New York is cracking down on section 8 violations. The state’s Attorney General recently reached a deal with three real estate firms that were found guilty of denying rental applicants based on their use of section 8 housing assistance. Denying tenants based on the use of housing assistance is illegal, and the landlords in violation of these laws can face step penalties.
What kinds of penalties apply for section 8 violations?
In this situation, the three agencies face fines varying from $13,000 to $40,000. They are also required to make changes in-house to avoid future violations. These changes include adjusting their training programs to ensure that those working for the agencies do not deny applications solely based on the applicant’s source of income.
How can landlords avoid similar situations?
One of the easiest ways to avoid similar situations is to have policies in place that do not encourage denial of rental applications based on the use of housing assistance. Policies that lead to this type of behavior may result in an investigation.
In this case, the Attorney General’s office investigated allegations of discrimination based on the use of housing assistance by making calls inquiring about rental properties. Calls were made inquiring about units available for applicants both with and without housing assistance. Agencies that had units available for applicants without assistance but then mysteriously unavailable when assistance was mentioned faced further investigation.
What should landlords facing allegations of Section 8 violations do?
Landlords and rental agencies facing allegations of section 8 violations should take the allegations seriously. Generally, allegations lead to hearings before moving forward to the courtroom. It is often best to contact a section 8 housing lawyer early in the process to help ensure that your rights are protected.
Are there other issues that can arise with section 8 cases?
It is important to note that allegations of failing to accept applicants that use forms of housing assistance like section 8 is just one of many legal issues that can arise in these situation. Additional examples of legal issues that can arise in this area of law include difficulties receiving payment from the agency that provides the housing assistance and trouble gaining access to an apartment for inspection that is rented to a housing assistance recipient.