After publishing the 2019 Consolidated RFP in April, we received questions from developers, architects and contractors who submitted applications who wanted clarification on a few items. The following clarifications apply to the April 2019 standards and guides that are posted on our Building Standards webpage.
Windowless Bedrooms
Chapter 2 of Minnesota Housing’s Rental Housing Design/Construction Standards (RHD/CS) requires “A window for natural light must be provided” in all bedrooms.
This design standard's purpose is to make sure all dwelling units in projects funded by Minnesota Housing are eligible to accept tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA) vouchers. TBRA vouchers are required to meet HUD’s Housing Quality Standards (HQS), and under HQS, all bedrooms are required to have a window for natural light.
Exceptions
We will make the following exceptions:
  • If the local TBRA voucher administrator receives approval for an acceptability criteria variation from their HUD field office that allows the voucher to be used in the windowless bedroom/unit, OR
  • If 100% of the dwelling units receive project-based rental assistance (PBRA). PBRA properties, such as a project-based Section 8 development, are not required to meet HQS. Instead they are required to meet the Uniform Physical Conditions Standards (UPCS) under which windowless bedrooms are allowed. 
Due Diligence
Projects considering windowless bedrooms need to meet the exceptions described above and provide due diligence to substantiate the voucher administrator’s variance/approval from HUD, or that all units receive PBRA. 
Examples of Acceptable Due Diligence Documentation
  • A copy of the HQS section of the PHA Admin plan that shows the exception is allowed, OR
  • A copy of the PHA’s Acceptability Criteria Variation document or letter with that language, OR
  • A copy of a waiver/HUD communication that approves a waiver of Regulations-24 CFR 982.401 (f)(2)(i) and 24 CFR 982.401 (h)(2)(iv) for the specific project/unit.
NOTE: Metro HRA has received an acceptability criteria variation, so properties within Metro HRA jurisdiction are exempt and may have windowless bedrooms.  
Multifamily Intended Methods Worksheet Cell Formula Error
There was a cell formula error in the April 2019 version of the Multifamily Intended Methods Worksheet (IMW).
The “Subtotal Category 1 Selected Optional Points” cell does not properly calculate the optional points selected under Category 1, so the total project optional points will not be correct either.
There is a corrected version of this worksheet on our Building Standards webpage. Minnesota Housing staff is checking each IMW during our internal review process and if the worksheet you submitted has this error, we will accept it for the 2019 application submission.
If you are awarded funds, we will ask you to resubmit this form during the due diligence phase. When you resubmit the form, please use the new version of this form, or send the corrupt version to Minnesota Housing. We will correct the format and send the document back to you to complete.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Archived Building Standards (fka Design and Construction) eNews
If you would like to access our archived Building Standard eNews, visit the Building Standards webpage on Minnesota Housing's website.
Questions?
If you have questions about this eNews or other rental housing design and construction topics, contact one of our staff architects. Find out which architect works in your region.
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