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Side-by-side Comparisons of Changes to the Uniform Act FAQ

Subpart C

UNIFORM ACT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
2005 August 2005 January 25, 2007  
Original Text Interim Text Final Text Comments
Side by Side Comparison of FAQ’s  
Legend:
Moved: Italics
Deleted: Strikethrough
New: Red Bold
 
SUBPART C – GENERAL RELOCATION REQUIREMENTS  
   

42. §24.203. How early can the agency give a 90-day notice. Does it have to be written?

The notice must be in writing and can be given at the initiation of negotiations or later, providing at least 90 days advance notice of the specific date possession will be required. When given at the initiation of negotiations it will include an assurance that another notice will be given at least 30 days before the property needs to be vacated. This latter date shall not be any earlier than the date provided in the initial 90-day notice.

 
   

43. §24.203. Is there a requirement to give illegal aliens a 90-day notice?

The regulation prohibits Federal participation in relocation payments or relocation advisory services to illegal aliens but does not prohibit notices. Often illegal aliens and legal residents reside together. Giving every resident, legal and illegal, the 90-day notice will assure compliance with the Uniform Act.

 

49 CFR 24.5 and 24.203. Is an agency required to prepare a relocation brochure?

A relocation brochure is not required; however, each displaced person must be provided a general written description of the displacing agency's relocation program. Brochures are very effective for providing accurate general relocation information in a uniform manner. It is strongly recommended that each agency have brochures available to furnish to displaced persons at the initial contact and to the public, as appropriate. The lead agency has a relocation brochure available that may be copied for this purpose.

 

44. §24.203 and §24.5.Is an agency required to prepare a relocation brochure?

A relocation brochure is not required; however, each displaced person must be provided a general written description of the agency's relocation program. Brochures are very effective for providing accurate general relocation information in a uniform manner. It is strongly recommended that each agency have brochures available to furnish displaced persons at the initial contact and to the public, as appropriate.

 

49 CFR 24.2(o). May an agency issue a notice of intent to acquire a parcel in order to establish a date of eligibility for relocation benefits prior to the initiation of negotiations?

Yes. Eligibility for benefits can be established prior to the initiation of negotiations by issuing a notice of intent to acquire to a person who will be displaced by a program or project.

 

45. §24.203(d) and §24.2(a)(9)(i)(A). Can an agency issue a notice of intent to acquire a parcel in order to establish a date of eligibility for relocation benefits prior to the initiation of negotiations?

Yes. Eligibility for benefits can be established prior to the initiation of negotiations by issuing a notice of intent to acquire to a person who will be displaced by a program or project.

 

49 CFR 24.207(e). What was the intent of the last sentence of this paragraph regarding multiple occupants of one displacement dwelling? ("However, if two or more occupants maintained separate households within the same dwelling, such occupants have separate entitlements to relocation payments.")

Two or more occupants of a dwelling may maintain separate households within that dwelling. If they do, they have separate entitlement to relocation payments. The displacing agency is responsible for determining the number of households in a dwelling based on the use of the dwelling, the relationship of the occupants, and any other information that may be obtained. The payment computation for each household should be based on the part of the dwelling that the household occupies and the space that is shared with others. An attempt should be made to locate similar comparable DSS living facilities. The record should be sufficiently documented to support the decision reached.

    Moved to Question #107

49 CFR 24.203(b). Can an owner of a property to be acquired prevent the agency from contacting the tenants of the property?

An owner may not prevent authorized agency employees from notifying tenants of the benefits they may be eligible to receive under the Uniform Act. The agency should advise the owner that it is better to explain to the tenants the requirements and obligations for the eligibility for benefits and to advise them there is no rush to relocate. In rare circumstances when the owner is concerned the tenants will move and there will be loss of rental income, the agency may offer to make a payment to replace lost rent for vacancies occurring due to relocation for a reasonable period of time.

 

46. §24.203(b). Can an owner of a property to be acquired prevent the agency from contacting the tenants of the property?

An owner may not prevent authorized agency employees from notifying tenants of the benefits they may be eligible to receive under the Uniform Act. The agency should advise the owner that it is better to explain to the tenants the requirements and obligations for the eligibility for benefits and to advise them there is no rush to relocate. In situations where the owner is concerned the tenants will move and there will be loss of rental income, the agency may offer to make a payment to replace lost rent for vacancies occurring due to relocation for a reasonable period of time.

 

49 CFR 24.203(c). Must the displacing agency restart the 90-day clock if the original comparable replacement dwelling has been sold?

