Live-In Aide Can't Own Section 8 Property
Facts: On his application for Section 8 housing assistance, a resident identified a live-in aide as a member of his household, but did not disclose that the aide also owned the property in which he would be residing. Instead, his application stated that no member of his household owned any real estate.
The live-in aide subsequently transferred title of the property to her parents for free. The resident's application was approved, and he began receiving Section 8 housing assistance. The live-in aide's parents then transferred the property back to their daughter, and then three weeks later, the aide transferred the property again, this time to the resident's sister and brother-in-law.
The resident then called the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) and asked whether his live-in aide could purchase a townhome in which he would also live. He was told that Section 8 regulations prohibit assistance for an owner-occupied unit. The live-aide then received the property back from the resident's in-laws.
On several occasions, the resident reviewed and signed a document stating: “I certify that the unit assisted by [CDA]…cannot be owner occupied…I certify that the information given to [CDA] on household composition, income, assets, and allowances is accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief…I understand that false statements or information are…grounds for termination of housing assistance.”
On several occasions between 2003 and 2009, the resident signed and submitted to CDA live-in aide certifications and verification releases that state, in relevant part, that “[a] live-in aide is defined in federal regulations as a person who…would not be living in the unit except to provide necessary supportive services,” and that “[a] live-in aide is…an employee, who would not be living in my unit except to provide my care.”
CDA informed the resident that his housing assistance would be terminated for his misrepresentation of the property's ownership, and that he would be required to repay CDA $56,910 in benefits it overpaid on his behalf.
A hearing officer subsequently concluded that the resident violated federal regulations and CDA policies by misrepresenting the fact that he had obtained and was receiving Section 8 housing assistance while he was living in a unit occupied by an individual who was, during some periods, the record owner of the unit and, during all other periods, a person with an ownership interest in the unit, which made the resident ineligible to receive the assistance.
The resident appealed the hearing officer's decision.
Ruling: The court ruled in favor of the CDA.
Reasoning: The resident clearly knew that the only reason the aide could live in the residence under the Section 8 regulations was to provide care for him—not because she had an interest in the property, a Minnesota court concluded. It is also clear, the court stated, that the resident knew that, after the property was transferred from his relatives back to the live-in aide that she owned or continued to have an interest in the property. All of the circumstances lead to the logical conclusion that the resident knew of the live-in aide's continued interest in the property, which was a violation of assisted housing rules and regulations, the court ruled.
- Welke v. Dakota County Community Development Agency, July 2010