Renters and landlords in New York should have an idea about the various laws that are in place, both at the state and federal level, to protect them. One such law has to do with the Section 8 housing program that provides subsidies to tenants. A recent series of events placed landlords and tenants on the same side as New York received an exemption from federal regulations that might have negatively affected more than 55,000 people with low incomes and forced them to either pay more in rent or move to apartments that were not as costly.
Changes by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development altered its voucher program under Section 8 so tenants who went to more expensive neighborhoods would receive higher subsidies while those who were in cheaper neighborhoods would receive less. New York was exempted because it falls into the category of being a metropolitan area with a vacancy rate of 4 percent or less. In New York, the exemption affects the largest number percentage of voucher recipients when compared to other cities.
With Section 8, the vouchers will pay the difference between what the tenants are able to afford and what the rent costs. It is based on 30 percent of the renter’s income and what HUD deems to be the market value of rental property in the particular area. Advocates for tenants were against the changes because of the reduction of subsidies that were set to harm a large number of people. Without vacancies, those who were forced to move because of financial concerns caused by lower subsidies were liable to be faced with a conundrum on what to do next. The goal is for families with less means to have the opportunity to live in a better neighborhood with nicer amenities, safer surroundings, better paying employment, and improved schools.
Section 8 often results in issues for both landlords and tenants because it has to do with city and governmental entities and the rules and mandates that go along with that. In some instances, landlord/tenant law is violated by one or the other. In others, the rental property needs repairs that are not made as they should be. Or, as in this case, there are troublesome requirements for landlords and tenants. Whether there are landlord-tenant disputes or some other problem, having experienced legal advice is paramount and the first call that a landlord or tenant should make when facing a legal issue.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “New York City Exempted From Changes to Section 8 Housing,” Larry Kusisto, Nov. 16, 2016