Owners Must Accept Section 8 Enhanced Vouchers
Facts: The owners of a Section 8 site declined to renew the contracts with their residents and sought instead to raise rents to the fair market rate. The residents sued, asking the court to force the owners to accept their Section 8 vouchers and prevent the owners from evicting residents for nonpayment of the full market-rate rent.
The owners argued that the residents had no right to remain at the site or to use enhanced vouchers to pay their rent. In addition, the owners claimed, even if the residents had a right to remain at the site and to pay a portion of their rent with vouchers, a court could not compel the owners to enter into a contract with the local housing authority to provide service to the residents, as long as the owners were willing to forgo payment of that portion of the rent covered by the enhanced vouchers.
The court ordered the owners to refrain from collecting, except through enhanced vouchers, increased rents covered by the vouchers, to refrain from evicting any resident for nonpayment, and to enter into and execute contracts with the local housing authority. The owners appealed.
Decision: The appeals court sided with the residents, ruling that they had a statutory right to remain at
Reasoning: The court noted that the owners contended that the enhanced voucher provisions merely require that HUD provide vouchers to eligible residents. They argued that the law doesn't require them to permit residents to remain in the units, and doesn't require them to accept enhanced vouchers as payment for rent. The owners thus reasoned that they may raise rents to the fair market rate, and may refuse to accept vouchers in partial payment of those increased rents.
The court didn't buy this reasoning, and ruled that federal law and regulations give residents a right to remain in their rental units absent just cause for eviction, and that residents with enhanced vouchers cannot be required to pay more than their portion of the rent as defined by the Section 8 regulations.
- Park Village Apartments Tenants Association v. Mortimer Howard Trust, February 2011