- Laws, Regulations, and Federal Register Notices
Date Published: December 2020
On December 14, 2016, HUD published a Final Rule in the Federal Register entitled Housing Counseling: New Certification Requirements. This rule implements statutory requirements that housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs will be provided by HUD certified housing counselors. With the new certification requirements, the benefits to the renter, the prospective homebuyer, or the existing homeowner are increased assurance of a more knowledgeable housing counselor providing more effective housing counseling services. HUD expects that more knowledgeable housing counselors will lead to better identification of housing issues, more knowledgeable referrals and resolution of barriers, and a greater ability to avoid scams.
The rule provides guidance for agencies who are required to have housing counseling certified staff as well as new regulations prohibiting the distribution of HUD Housing Counseling Program grant funds to agencies convicted of election law violations or misusing those funds in a manner that constitutes a material violation of HUD requirements. Some of the requirements are in effect 30 days after the rule publication, on January 13, 2017. The rest of the requirements are in effect as of the Final Compliance Date.
On May 31, 2017, HUD published a Notice in the Federal Register entitled Housing Counseling Certification Examination Availability and Change to Certification Examination Cost. This Notice announced that HUD Certified Housing Counselor Examination would be made available starting on August 1, 2017, and that housing counseling required by or provided in connection with HUD programs may only be provided by HUD certified housing counselors working for participating agencies approved to provide such housing counseling by HUD's Office of Housing Counseling as of the Final Compliance Date. This Notice also announced a reduction to the cost of the Housing Counselor Examination.
On August 5, 2020, HUD published an Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register entitled Housing Counseling Program: Revision of the Certification Timeline to announce an amendment to the deadline for housing counselors to become HUD certified. The Final Rule: Housing Counseling Program: Revision of the Certification Timeline was published on December 4, 2020. The new final compliance date is August 1, 2021. The amendment is meant to ensure that vital housing counseling services remain available to the nation’s homebuyers and renters, particularly those who need housing and mortgage assistance to recover financially from the effects of the COVID-19 national emergency.