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We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) oversight of public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.  The audit is part of the activities in our fiscal year 2019 audit plan.  The audit objective was to determine whether HUD had adequate oversight of public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.

HUD did not have adequate oversight of public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.  Specifically, it did not always (1) obtain sufficient documentation to support that a public housing development was either exempt from or complied with the Lead Safe Housing Rule and (2) review all potential cases of noncompliance.  HUD also did not ensure that public housing agencies reported accurate construction dates of housing developments to determine the applicability of the Rule.  As a result, HUD lacked assurance that public housing agencies complied with the Lead Safe Housing Rule, thus potentially exposing children under 6 years of age to lead-based paint hazards. 

We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing require the Office of Field Operations to ensure that (1) its staff appropriately determine exemptions from the Lead Safe Housing Rule and documents support of the determinations; (2) its staff determines whether children under 6 years of age reside in an exempt development; (3) the developments without sufficient support of an exemption either support the exemption status or complete the required lead-based paint inspections and provide the documentation to the appropriate field office; (4) the potentially noncompliant developments are reported in its response tracking system and reviewed for compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule; (5) timeframes for reporting potentially noncompliant developments in its tracking system, monitoring public housing agencies for compliance, and implementing corrective actions and resolution are established; (6) a frame work for administrative action for noncompliant public housing agencies is developed; and (7) public housing agencies accurately report construction dates of their housing developments.