No.

  1. The 90-day time period will continue to run without interruption. However, if the original comparable dwelling is no longer available, the displacing agency must assure itself that equally comparable dwellings are still available in the same price range.
  • If the displacing agency finds it necessary to initiate eviction actions, its records must contain sufficient documentation to confirm that the comparable replacement dwelling or one equally comparable, in cost and all other features, is available for occupancy.
 

47. §24.203(c). Must the agency restart the 90-day clock if the original comparable replacement dwelling has been sold?

No. The 90-day time period continues to run without interruption. However, if the original comparable dwelling is no longer available, the agency must assure itself that equally comparable dwellings are still available in the same price range. If the agency finds it necessary to initiate eviction actions, its records must contain sufficient documentation to confirm that a comparable replacement dwelling is available for occupancy.

 

49 CFR 24.204. Can the displacing agency reduce the relocation payment offer if, after 90-days have passed, the displaced person has not acquired replacement housing and the agency locates another comparable dwelling that is available for less than the comparable used for the offer?

Yes. However, the displacing agency should not lower an offer if the displaced person had, in good faith, made a commitment or is making a good faith effort to acquire a replacement dwelling based on the original offer. If the displaced person has made little or no effort to acquire a replacement dwelling, it would be permissible, after a reasonable period of time, to reduce the offer if a less-expensive, comparable dwelling becomes available. If an agency elects to lower a payment offer, it should document the files with the rationale and make every effort to avoid acting in a coercive manner.

 

48. §24.204. Can the agency reduce the relocation payment offer if, after 90 days have passed, the displaced person has not acquired replacement housing and the agency locates another comparable dwelling that is available for less than the comparable used for the offer?

Yes. If the displaced person has made little or no effort to acquire a replacement dwelling, it would be permissible, after a reasonable period of time, to reduce the offer if a less-expensive, comparable dwelling becomes available. If an agency elects to lower a payment offer, it should document the files with the rationale and make every effort to avoid acting in a coercive manner.

 
   

49. §24.205. How does a Federal funding agency insure that an agency is engaged in relocation planning and providing the advisory services described in this section? How does an agency demonstrate compliance?

The regulations do not prescribe any particular form of monitoring or recordkeeping. §24.4(b) requires that Federal agencies shall monitor compliance with the regulation, and, if necessary, apply sanctions in accordance with applicable program regulations. Compliance with all aspects of the Uniform Act should be part of a Federal agency's overall program management and oversight functions. §24.9 requires that agencies maintain adequate records in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance.

 
   

50. §24.205. Does lack of cooperation on the part of the displacee relieve the agency of its obligation to provide required relocation advisory assistance?

The agency must provide notices and advisory services to all displacees. All contacts and efforts to contact a displacee must be documented in the agency files. The agency is not relieved of its responsibility regardless of displacee cooperation. In some cases, the relocation agent should seek advice early in process from legal counsel.

 
 

24. When should a displacing agency conduct the interview with owners of businesses to be displaced in accordance with 49 CFR 24.205(c)(2)(i),and provide the other advisory services described in this section? How can agency compliance be documented?

Interviews with business owners are an important part of the relocation planning, and are intended to facilitate the successful reestablishment of the business. Interviews should be conducted with enough lead-time to maximize the likelihood that information obtained from the interviews can assist in the successful relocation of the business. An agency can conduct more than one interview with a business. The timing of the business interview(s) may depend on the nature of the business and kind of issues involved in its relocation.

While no particular documentation is prescribed, an agency must maintain adequate records in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance.

51. §24.205(c)(2)(i).When should an agency conduct the interview with owners of businesses and provide the other advisory services? How can agency compliance be documented?

General information can be included in a relocation plan, survey or study, §24.205(a), or in an environmental document. Interviews with business owners and early advisory services are an important part of relocation planning, and are intended to facilitate the successful reestablishment of the business. Interviews should be conducted with enough lead-time to maximize the likelihood that information obtained from the interviews can assist in the successful relocation of the business. An agency can conduct more than one interview with a business. The timing of the business interview(s) and planning may depend on the nature of the business and kind of issues involved in its relocation. While no particular documentation is prescribed, an agency must maintain adequate records in sufficient detail to demonstrate compliance.

 
  SUBPART D - PAYMENT FOR MOVING AND RELATED EXPENSES   Title Moved to be between Questions 11 & 12 above.
 

