Augusta Housing Authority is making it a little easier to be a Section 8 landlord.
The authority on Thursday approved allowing qualified housing units to be inspected every other year rather than every year in a set of measures called “streamlining” by Executive Director Jacob Oglesby.
“It’s not going to be as many as we would hope because a lot of our units, we have to go back and do re-inspections,” Section 8 Director Sirena Rogers said.
Fewer inspections were part of a set of changes to Augusta’s Section 8 administrative plan allowed by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department and approved by the authority.
“As I understand these are all designed to make people come in, for owners, make it more desirable for them,” authority member David Steele said.
Augusta Section 8 property owners are eligible for biennial inspections only after two satisfactory inspections, and inspectors still will return in response to a complaint, Rogers said.
Just over a year ago, the authority came under fire from Augusta Commission members for lax oversight of Section 8 rental properties. The authority administered some 3,700 Section 8 properties last year, more than agencies in Columbus, Savannah and Macon.
The authority fired back by showing management awards it won from HUD but said it had only three inspectors to check the properties.
The authority also cited privacy concerns, saying they cannot identify properties as Section 8 if city property maintenance inspectors or law enforcement officers filed a complaint.
Other changes Rogers noted were increasing the contract length from 15 to 20 years for project-based Section 8 housing.
Project-based voucher living exists in several large Augusta apartment complexes, including historic buildings such as Richmond Summit and the Bon Air where the Section 8 vouchers are tied to the housing unit, not the tenant.
The project-based voucher units aren’t directly overseen by the authority. Complexes such as the Bon Air and Maxwell House report to a fee contract manager, National Housing Compliance, on which Oglesby serves on the board of directors.
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