The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed its computer system, Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System (TRACS), to improve financial controls over assisted housing programs through automated processes. TRACS helps monitor each Section 8 contract by storing approved vouchers and payment statuses and monitoring unit and owner compliance.
Quadel utilizes TRACS in its Performance Based Contract Administration (PBCA) engagements in Indiana and North Carolina. Quadel compliance specialists work with PBCA Owner/Agents to make sure they have all required documents, meet program regulations, and are paid the correct amount by HUD.
Indiana Quadel Voucher Department Manager, Tara Appleby, oversees the Indiana PBCA compliance voucher specialists. In this week’s blog, she discusses common mistakes Owner/Agents make and what property owners can do to remain compliant.
Know Deadlines and Documentation Requirements
One of the most common mistakes an Owner/Agent can make is not paying attention to submission deadlines or sequences. Because Owner/Agents are working with an automated system, certain actions must be done before others and/or require proper documentation to process. Sequencing is crucial for many tasks. Owners unaware of system preferences or requirements may experience frustration and delays.
“One of the most common mistakes involves owners transmitting MAT15s, which documents property addresses, without first discussing with HUD or their PBCA. MAT15s are notoriously problematic and frequently create long-term issues for acceptance of future certifications reflecting the new unit numbers,” Appleby said. “Other mistakes include failing to process and transmit annual recertifications on time, failing to report and certify any gross rent changes on time, and retroactively submitting Head of Household changes. TRACS is not designed to deal with HOH transactions retroactively.”
While the PBCA program is a great tool to increase affordable housing across the country, Owner/Agents need to understand the Federal program has strict requirements and documentation deadlines.
Take Advantage of Technology and Resources
The easiest way for Owner/Agents to avoid variances or additional certification processing is to understand TRACS and its functions to the best of their ability. Luckily, there are many resources online to assist Owner/Agents with any questions or issues regarding the system.
“Owner/Agents should continuously monitor their submissions in TRACS and be on the lookout for any responses from TRACS and the PBCA. Any messages or issues should be responded to accordingly and timely,” Appleby said. “In addition, I encourage people to utilize the TRACS 202D MAT Guide. In particular, for the day-to-day, Chapter 4 has a wealth of information. Guidance on voucher reporting of Resident Repayments and what certification must be processed for a change in the unit are prime examples of MAT Guide benefits.”
Know Who to Contact for Software Issues
Appleby noted her department often gets calls or emails regarding TRACS software issues. Unfortunately, the Owner/Agents must contact the proper software support.
“PBCAs utilize a software product specifically designed for their needs and HUD’s regulatory requirements. We are not performing the same functions as the Owner/Agent/Property,” Appleby said. “For this reason, we are not able to assist with software-specific clarifications. These inquiries must be directed to their software support.”