(a) Suspension based on changes in the law.
(1) The Assistant Secretary may suspend the agency's certification if the Assistant Secretary has reason to believe that the State or locality may have limited the effectiveness of the agency's implementation of the fair housing law or ordinance by:
(i) Amending the fair housing law or ordinance;
(ii) Adopting rules or procedures concerning the fair housing law or ordinance; or
(iii) Issuing judicial or other authoritative interpretations of the fair housing law or ordinance.
(2) If the Assistant Secretary suspends certification under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, such suspension will remain in effect until the Assistant Secretary conducts a review of the changes in language and/or interpretation and determines whether the law or ordinance remains substantially equivalent on its face and in its operation to the Act. Such suspension shall not exceed 180 days.
(3) If the Assistant Secretary determines that the law or ordinance remains substantially equivalent on its face and in operation to the Act, the Assistant Secretary will rescind the suspension and reinstate the agency's interim certification and/or recommend the agency for certification. HUD will provide full or partial reimbursement for cases processed during the period of the suspension.
(4) If the Assistant Secretary determines that the actions taken by the State or locality do limit the agency's effectiveness, certification will be withdrawn pursuant to Sec. 115.212.
(b) Suspension based on agency performance.
(1) The Assistant Secretary may suspend the certification of an agency charged with the administration of a fair housing law or ordinance, if the Assistant Secretary has reason to believe that the agency's performance does not comply with the criteria set forth by this part. Such suspension shall not exceed 180 days.
(2) If the agency is suspended pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, the FHEO Field Office may elect not to provide payment for complaints processed within that period of time unless and until the Assistant Secretary determines that the agency is fully in compliance with Sec. 115.203. The FHEO Field Office will provide technical assistance to the agency during this period of time.
(3) During the period of a suspension the Assistant Secretary shall not refer complaints to the agency.
(4) Suspension under this paragraph also renders the agency ineligible to receive Fair Housing Assistance Program Funds under subpart C of this part, pending correction of the deficiencies by the agency.
(5) Before the end of the suspension, a final performance assessment will be provided to the Assistant Secretary upon which a determination will be made as to the adequacy of the agency's performance.
(c) HUD will provide an agency with notice of the specific reasons for the suspension of its certification and an opportunity to respond, in accordance with the procedures set forth in HUD issued guidance.