Section 8 Rental Assistance Terminations

Housing Authorities and other agencies issue rental assistance vouchers which tenants use to rent market rate apartments. The subsidy paid under the voucher makes the apartment affordable because the voucher holder pays their share of the rent according to their income, and the Section 8 program makes up the difference by a payment to the Landlord each month. However, the tenant has to follow the program rules or the subsidy can be terminated and the tenant would then have to pay the full market rent. Since the termination of the subsidy usually means the tenant will no longer be able to afford to continue to rent the apartment, the termination decision will frequently be appealed. The recent Sanchez case is a reminder that at the hearing stage an adequate record of the proceedings must be kept to afford appellate review. There should be a record of the documents reviewed, and the hearing officer’s decision must reflect a factual determination relating to individual circumstances. The Appellate Court also looks at the record for evidence that the hearing officer is aware of his or her discretionary authority to impose a lesser penalty, even if there are sufficient grounds to terminate the Section 8 voucher. At a minimum the hearing officer needs to make a factual determination that the conduct violated the program rules and a decision to impose a penalty. If the penalty is termination of the voucher, the decision should acknowledge that the hearing officer considered but did not impose a lesser penalty. We have experience with Section 8 termination hearings.

Categories: Landlord / Tenant Questions and Real Estate Articles.