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Achieving a passing file audit

The compliance arena can be complicated, especially when it comes to identifying markers of success. With that being said, passing file audits is one of the more clear-cut indicators, so understanding how to accomplish this is worth the time and energy.

At FOURMIDABLE, we pride ourselves on passing file audits and celebrate the teams who achieve this important milestone.

One of the main responsibilities of our Compliance Department is the reviewing of move-in files and recertifications and following up on any corrections that need to be made. This is the first step in preparing for a future file audit which can be conducted by a variety of agencies.

If you receive any type of government funding, Management and Occupancy Review (MOR), are conducted annually.   Depending on the program type or funding, file audits may be conducted by:
  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • Housing Authority
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit Agency
  • Syndicator
Keep in mind that often the auditor will send a questionnaire to the owner/agent to provide information and documents prior to the desk or in-person audit, again allowing for thorough preparation before the actual audit is essential.

During these audits, the agencies are reviewing a number of key documents including move-ins (to make sure a resident is qualified at the time of move in); recent recertifications (to ensure they have been done in a timely fashion); Enterprise Income Verifications (EIV); as well as many other required documents.

Remember that it is important to produce only original signed and dated documents – white out should never be used. In general, auditors want to easily find what they are looking for, so file set up, consistency and presentation is important.

A good suggestion is to use four or six sided folders. File folder coversheets can be extremely useful, and added to each page of the folder set up.

Another suggestion is to have your Compliance Department, or a team member, do a spot review of the files prior to the audit. That’s a good method for eliminating errors or discovering missing information and correcting prior to the auditor’s actual visit.

After the file audit, always respond in a timely fashion, and provide supporting documents to any findings that are noted on what’s known as the “close-out/summary report.” This is especially important because there could be negative ramifications for the owner and the management agent if the findings are not resolved.

Last, and absolutely fundamental, make sure to acknowledge and reward your team for audits that have an excellent or perfect score. Without the support and commitment of your teams, facing audits can be more difficult than they need to be.

Achieving passing file audits is truly a special accomplishment, one we celebrate. So let me take a moment and acknowledge our teams at Kamper Stevens, Magnolia Manor, Rosewood Place and Watson Glades for being excellent examples when it comes to achieving passing file audits. Great job, everyone.

Remember: we’re here to help each other, and if you have any questions or want to share success stories, let us know.

Passing file audits are a great validation, and will go a long way to ensuring a great community taken care of by a devoted team, administrators and staff.