Don’t Lose Your Section 8 Apartment
When a tenant has a portion of his or her rent subsidized by the government in accordance with a Section 8 housing program, certain things are different. One of those things is evictions. Section 8 tenants are protected from frivolous eviction, but they are still able to get the boot under certain circumstances.
Landlords must be careful, however, because the government is involved with the lease agreement and they get to call some of the shots.
Landlords are in charge of evictions
Even though the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and your local housing authority are paying rent on your behalf, those government bodies are not allowed to initiate an eviction. That right lies solely with your landlord.
If a landlord does make up his or her mind to evict a tenant, it won’t be as easy as changing the locks and moving the tenant’s property to the curb. All over the country, tenants have certain rights. But things get even more complicated when the government is involved.
First things first
Obviously, a landlord must follow the laws set in place by the state and local governments. It is also important to remember that the terms of the lease may not be violated. The law and the lease are always binding.
As a result of those laws, most tenants have the right to prior notice before an eviction is executed. That notice can be as long as 90 days. Just as important as providing notice to the tenant, however, is providing notice to the local housing authority. A Section 8 eviction may not completed without informing the housing authority.
In some states, landlords are required to ask the housing authority for permission to evict the tenant. If it is not granted, then the housing authority must be named as a co-defendant to the tenant.
Grounds for eviction
The biggest reason for evicting Section 8 tenants is probably non-payment of rent. In order to carry out an eviction for this reason, the housing authority must be alerted and then the tenant must be given the opportunity to pay the outstanding rent. Eviction can occur only if the overdue rent isn’t paid.
There are also legitimate legal reasons for eviction. All of the following are grounds for eviction:
– Drug abuse
– Conviction of drug-related crimes
– Illegal use of the property
– Improper documentation
– Violating the lease agreement
– Registry as a sex offender
If a tenant is evicted for any of the above reasons, then he or she may not just lose a place to live – future Section 8 benefits could also be forfeited.
How the process works
A tenant has a fixed amount of time to resolve the problems responsible for eviction. If that window closes, the eviction may be executed in the same fashion as a non-Section 8 eviction.
This happens when the landlord files an “Unlawful Detainer Action” suit against the tenant. A decision in favor of the landlord gives he or she permission to empty the unit and change the locks. Often the police will be involved with the removal of property.
If you are undergoing an eviction – either as a tenant or a landlord – it is really a good idea to document the process. Keep all correspondences, notices, and timelines in a safe place. You never know when you may need them.