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Proposed Rule

Continuous Construction-Permanent Loan Guarantees Under the Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program

Action

Proposed Rule.

Summary

The Rural Housing Service (an agency within the Rural Development mission area) is proposing an additional form of guarantee under the Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program regulation. This action is taken to enhance efficiency, flexibility, and effectiveness in managing the program. The Agency currently offers a guarantee on a permanent loan only and a guarantee on construction advances and the permanent financing phase of a project. In addition to the proposed form of guarantee, the Agency will continue to offer the two types of guarantees currently provided.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Written or e-mail comments must be received on or before March 30, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

You may submit comments to this rule by any of the following methods:

  • E-Mail: comments@wdc.usda.gov. Include “RIN No. 0575-AC80” in the subject line of the message.
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Submit written comments via the U.S. Postal Service to the Branch Chief, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 0742, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0742.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Submit written comments via Federal Express Mail or other courier service requiring a street address to the Branch Chief, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 300 7th Street, SW., 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20024.

All written comments will be available for public inspection during regular work hours at 300 7th Street, SW., 7th Floor address listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Tammy S. Daniels, Financial and Loan Analyst, USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program, Multi-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Agriculture Building, Room 1271, STOP 0781, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-0781. E-mail: tammy.daniels@wdc.usda.gov. Telephone: (202) 720-0021. This number is not toll-free. Hearing or speech-impaired persons may access that number by calling the Federal Information Relay Service toll-free at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

Classification Back to Top

This rule has been determined not to be significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. If this rule is adopted: (1) Unless otherwise specifically provided, all State and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule except as specifically prescribed in the rule; and (3) the appeal procedures of the National Appeals Division (7 CFR part 11) must be exhausted before bringing suit.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act Back to Top

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector. Under section 202 of the UMRA, the Agency generally must prepare a written statement, including a cost-benefit analysis, for final rules with “Federal mandates” that may result in expenditures to State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year. When such a statement is needed for a rule, section 205 of the UMRA generally requires the Agency to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the least costly, more cost-effective or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule. This rule contains no Federal mandates (under the regulatory provisions of Title II of the UMRA) for State, local, and tribal governments or the private sector. Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.

The policies contained in this rule do not have any substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the National government and States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments. Therefore, consultation with the States is not required.

Environmental Impact Statement Back to Top

This document has been reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1940, § 1940.310(e)(3). Rural Development has determined that this action does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, and in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., an Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Loan applications will be reviewed individually to determine compliance with NEPA.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Back to Top

This rule has been reviewed with regard to the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612). The undersigned has determined and certified by signature of this document that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule will affect both small and large entities in the same manner. This rule has no significant changes in information collection or regulatory requirements that would have a negative impact on either small or large entities in an economic way.

Programs Affected Back to Top

This program is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under Number 10.438.

Intergovernmental Consultation Back to Top

For the reasons set forth in the Final Rule related Notice to 7 CFR part 3015, Subpart V, this program is subject to Executive Order 12372 which requires intergovernmental consultation with State and local officials. The Agency has conducted intergovernmental consultation in the manner delineated in RD Instruction 1940-J (available in any Rural Development office).

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Back to Top

The information collection requirements contained in this regulation have been approved by OMB under the provisions of 44 U.S.C. chapter 35 and have been assigned OMB control number 0575-0174 in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. No person is required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number.

E-Government Act Compliance Back to Top

Rural Development is committed to complying with the E-Government Act to promote the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services and for other purposes.

Background Information Back to Top

The Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program (GRRHP) currently offers two forms of guarantees: (1) A guaranty for permanent loans and (2) a guarantee which provides a limited duration guarantee for advances during the construction period with the limited duration provision being automatically removed if certain conditions are met. Under this proposed rule, the Agency proposes, for loans that meet certain criteria, to provide a single, continuous guarantee during the construction phase for construction advances and the permanent financing phase of the project. This third form of guarantee is being proposed in response to input from GRRHP stakeholders who believe that this option will allow the program to serve more borrowers thus making affordable housing available for more low to moderate income families.

In addition, the proposed rule makes several technical corrections and clarifications and eliminates the anachronistic requirement that lenders certify that their computer systems comply with year 2000 technology.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 3565 Back to Top

Bankruptcy, Banks, Banking, civil rights, Conflict of interests, Credit, Environmental impact statements, Fair housing, Government procurement, Guaranteed loans, Hearing and appeal procedures, Housing standards, Lobbying, Low and moderate income housing, Manufactured homes, Mortgages, Real property acquisition, Surety bonding.

Accordingly, chapter XXXV, title 7, Code of Federal Regulations is proposed to be amended as follows:

begin regulatory text

PART 3565—GUARANTEED RURAL RENTAL HOUSING PROGRAM Back to Top

1. The authority citation for part 3565 continues to read as follows:

Subpart A—General Provisions Back to Top

2. Section 3565.3 is amended by removing the definition for “combination construction and permanent loan” and by adding alphabetically a definition for “construction and permanent loan,” “construction contingency reserve,” “lease-up period,” “lease-up reserve,” “loan-to-cost ratio,” and “operating and maintenance reserve,” to read as follows:

§ 3565.3 Definitions.

