U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 31, 2023

§ 15.105 - Responses to requests.

(a) Acknowledgements of requests. The FOIA office in the Office of the Executive Secretariat in HUD Headquarters and FOIA Public Liaison in each HUD field office will ordinarily send an acknowledgement letter to the requester that will confirm receipt of the request by the appropriate HUD office and provide an assigned tracking number, as provided by § 15.104(b), for further reference.

(b) Consultations, coordination, and referrals. When HUD receives a request for a record in its possession, it shall determine whether another agency of the Federal Government is better able to determine whether the record is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA or whether it should be disclosed as a matter of administrative discretion. If HUD determines that it is best able to determine whether the record is exempt from disclosure, then it shall do so. If HUD determines that it is not best able to make that determination, then it shall either:

(1) Respond to the request regarding that record, after consulting with the agency best able to determine whether to disclose it and with any other agency that has a substantial interest in it; or

(2) Refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that record to the agency that originated the record, but only if that agency is subject to the FOIA. Ordinarily, the agency with which the record originated will be presumed to be best able to determine whether to disclose it.

(c) Fee estimates. HUD will notify the requester if HUD's estimate of the fee is more than the requester has agreed to pay. Consistent with § 15.106(e), the requester shall have 15 working days to agree to pay the higher fee.

(d) Forms of response. Once HUD makes a determination regarding whether to comply with a request pursuant to time limits established in § 15.103(a), HUD shall immediately notify the requester of such determination and the reasons therefor, and the requester's right to seek assistance from the FOIA Public Liaison.

(1) Granting requests in whole or in part. If HUD makes a determination to grant a request in whole or in part, it will notify the requester in writing. HUD will make a record available in the form or format requested, if the record is readily reproducible in that format. HUD will inform the requester in the notice of any fee charged under § 15.106 and disclose records to the requester promptly upon payment of any applicable fee. Records disclosed in part will be marked or annotated to show the amount of information deleted and the exemption(s) under which each deletion is made, unless doing so would harm an interest protected by an applicable FOIA exemption. The location of the information deleted and the exemption(s) under which the deletion is made will be indicated directly on the record itself, if technically feasible.

(2) Adverse determination of requests. If a determination is made to deny a request in any respect, HUD shall notify the requester of that determination in writing. Adverse determinations, or denials of requests, include: A determination to withhold any requested record, in whole or in part; a determination that a requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has not been retained; a determination that a record is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester; a determination that what has been requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; a determination on any disputed fee matter, including a denial of a request for a fee waiver or reduction; and a denial of a request for expedited treatment. The denial letter shall be signed by the Director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat, or a designee of the Director, in HUD Headquarters or the FOIA Public Liaison for the HUD field office where the adverse determination was made, and shall include:

(i) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial;

(ii) A brief statement of the reason(s) for the denial, including any FOIA exemption applied by HUD in denying the request;

(iii) An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, when appropriate, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption; and

(iv) Notice of the right of the requester to appeal to the head of the agency, within a period determined by the head of the agency that is not less than 90 days after the date of such adverse determination;

(v) Notice of the right of the requester to seek dispute resolution services from the FOIA Public Liaison of the agency or the Office of Government Information Services;

(vi) A statement that the denial may be appealed as provided by § 15.109 and a description of the requirements for appeal.

[80 FR 49145, Aug. 17, 2015, as amended at 82 FR 3622, Jan. 12, 2017; 82 FR 21694, May 10, 2017]