May 1, 2019

Young, Rubio Introduce Bill To Protect Tenants And Hold Slumlords Accountable

WASHINGTON– Today, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Housing Accountability Act of 2019, legislation that would hold property owners of low-income housing accountable for poor living conditions. Specifically, the legislation would require residents of private properties that have Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts to be surveyed twice a year in order to determine the existence of persistent problems with a property’s physical condition or management. 

“Fixing the current housing crisis is a main priority in my Fair Shot Agenda. It is very important that tenants have the opportunity to report issues with their rental property without fear of retaliation from the owner or landlord,” said Senator Young.“The Housing Accountability Actwill empower tenants to report issues such as lead poisoning or structural deficiencies directly to HUD for closer review. This will ensure bad actors are held accountable and help maintain a suitable living environment for all Americans.” 

“This important legislation builds on my efforts to help those suffering in substandard HUD housing and ensure tenants feel secure in speaking out about unsafe, unhealthy living conditions,” said Senator Rubio.“Slumlords, like Global Ministries Foundation, have preyed on low income housing residents for far too long while stealing taxpayer dollars, and it’s long overdue that Congress held them accountable for their despicable actions.” 

The Housing Accountability Act (HAA)codifies sanitation standards and requires the Performance-Based Contract Administrator (PBCA) of properties receiving Housing Assistance Payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer a semi-annual survey that allows tenants to report problems at their property. 

The Secretary of HUD would have the ability to refer properties for remediation or fine owners of neglected Section 8 properties based on the surveys and PBCA observation. The revenues generated from the fines may only be used to improve the conditions at the property or finance tenant relocation. Lastly, the HAArequires HUD to submit a report to Congress detailing the capital reserves for Section 8 properties and how these funds are used for purposes other than maintenance and property improvement.