* * * * *

Construction and permanent loan. A loan which provides advances during the construction period and remains in place as a permanent loan at the completion of construction.

Construction contingency reserve. A cash reserve of at least 2 percent of the construction contract, inclusive of the contractor's fee, and all hard and soft costs, that must be set up and fully funded by the closing of the construction loan. This reserve will be held by the lender and will only be disbursed for Agency and lender approved change order requests.

* * * * *

Lease-up period. The period of time that begins when the first unit in the project receives a certificate of occupancy until the time that occupancy of 90% of the units for a minimum of 90 consecutive days is achieved.

Lease-up reserve. A cash deposit which is available to a property to help pay operating costs and debt service at the initiation of operations while units are being leased to their initial occupants.

* * * * *

Loan-to-cost ratio. The amount of the loan divided by the total cost to develop the project.

* * * * *

Operating and maintenance reserve. A cash reserve required of all projects of at least 2 percent of the loan amount held by the lender that is used for the up-keep of the project.

* * * * *

Subpart B—Guarantee Requirements Back to Top

3. Section 3565.51 is revised to read as follows:

§ 3565.51 Eligible loans and advances.

Upon approval of an application from an eligible or approved lender, the Agency will commit to providing a guarantee for a permanent loan or a construction and permanent loan, subject to the availability of funds.

4. Section 3565.52 is amended by revising paragraph (c) and adding a new paragraph (d) and (e) to read as follows:

§ 3565.52 Conditions of guarantee.

* * * * *

(c) Types of guarantees. The Agency may provide a lesser guarantee based upon its evaluation of the credit quality of the loan. Penalties incurred as a result of default are not covered by the guarantee. The Agency liability under any guarantee will decrease or increase, in proportion to any increase or decrease in the amount of the unpaid portion of the loan, up to the maximum amount specified in the Loan Note Guarantee. The Agency will not guarantee construction loans only. The Agency offers the following types of guarantees:

(1) Option One. The Agency may guarantee permanent loans subject to the conditions specified in § 3565.303(d). The maximum guarantee for a permanent loan will be 90 percent [unless the Agency established a different percent and announces this different percent through a Notice in the Federal Register] of the unpaid principal and interest up to default and accrued interest 90 calendar days from the date the liquidation plan is approved by the Agency, as defined in § 3565.452.

(2) Option Two. The Agency may provide a guarantee which will cover construction loan advances (advances) during construction. The maximum guarantee of construction advances related to a construction and permanent loan will not at any time exceed the lesser of 90 percent [or the percent established by the Agency and announced through a Notice in the Federal Register] of the amount of principal and interest up to default advanced for eligible uses of loan proceeds or 90 percent of the original principal amount and interest up to default of the Loan. The Agency's guarantee will cover losses to the extent aforementioned once all sureties/insurances and or performance and payment bonds have fully performed their contractual obligations. A construction contingency reserve is required. This guarantee will be enforceable during the construction period, but will cease to be enforceable once construction is completed unless and until the requirements for the continuation of the guarantee contained in the Conditional Commitment and this part are completed and approved by the Agency by the date stated in the Conditional Commitment and any Agency approved extension(s). The Agency will provide written confirmation to the lender when all of the requirements for continuation of the guarantee to cover the permanent loan have been satisfied. Any losses sustained while the guarantee is unenforceable (after the end of the construction period and, if applicable, before the continuation of the guarantee) are not covered by the guarantee. For purposes of this guarantee, the construction period will end on the earlier of:

(i) 24 months from the closing of the construction loan, if the certificates of occupancy for all units in the project have not been issued by then, or

(ii) The date of the issuance of the last certificate of occupancy, if the certificates of occupancy for all units in the project are issued on or before 24 months from the closing of the construction loan.

(3) Option Three. The Agency may provide a single, continuous guarantee for construction and permanent loans. Only projects that have low loan-to-cost ratios, as specified by the Agency in a Notice published periodically in the Federal Register, are eligible for this type of guarantee. A construction contingency reserve is required. The Agency may require that a lease-up reserve, in an amount established by the Agency and announced through a Notice in the Federal Register, be set-aside prior to closing the construction loan. This lease-up reserve is an additional amount, over and above the required initial operating and maintenance contribution. The maximum guarantee of construction advances will not at any time exceed the lesser of 90 percent [or the percent established by the Agency and announced through a Notice in the Federal Register] of the amount of principal and interest up to default advanced for eligible uses of loan proceeds or 90 percent of the original principal amount and interest up to default.

(d) Maximum loss payment. The maximum loss payment to a lender or Holder is as follows:

(1) To any Holder, 100 percent of any loss sustained by the Holder on the guaranteed portion of the loan and on interest due on such portion.

