Special Claims FAQs

Why did SHCC not approve all of my damage charges on my special claim?


Normal costs of turning over an apartment after a tenant vacates may not be included on a claim to HUD for tenant damages. The costs an owner incurs for the basic cleaning and repairing of such items necessary to make a unit ready for occupancy by the next tenant are part of the costs of doing business. When reviewing Special Claims for Damages, SHCC will only approve incorporation of those charges that are for damages that were beyond normal wear and tear.

SHCC adheres to general guidelines established in HUD’s Special Claims Processing Guide Appendix 5C.

The following is a list of items typically attributable to routine use or “normal wear and tear”.

  • Fading, peeling, or cracked paint
  • Slightly torn or faded wallpaper
  • Small chips in plaster
  • Nail holes, pin holes, or cracks in wall
  • Door sticking from humidity
  • Cracked window pane from faulty foundation or building settling
  • Floors needing coat of varnish
  • Carpet faded or worn thin from walking
  • Loose grouting and bathroom tiles
  • Worn or scratched enamel in old bathtubs, sinks, or toilets
  • Rusty shower rod
  • Partially clogged sinks caused by aging pipes
  • Dirty or faded lamp or window shades

Tenant damages usually require more extensive repair, and at greater cost than “normal wear and tear”, and are often the result of a tenant’s abuse or negligence that is above and beyond normal wear and tear. Examples include:

  • Gaping holes in walls or plaster
  • Drawings, crayon markings, or wallpaper that owner did not approve
  • Seriously damaged or ruined wallpaper
  • Chipped or gouged wood floors
  • Doors ripped off hinges
  • Broken windows
  • Missing fixtures
  • Holes in ceiling from removed fixtures
  • Holes, extensive stains, or burns in carpet
  • Missing or cracked bathroom tiles
  • Chipped and broken enamel in bathtubs and sinks
  • Clogged or damaged toilet from improper use
  • Missing or bent shower rods
  • Torn, stained, or missing lamp and window shades

SHCC also references Appendix 5D, which provides a sample life expectancy chart for features of the unit:

Hot Water Heaters 10 years All units
Plush Carpeting 5 years Family
7 years Elderly
Air Conditioning Units 10 years All units
Ranges 20 years All units
Refrigerators 10 years All units
Interior Painting – Enamel 5 years Family
7 years Elderly
Interior Painting – Flat 3 years Family
5 years Elderly
Tiles/Linoleum 5 years Family
7 years Elderly
Window shades, screens, blinds 3 years Family, Elderly


Why does SHCC ask for evidence of collection efforts when submitting a special claim for unpaid rent and damages? What does this entail?

SHCC is tasked with ensuring the owner has made a reasonable effort to recover money from the vacating tenant for non-compliance with rental payments and care of the unit. Therefore, SHCC requires the owner to submit the following:

  • A copy of the certified letter, which incorporates the disposition of the security deposit and a demand for payment detailing the charges. This letter must inform the tenant if the debt is not paid it will be forwarded to a collection agency.
  • Second, a copy of a completed certified mail receipt, the certified return postcard, or copy of envelope with dated certify postal stamp.
  • Lastly, documentation verifying the matter was, in fact, forwarded to a collection agency.

Why does SHCC require me to submit a copy of my property’s waiting list with each Special Claim for Vacancy Loss?

SHCC asks that you provide a copy of the waiting list covering a period beginning 3 months before the earliest claim through the end of the latest claim. SHCC reviews the wait list to ensure management has been responsible in updating/managing the list so as to minimize administrative delays in filling vacant units. SHCC is also tasked with ensuring listed applicants have not been incorrectly skipped in the process of assigning vacant units.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Special Claims staff.