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e-CFR data is current as of November 25, 2020

Title 26Chapter ISubchapter APart 1 → §1.42-10


Title 26: Internal Revenue
PART 1—INCOME TAXES


§1.42-10   Utility allowances.

(a) Inclusion of utility allowances in gross rent. If the cost of any utility (other than telephone, cable television, or Internet) for a residential rental unit is paid directly by the tenant(s), and not by or through the owner of the building, the gross rent for that unit includes the applicable utility allowance determined under this section. For purposes of the preceding sentence, if the cost of a particular utility for a residential unit is paid pursuant to an actual-consumption submetering arrangement within the meaning of paragraph (e)(1) of this section, then that cost is treated as being paid directly by the tenant(s) and not by or through the owner of the building. This section only applies for purposes of determining gross rent under section 42(g)(2)(B)(ii) as to rent-restricted units.

(b) Applicable utility allowances—(1) Buildings assisted by the Rural Housing Service. If a building receives assistance from the Rural Housing Service (RHS-assisted building), the applicable utility allowance for all rent-restricted units in the building is the utility allowance determined under the method prescribed by the Rural Housing Service (RHS) for the building (whether or not the building or its tenants also receive other state or federal assistance).

(2) Buildings with Rural Housing Service assisted tenants. If any tenant in a building receives RHS rental assistance payments (RHS tenant assistance), the applicable utility allowance for all rent-restricted units in the building (including any units occupied by tenants receiving rental assistance payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)) is the applicable RHS utility allowance.

(3) Buildings regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. If neither a building nor any tenant in the building receives RHS housing assistance, and the rents and utility allowances of the building are regulated by HUD (HUD-regulated buildings), the applicable utility allowance for all rent-restricted units in the building is the applicable HUD utility allowance.

(4) Other buildings. If a building is neither an RHS-assisted nor a HUD-regulated building, and no tenant in the building receives RHS tenant assistance, the applicable utility allowance for rent-restricted units in the building is determined under the following methods.

(i) Tenants receiving HUD rental assistance. The applicable utility allowance for any rent-restricted units occupied by tenants receiving HUD rental assistance payments (HUD tenant assistance) is the applicable Public Housing Authority (PHA) utility allowance established for the Section 8 Existing Housing Program.

(ii) Other tenants—(A) General rule. If none of the rules of paragraphs (b)(1), (2), (3), and (4)(i) of this section apply to determine the appropriate utility allowance for a rent-restricted unit, then the appropriate utility allowance for the unit is the applicable PHA utility allowance. However, if a local utility company estimate is obtained for any unit in the building in accordance with paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section, that estimate becomes the appropriate utility allowance for all rent-restricted units of similar size and construction in the building. This local utility company estimate procedure is not available for and does not apply to units to which the rules of paragraphs (b) (1), (2), (3), or (4)(i) of this section apply. However, if a local utility company estimate is obtained for any unit in the building under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section, a State or local housing credit agency (Agency) provides a building owner with an estimate for any unit in a building under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(C) of this section, a cost estimate is calculated using the HUD Utility Schedule Model under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(D) of this section, or a cost estimate is calculated by an energy consumption model under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(E) of this section, then the estimate under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B), (C), (D), or (E) becomes the applicable utility allowance for all rent-restricted units of similar size and construction in the building. Paragraphs (b)(4)(ii)(B), (C), (D), and (E) of this section do not apply to units to which the rules of paragraphs (b)(1), (2), (3), or (4)(i) of this section apply.

(B) Utility company estimate. Any interested party (including a low-income tenant, a building owner, or an Agency) may obtain a local utility company estimate for a unit. The estimate is obtained when the interested party receives, in writing, information from a local utility company providing the estimated cost of that utility for a unit of similar size and construction for the geographic area in which the building containing the unit is located. In the case of deregulated utility services, the interested party is required to obtain an estimate only from one utility company even if multiple companies can provide the same utility service to a unit. However, the utility company must offer utility services to the building in order for that utility company's rates to be used in calculating utility allowances. The estimate should include all component deregulated charges for providing the utility service. The local utility company estimate may be obtained by an interested party at any time during the building's extended use period (see section 42(h)(6)(D)) or, if the building does not have an extended use period, during the building's compliance period (see section 42(i)(1)). Unless the parties agree otherwise, costs incurred in obtaining the estimate are borne by the initiating party. The interested party that obtains the local utility company estimate (the initiating party) must retain the original of the utility company estimate and must furnish a copy of the local utility company estimate to the owner of the building (where the initiating party is not the owner), and the Agency that allocated credit to the building (where the initiating party is not the Agency). The owner of the building must make available copies of the utility company estimate to the tenants in the building.

