We audited Laurentian Hall Apartments (project) because of its failure to submit financial statements in a timely manner and because we had never audited the project before. Our audit objective was to determine whether the project’s owner managed the project in accordance with its U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-held mortgage and other HUD requirements.
The owner of Laurentian Hall Apartments did not always manage its multifamily project in accordance with HUD requirements. Specifically, the owner (1) did not submit financial statements and mortgage payments as required, (2) improperly leased commercial space without HUD’s consent to a related party at below market rent, (3) disbursed funds for building improvements without HUD’s approval, (4) did not properly procure products and services, (5) created a lien on the property in violation of its mortgage terms, and (6) incurred costs that were not eligible for the project’s operations. As a result, the project was in default of its HUD-held mortgage and it incurred more than $71,000 in unsupported costs from unapproved building improvements and improper procurement of products and services, and nearly $9,000 in ineligible expenditures. The project also lost the opportunity to increase surplus cash available to pay its mortgage by $282,578 because it didn’t collect fair market rent on its commercial space, and it exposed project assets to risk from creditor claims of up to $25,000.
We recommend that HUD require the owner to (1) pay the project $282,578 from non-project funds for the commercial rent not collected because the lease charged less than fair market rent, and (2) request approval from HUD to lease the commercial space and if HUD approves the request, then execute a lease at fair market rent. We also recommend that the Director of HUD’s Asset Management Division, Baltimore Multifamily Hub (1) recalculate the project’s annual surplus cash balances to determine whether the project should make additional payments from surplus cash toward its mortgage beyond the $13,740 that it paid during the audit, and (2) provide training and technical assistance to the owner and its management agent to ensure compliance with the terms of its mortgage and other applicable HUD requirements.