The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it will require that housing counselors participating in HUD programs to be certified to offer counseling services to consumers. In order to become certified, housing counselors must pass a standardized written examination and work for a HUD-approved housing counseling agency (HCA).

Counselors must demonstrate competency in each of the following areas of housing counseling: (1) financial management; (2) property maintenance; (3) responsibilities of homeownership and tenancy; (4) fair housing laws and requirements; (5) housing affordability; and (6) avoidance of, and responses to, rental and mortgage delinquency and avoidance of eviction and mortgage default.

HUD's final rule will take full effect three years following the release of the certification examination. To help counselors prepare for the exam, HUD is offering intensive training and study resources (in English and Spanish) to its counseling stakeholders. HUD is providing a wealth of resources to individuals seeking HUD certification including a practice test that will be available shortly and the actual certification test is expected to be published in the Spring of 2017.

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