AI Asks HUD to Withdraw Section 8 Provision Eliminating Appraisals

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AI Asks HUD to Withdraw Section 8 Provision Eliminating AppraisalsThe Appraisal Institute and the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers issued a comment letter July 16 in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule on regulatory changes to their Section 8 Voucher Program.

The rule proposes to eliminate an existing requirement that an appraisal be used to determine initial rent contracts to a Section 8 building owner. HUD cited a “lack of availability of state-certified appraisers” and “increased expenses in order to acquire state-certified appraisers” as the reasons for eliminating the appraisal requirement.

In their joint letter, AI and ASFMRA asked HUD to withdraw the provision that would eliminate the requirement for a real estate appraisal, and criticized the agency for claiming that there aren’t enough state-certified appraisers without citing any research to support that claim.

The letter stated that “contrary to the proposed rule, there is a sufficient supply of state-certified appraisers fully capable of offering cost-effective services in support of the Section 8 program … as of Dec. 31, 2011, the number of active real estate appraisers in the U.S. stood at 86,800. Of this number, approximately 30 percent, or 26,000, are classified as Certified General Real Property Appraisers.”

Similarly, the letter noted that HUD has not provided any research to support its contention that an alleged shortage of appraisers has led to increased costs or project delays related to appraisals. AI and ASFMRA challenged this assertion in their letter, stating “our research indicates that turnaround times for appraisals have remained relatively constant in recent years. Turnaround times are a function of the scope of work of the appraisal.

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