comment 2 The owner asserted that it had already taken steps for HUD to be paid for a considerable amount of the acknowledged unsupported subsidy and that its voucher adjustments were not reflected in the OIG report. It also stated that repayment agreements were reflected, but not credited in the report. The owner believes that the questioned costs will be significantly reduced when it resolves the issue with HUD. We maintain our position as described in the finding. We considered voucher adjustments that were included in the contract administrator’s unit payment history reports. Further, we reported $281,416 in repayment agreements that the owner entered into with HUD and credited repayment agreement amounts in Appendix D of the report in determining unsupported questioned costs of $1.8 million for the audit period. The owner will need to work with HUD to resolve the finding and recommendations during the audit resolution process. Additional repayments after the audit period should be discussed with HUD at that time. Comment 3 The owner asserted that although the draft report stated that OIG performed fieldwork from December 2017 through June 2018, information collected by the OIG ceased in late January 2018. We revised the report to reflect the entrance conference date as the fieldwork start date. However, we maintain that fieldwork, which included work at both the Eastwood Terrace and OIG offices, was conducted through June 2018. Our audit work did not cease in January 2018. For example, the owner provided a USB drive with additional file documents in April 2018 that we evaluated before drafting the report. 22 Comment 4 The owner asserted that OIG’s report did not include how the owner became aware of employee misconduct and fraudulent actions during the MOR, and how it responded by notifying OIG and pledging cooperation and assistance. The report appropriately reflects the owner’s corrective actions and responsiveness related to its MOR. We maintain our position as stated in the finding. Comment 5 The owner believes the OIG misinterpreted and misapplied HUD program requirements and guidance. We maintain our position as described in the finding. The owner will need to work with HUD to resolve the finding and recommendations during the audit resolution process. Comment 6 The owner provided a summary of the history and management of the property to clarify information and statements in the OIG’s finding and conclusion. The background and objective section of the report described Eastwood Terrace's history and management structure. We did not revise the report. Comment 7 The owner outlined its efforts to improve the property’s physical condition, management, and oversight procedures, which it said were not detailed in the report. OIG recognized that the owner had made improvements in the finding section of the report. The owner will need to work with HUD during the audit resolution process to ensure the improvements meet program requirements. 23 Appendix C Unsupported Tenant File Results Missing Missing Missing Missing Missing Over- Income Missing inspection signatures Tenant EIV income annual housed discrepancies tenant files reports on 50059 reports verification certifications 1 X X X 2 X X X X 3 X X X 4 X X X 5 X X X 6 X X X 7 X X X 8 X X X X X X 9 X X X X X X 10 X X X X X 11 X X X X X 12 X X X X X 13 X X X X X X 14 X X X X 15 X X X X 16 X X X X 17 X X X X 18 X X X X X 19 X X X X 20 X X X X X X 21 X X X X X 22 X X X 23 X X X X X 24 X X X X X X 25 X X X X 26 X X X X 27 X X X X 28 X X X X 29 X X X X 30 X X X X 24 Missing Missing Missing Missing Missing Missing Over- Income Tenant EIV income annual tenant inspection signatures housed discrepancies reports verification certifications files reports on 50059 31 X X X X X X X 32 X X X X 33 X X X X X 34 X X X X X X 35 X X X X X X 36 X X X X X X 37 X X X 38 X X X X 39 X X X X X X 40 X X X X X X X 41 X X X X 42 X X X X X X 43 X X X X X 44 X X X X 45 X X X X X X 46 X X X X X 47 X X X X X 48 X X X X X X 49 X X X X X 50 X X X X X X 51 X X X X X X 52 X 53 X X X X 54 X 55 X X X X 56 X 57 X X X X 58 X X X X 59 X X X X X X X 60 X X X X X X 61 X 62 X X X 63 X X X X 64 X 25 Missing Missing Missing Missing Over- Income Missing Missing Tenant EIV income annual tenant housed discrepancies inspection signatures reports verification certifications files reports on 50059 65 X X X X X X 66 X X X X X 67 X X X X X X 68 X X X X X 69 X X X 70 X X X X X 71 X X X X 72 X X X X 73 X X X X X X 74 X X X X X 75 X X X X 76 X X X X X X 77 X X X X X 78 X X X 79 X X X X X X 80 X X X X X X X 81 X X X Totals 35 58 72 57 21 4 75 43 26 Appendix D Unsupported Tenant Subsidy Payments and Repayments to HUD Housing assistance Unsupported Remaining unsupported payments reimbursed to Sample housing assistance housing assistance HUD via repayment payments payments agreements 1 $22,310 $22,310 2 33,833 33,833 3 36,484 36,484 4 27,748 27,748 5 24,871 24,871 6 39,903 39,903 7 23,086 23,086 8 27,440 27,440 9 17,560 17,560 10 24,991 24,991 11 23,386 23,386 12 22,512 22,512 13 35,197 35,197 14 34,314 34,314 15 25,511 25,511 16 37,860 37,860 17 22,824 22,824 18 16,091 16,091 19 22,664 22,664 20 27,707 27,707 21 21,650 21,650 22 33,105 33,105 23 24,349 24,349 24 22,321 22,321 25 33,719 33,719 26 29,626 29,626 27 34,605 34,605 28 24,084 24,084 29 36,234 36,234 30 14,997 14,997 31 11,649 11,649 32 26,171 26,171 33 9,003 9,003 27 Housing assistance Unsupported Remaining unsupported payments reimbursed to Sample Housing assistance housing assistance HUD via repayment payments payments agreements 34 35,497 35,497 35 19,642 19,642 36 18,707 18,707 37 36,433 36,433 38 24,463 24,463 39 36,448 36,448 40 30,270 30,270 41 14,476 14,476 42 34,732 34,732 43 21,700 21,700 44 16,117 16,117 45 12,856 12,856 46 17,056 $12,730 4,326 47 18,222 4,692 13,530 48 31,998 31,998 49 34,632 34,632 50 27,270 27,270 51 21,833 21,833 52 14,205 14,205 53 16,981 16,981 54 5,269 5,269 - 55 9,480 1,427 8,053 56 - 1,817 26 - 57 4,185 4,185 58 10,740 10,740 59 2,766 2,766 60 9,608 6,552 3,056 61 3,183 3,183 - 62 9,572 9,572 63 4,010 1,527 2,483 64 5,406 5,406 - 65 8,291 8,291 26 Eastwood Terrace reimbursed HUD for this sample item before we began our fieldwork. We did not question any costs for this sample item; thus, we did not include this amount in the housing assistance payment reimbursement total. 28 Housing assistance Unsupported Remaining unsupported payments reimbursed to Sample Housing assistance housing assistance HUD via repayment payments payments agreements 66 - 5,062 27 - 67 42,522 42,522 68 41,365 41,365 69 39,949 39,949 70 37,552 37,552 71 39,181 39,181 72 38,560 38,560 73 38,232 38,232 74 37,618 37,618 75 36,994 36,994 76 36,994 36,994 77 20,568 20,568 78 22,120 22,120 70 28,888 28,888 80 11,492 98 11,394 81 10,340 10,340 Totals 1,906,228 40,884 1,865,344 27 Ibid. 29
Eastwood Terrace Apartments, Nacogdoches, TX, Multifamily Section 8, Subsidized Questionable Tenants, Overhoused Tenants and Uninspected Units
Published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General on 2018-08-02.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)