(C) Agency estimate. A building owner may obtain a utility estimate for each unit in the building from the Agency that has jurisdiction over the building provided the Agency agrees to provide the estimate. The estimate is obtained when the building owner receives, in writing, information from the Agency providing the estimated per-unit cost of the utilities for units of similar size and construction for the geographic area in which the building containing the units is located. The Agency estimate may be obtained by a building owner at any time during the building's extended use period (see section 42(h)(6)(D)). Costs incurred in obtaining the estimate are borne by the building owner. In establishing an accurate utility allowance estimate for a particular building, an Agency (or an agent or other private contractor of the Agency that is a qualified professional within the meaning of paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(E) of this section) must take into account, among other things, local utility rates, property type, climate and degree-day variables by region in the State, taxes and fees on utility charges, building materials, and mechanical systems. If the Agency uses an agent or other private contractor to calculate the utility estimates, the agent or contractor and the owner must not be related within the meaning of section 267(b) or 707(b). An Agency may also use actual utility company usage data and rates for the building. However, use of the Agency estimate is limited to the building's consumption data for the twelve-month period ending no earlier than 60 days prior to the beginning of the 90-day period under paragraph (c)(1) of this section and utility rates used for the Agency estimate must be no older than the rates in place 60 days prior to the beginning of the 90-day period under paragraph (c)(1) of this section. In the case of newly constructed or renovated buildings with less than 12 months of consumption data, the Agency (or an agent or other private contractor of the Agency that is a qualified professional within the meaning of paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(E) of this section) may use consumption data for the 12-month period of units of similar size and construction in the geographic area in which the building containing the units is located.

(D) HUD Utility Schedule Model. A building owner may calculate a utility estimate using the “HUD Utility Schedule Model” that can be found on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits page at http://www.huduser.org/datasets/lihtc.html (or successor URL). Utility rates used for the HUD Utility Schedule Model must be no older than the rates in place 60 days prior to the beginning of the 90-day period under paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(E) Energy consumption model. A building owner may calculate utility estimates using an energy and water and sewage consumption and analysis model (energy consumption model). The energy consumption model must, at a minimum, take into account specific factors including, but not limited to, unit size, building orientation, design and materials, mechanical systems, appliances, characteristics of the building location, and available historical data. The utility consumption estimates must be calculated by a properly licensed engineer or other qualified professional. The qualified professional and the building owner must not be related within the meaning of section 267(b) or 707(b). If a qualified professional is not a properly licensed engineer and if the building owner wants to utilize that qualified professional to calculate utility consumption estimates, then the owner must obtain approval from the Agency that has jurisdiction over the building. Further, regardless of the type of qualified professional, the Agency may approve or disapprove of the energy consumption model or require information before permitting its use. In addition, utility rates used for the energy consumption model must be no older than the rates in place 60 days prior to the beginning of the 90-day period under paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(c) Changes in applicable utility allowance—(1) In general. If, at any time during the building's extended use period (as defined in section 42(h)(6)(D)), the applicable utility allowance for units changes, the new utility allowance must be used to compute gross rents of the units due 90 days after the change (the 90-day period). For example, if rent must be lowered because a local utility company estimate is obtained that shows a higher utility cost than the otherwise applicable PHA utility allowance, the lower rent must be in effect for rent due at the end of the 90-day period. A building owner using a utility company estimate under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section, the HUD Utility Schedule Model under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(D) of this section, or an energy consumption model under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(E) of this section must submit copies of the utility estimates to the Agency that has jurisdiction over the building and make the estimates available to all tenants in the building at the beginning of the 90-day period before the utility allowances can be used in determining the gross rent of rent-restricted units. An Agency may require additional information from the owner during the 90-day period. Any utility estimates obtained under the Agency estimate under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(C) of this section must also be made available to all tenants in the building at the beginning of the 90-day period. The building owner must pay for all costs incurred in obtaining the estimates under paragraphs (b)(4)(ii)(B), (C), (D), and (E) of this section and providing the estimates to the Agency and the tenants. The building owner is not required to review the utility allowances, or implement new utility allowances, until the building has achieved 90 percent occupancy for a period of 90 consecutive days or the end of the first year of the credit period, whichever is earlier.