(2) To the lender, the lesser of:

(i) Any loss sustained by the lender on the guaranteed portion, including principal, interest and accrued interest up to 90 days evidenced by the notes or assumption agreements and secured advances for protection and preservation of collateral made with the Agency's authorization; or

(ii) The guaranteed principal advanced to or assumed by the borrower and any interest and accrued interest up to 90 days due thereon.

(e) Funding of reserves. For each Option under paragraph (c) of this section, the lender must require an operating and maintenance reserve and provide the Agency adequate evidence of the funding of all required reserves.

(1) For Option 1 under paragraph (c) of this section, the funding schedule for the lease-up reserve and the operating and maintenance reserve, must be included in the Agency-approved construction budget and be fully funded before the issuance of the permanent guarantee.

(2) For Option 2 under paragraph (c) of this section, the funding schedule for the lease-up reserve and the operating and maintenance reserve must be included in the Agency-approved construction budget and be fully funded before the issuance of the permanent guarantee.

(3) For Option 3 under paragraph (c) of this section, the lease-up reserve, and the operating and maintenance reserve, must be fully funded before the issuance of the guarantee.

Subpart C—Lender Requirements Back to Top

§ 3565.103 [Amended]

5. Section 3565.103 is amended by removing paragraph (d)(9).

§ 3565.106 [Amended]

6. Section 3565.106 is amended by removing the word “combination.”

Subpart G—Processing Requirements Back to Top

7. Section 3565.303 is amended by revising paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows:

§ 3565.303 Issuance of loan guarantee.

* * * * *

(c) Guarantee during construction. When requesting a guarantee on construction loan advances under § 3565.52(c)(2) and (c)(3), the Agency will only issue a guarantee to an approved lender that the Agency determines is eligible under § 3565.106 of this part.

(1) This guarantee will be subject to the limits contained in subpart B of this part and in the loan closing documentation.

(2) In all cases, the lender must obtain one of the following protections:

(i) Surety bonding or performance and payment bonding acceptable to the Agency;

(ii) An irrevocable letter of credit acceptable to the Agency; or

(iii) A pledge to the lender of collateral that is acceptable to the Agency.

(3) The lender must verify amounts expended prior to each payment for completed work and certify that an independent inspector has inspected the property and found it to be in conformance with Agency standards. The lender must provide verification that all subcontractors have been paid and no liens have been filed against the property.

(d) Permanent loan guarantee. The guarantee of a permanent loan provided under § 3565.52(c)(1) or (c)(2) will be issued once the following items have been submitted to and approved by the Agency:

(1) Certification from the lender stating that the lender or its qualified representative inspected the property and found that the construction meets the Government's requirements for the standards and conditions for housing and facilities in 7 CFR part 1924, subpart A and the standards for site development in 7 CFR part 1924, subpart C;

(2) Cash flow certification—lender certifies in writing the project's cash flow assumptions are still valid and depict compliance with the section 538 program's debt service coverage ratio requirement of at least 1.15, based on the lender's analysis of current market conditions and comparable properties in the project's market area;

(3) Documentation that either:

(i) The project has attained a minimum level of acceptable occupancy of 90% for 90 continuous days within the 120-day period immediately preceding the issuance of the permanent guarantee, or

(ii) Additional funds, supplementing the funds required under § 3565.303(d)(1) have been added to the lease-up reserve in an amount the Agency determines is necessary to cover projected shortfalls.

(4) An appraisal of the project as built. Upon a lender's written request, the Agency may exempt a project from this requirement if requested by the lender and the project meets the following criteria:

(i) Original appraisal—an original appraisal that meets Agency's appraisal requirements with a valuation date no older than 36 months;

(ii) Valuation—the appraisal's lowest valuation regardless of valuation approach and rent restrictions considered, is greater than the section 538 guaranteed loan amount; and

(iii) Guaranteed loan balance—the Agency's guaranteed loan's principal balance does not exceed 50 percent [unless a different percent has been announced in a Notice published in the Federal Register] of the project's total development costs.

(5) A certificate of substantial completion;

(6) A certificate of occupancy or similar evidence of local approval;

(7) A final inspection conducted by a qualified Agency representative;

(8) A final cost certification in a form acceptable to the Agency;

(9) A submission to the Agency of the complete closing docket;

(10) A certification by the lender that the project has reached an acceptable minimum level occupancy;

(11) An executed regulatory agreement;

(12) The Lender certifies that it has approved the borrower's management plan and assures that the borrower is in compliance with Agency standards regarding property management, contained in subparts E and F of this part;

(13) Necessary information to complete an updated necessary assistance review by the Agency; and

(14) Compliance with all conditions contained in the conditional commitment for guarantee.

* * * * *

Subpart J—Assignment, Conveyance, and Claims Back to Top

§ 3565.457 [Amended]

8. Section 3565.457 is amended in paragraph (c)(1) by revising the word “collectibility” to read “collectability.”

Dated: January 21, 2010.

Tammye Trevino

Administrator, Rural Housing Service.

end regulatory text

[FR Doc. 2010-1792 Filed 1-28-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-XV-P

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