23. Section 24.205(c)(2)(ii)(E). If agencies are required to provide transportation for displaced persons, what is an agency to do in a rural area where there is no public transportation, and agents are prohibited by their human resources department from using a company car for non-city/county employees? (Private insurance doesn't cover the passenger if there were an accident in their privately owned vehicle.)

The agency needs to assess the needs of the displaced person and develop viable alternatives to meet the needs identified. The agency may need to rent a car for the displaced person, hire someone to take them around (possibly a local realtor), etc. In a rural setting, it may be even more critical to assist a displaced person who has no means of transportation. If the person has their own transportation, the agency may pay for their mileage costs.

52. §24.205(c)(2)(ii)(E). Sinceagencies are required to provide transportation for displaced persons, what is an agency to do in a rural area where there is no public transportation, and agents are prohibited by agency policy from using a company car for anyone who is not an agency employee? [Private insurance doesn't cover the passenger if there were an accident in their privately owned vehicle.]

The agency needs to assess the needs of the displaced person and develop viable alternatives to meet the needs identified. The agency may need to rent a car for the displaced person, hire someone to take them around (possibly a local realtor), etc. In a rural setting, it may be even more critical to assist a displaced person who has no means of transportation. If the person has their own transportation, the agency may pay for their mileage costs.

 
   

53. §24.206. What changes were made in the eviction for cause provision?

A person who is a lawful occupant on the date of initiation of negotiation is presumed to be entitled to relocation benefits, and can only be denied benefits if the person has been evicted under applicable local law prior to the initiation of negotiations, or is evicted "for serious or repeated violation of material terms" of a lease or occupancy agreement, and in either case the eviction is not undertaken to evade Uniform Act obligations. The appendix A clarifies that a failure or refusal to move for a project cannot be considered to be a "serious or repeated violation of material terms" of a lease or agreement for purposes of this section.

 

49 CFR 24.208. Is there any background or clarification on how I can best stay within the law when my project displaces someone who may not be in the US legally?

The background and tips for success in this are found by visiting the comprehensive discussion at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/real_estate/uniform_act/relocation/illegaqa.cfm

 

54. §24.208. Is there any background or clarification on how I can best stay within the law when my project displaces someone who may not be in the United States legally?

The background and tips for success in this are found in the comprehensive discussion at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/real_estate/uniform_act/relocation/illegaqa.cfm

 
   

55. §24.208. How should payments be computed if some members of a displaced family are present lawfully but others are present unlawfully?

There are two different computation methods, one for moving expenses and one for replacement housing payments (RHP). For moving expenses, the payment is to be based on the proportion of lawful occupants to the total number of occupants. For example, if four out of five members of a family to be displaced are lawfully present, the proportion of lawful occupants is 80 percent and that percentage is to be applied against the moving expenses payment that otherwise would have been received.For the RHP, the unlawful occupants are not counted as a part of the family and its size is reduced accordingly. Thus a family of five, one of whom is a person not lawfully present in the U.S., would be counted as a family of four. The comparable for the family would reflect the makeup of the remaining four persons and the RHP would be computed accordingly.

A "pro rata" approach to an RHP calculation disregarding alien status for comparability determination and applying a percentage to the RHP amount based upon the number of legal household members divided by the total number of household members is not permitted  (consistent with Public Law 105-117).

  • The "pro rata" approach may result in a higher RHP eligibility than the displaced persons would otherwise be eligible to receive.
  • The "pro rata" approach of providing a percentage of the calculated eligibility is contrary to the requirements of the Uniform Act and 49 CFR Part 24.
Example:
Household of seven (including one illegal alien individually occupying one bedroom.)
Displacement dwelling – 4 BR unit, with rent/utilities of $1200/month
Housing requirements for all lawful occupants (six) is a 3 BR unit
Comparable dwelling
3 BR unit with rent/utilities of $1300/month
Calculation of RHP under regulations (illegal alien excluded)
$1300 (comparable) - $1200 (displacement unit) = $100 RHP x 42 months = $4,200 RHP
 
   

56. §24.208. If a person who is a member of a family being displaced is not eligible for and does not receive Uniform Act benefits because he or she is in not lawfully in the United States, is that person's income excluded from the computation of family income?

No. The person's income is still counted unless the agency is certain that the ineligible person will not continue to reside with the family. To exclude the ineligible person's income would result in a windfall by providing a higher relocation payment. This is an example of a payment that the illegal alien provision is trying to avoid.

 
Updated: 09/05/2014
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