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We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) oversight of lead in the water of multifamily housing units based on our goal of strengthening the soundness of multifamily housing.  The audit was part of the activities in our fiscal year 2019 audit plan.  Our objective was to determine whether HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs had sufficient policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that households living in multifamily housing units had a sufficient supply of safe drinking water.

HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs did not have sufficient policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that households living in multifamily housing units had a sufficient supply of safe drinking water.  Multifamily housing properties were served by public water systems that reported levels of lead above the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead action level.  However, HUD had limited requirements concerning lead in the drinking water of multifamily housing units and did not require multifamily property owners or management agents to take action regarding the potential for lead in the drinking water.  These weaknesses occurred because HUD relied on the Agency to ensure that public water systems provided water that was safe to drink.  As a result, HUD lacked assurance that households lived in multifamily housing units that had a sufficient supply of safe drinking water.

We recommend that the Director of Multifamily Asset Management and Portfolio Oversight develop and implement an action plan that includes sufficient policies, procedures, and controls that address households living in multifamily housing units having a sufficient supply of safe drinking water.