(2) Annual review. A building owner must review at least once during each calendar year the basis on which utility allowances have been established and must update the applicable utility allowance in accordance with paragraph (c)(1) of this section. The review must take into account any changes to the building such as any energy conservation measures that affect energy consumption and changes in utility rates.

(d) Record retention. The building owner must retain any utility consumption estimates and supporting data as part of the taxpayer's records for purposes of §1.6001-1(a).

(e) Actual-consumption submetering arrangements—(1) Definition. For purposes of this section, an actual-consumption submetering arrangement for a utility in a residential unit possesses all of the following attributes:

(i) The utility consumed in the unit is described in paragraph (e)(1)(i)(A) or (e)(1)(i)(B) of this section;

(A) The utility is purchased from or through a local utility company by the building owner (or its agent or other party acting on behalf of the building owner).

(B) The utility is not purchased from or through a local utility company and is produced from a renewable source (within the meaning of paragraph (e)(1)(i)(C) of this section).

(C) For purposes of paragraph (e)(1)(i)(B) of this section, a utility is produced from a renewable source if—

(1) It is energy that is produced from energy property described in section 48;

(2) It is energy that is produced from a facility described in section 45(d)(1), (2), (3), (4), (6), (9), or (11); or

(3) It is a utility that is described in guidance published for this purpose in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see §601.601(d)(2)(ii) of this chapter).

(D) Determinations under paragraphs (e)(1)(i)(C)(1) and (2) of this section take into account only the manner in which the energy is produced and not who owns the energy property or the facility or whether the applicability of relevant portions of sections 45 and 48 has expired.

(ii) The tenants in the unit are billed for, and pay the building owner (or its agent or other party acting on behalf of the building owner) for, the unit's consumption of the utility;

(iii) The billed amount reflects the unit's actual consumption of the utility. In the case of sewerage charges, however, if the unit's sewerage charges are combined on the bill with water charges and the sewerage charges are determined based on the actual water consumption of the unit, then the bill is treated as reflecting the actual sewerage consumption of the unit; and

(iv) The rate at which the building owner bills for the utility satisfies the following requirements:

(A) To the extent that the utility consumed is described in paragraph (e)(1)(i)(A) of this section, the utility rate charged to the tenants of the unit does not exceed the rate incurred by the building owner for that utility; and

(B) To the extent that the utility consumed is described in paragraph (e)(1)(i)(B) of this section, the utility rate charged to the tenants of the unit does not exceed the highest rate that the tenants would have paid if they had obtained the utility from a local utility company. In determining whether a rate satisfies the preceding sentence, a building owner may rely on the rates published by local utility companies.

(2) Administrative fees. If the owner charges a unit's tenants a fee for administering an actual-consumption submetering arrangement, the fee is not considered gross rent for purposes of section 42(g)(2). The preceding sentence, however, does not apply unless the fee is computed in the same manner for every unit receiving the same submetered utility service, nor does it apply to any amount by which the aggregate monthly fee or fees for all of the unit's utilities under one or more actual-consumption submetering arrangements exceed the greater of—

(i) Five dollars per month;

(ii) An amount (if any) designated by publication in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see §601.601(d)(2)(ii) of this chapter); or

(iii) The lesser of—

(A) The dollar amount (if any) specifically prescribed under a State or local law; or

(B) A maximum amount (if any) designated by publication in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see §601.601(d)(2)(ii) of this chapter).

[T.D. 8520, 59 FR 10073, Mar. 3, 1994, as amended by T.D. 9420, 73 FR 43867, July 29, 2008; T.D. 9755, 81 FR 11109, Mar. 3, 2016; T.D. 9850, 84 FR 7284, Mar. 4, 2019]

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