Owners Must Accept Residents' Section 8 Vouchers
Facts: Residents sued owners for refusing to accept their Section 8 vouchers. The antidiscrimination clauses in New York City's Local Law 10 prohibit owners from refusing to accept these vouchers. The owners argued that one resident's household composition made her ineligible to use the voucher. The owners alleged that the resident's boyfriend lived with her and that the resident's execution of a housing assistance payments (HAP) contract with the New York City Housing Authority would constitute a fraud because the resident's voucher lists the resident as the sole member of the household.
Also, for another resident, the owners claimed that the resident's unit doesn't meet the Housing Qualification Standards required under the Section 8 program due to the lack of a sink. The unit has only one sink, rather than the two required by the regulations. The owners asked the court for a judgment without a trial in their favor.
Ruling: A New York court denied the owners' request and ruled in favor of the residents.
Reasoning: The court concluded that it is the duty of the housing authority, rather than the owners' responsibility, to determine a resident's eligibility to use a voucher. The regulation clearly provides for the public housing agency that administers the voucher program to make the eligibility determination.
Also, it was for the housing authority to determine whether the resident's unit meets Housing Qualification Standards. The regulations set standards for approval of variations by HUD in appropriate circumstances. There was no evidence that HUD had set standards under which the New York City Housing Authority could not approve use of the voucher for a unit with only one sink. The court ruled that this issue was for the housing authority—and not the owners—to decide.
- Tapia v. Successful Management Corp., June 2011.