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February 1, 2017: NHLP Submits Comments on HUD's Draft RAD Resident Factsheets
On behalf of the National RAD Working Group, NHLP has submitted comments on HUD's draft RAD resident factsheets. These tenant educational materials have the potential to provide the necessary transparency surrounding the terms of the RAD conversion, which is currently lacking in many RAD jurisdictions nationwide. Our comments seek to make the factsheets more accessible and comprehensive in order to ensure adequate and meaningful tenant education and participation throughout the RAD conversion process.
January 12, 2017: NHLP Executive Director Shamus Roller along with NHLP Board Chair and Stanford Law Professor Michelle Anderson's op ed on Ben Carson's nomination to be HUD's new secretary.
Today, the Senate holds hearings to confirm Ben Carson as the Department of Housing and Urban Development's new secretary. Read the full article published in the Los Angeles Times.
January 9, 2017: NHLP and Partners Submit Comments on HUD's Proposed Enhanced Voucher Rule
Last month, NHLP submitted comments on HUD's proposed enhanced voucher rule in collaboration with of the Housing Justice Network, National Alliance of HUD Tenants, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, Community Legal Services (Philadelphia), Legal Aid Society (New York City), Housing Justice Center (St. Paul), and Legal Aid Service of Broward County, FL. The rights of enhanced voucher tenants are critical to protecting assisted tenants upon the occurrence of certain eligibility events, and were created by Congress in the 1990s in response to a growing number of HUD-subsidized and project-based Section 8 owners who had become eligible to prepay their subsidized mortgages or to terminate or not renew their contracts with HUD. Our comments seek to significantly strengthen and clarify HUD’s proposed rule, in light of existing federal statutes, regulations, HUD guidance regarding enhanced vouchers, court rulings, and advocates' varied experiences. Specifically, our comments discuss enhanced voucher tenants' right to remain, the importance of requiring an enhanced voucher lease addendum, the illegality of tenant rescreening when issuing enhanced vouchers, family eligibility for retroactive enhanced voucher assistance, calculating reasonable rents and minimum rents for enhanced vouchers, the importance of timely issuance of enhanced vouchers, calculating unit size, tenant notice of contract termination or expiration, the right to return after temporary rehabilitation, and the type of tenant-based vouchers in a Section 8(bb) transfer.
January 9, 2017: NHLP and HJN Submit Comments on New RAD Component 1 Civil Rights, Fair Housing, and Relocation Guidance
On behalf of the Housing Justice Network and in collaboration with many tenant advocacy partners nationwide, NHLP has submitted comments on the recently released, and greatly expanded, HUD guidance on the civil rights, fair housing, and relocation requirements for properties converting under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). While the guidance includes many positive improvements and strong protections for tenants, our comments indicate several areas where HUD must clarify and improve upon in order to ensure that the RAD fair housing, civil rights, and relocation requirements include the strongest long-term affordability protections, are used as key tools for tenant education and participation, and are publicly accessible for enforcement and transparency purposes.
January 3, 2017: HUD Confirms Process for Access to Public and Assisted Housing for VAWA Self-Petitioners
As a key part of VAWA, Congress in 1996 and 2003 gave battered immigrant spouses and children abused by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses or parents who had filed applications for immigration relief under VAWA access to public and assisted housing. HUD issued a memo on December 15, 2016 confirming that VAWA self-petitioners have access to public and assisted housing under Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act. Please stay tuned for a webinar by NHLP and the National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (NIWAP) in which we cover this new authority and other issues impacting the rights of immigrants to access federally assisted housing programs.
December 22, 2016: Richmond Adopts Fair Chance Housing Ordinance
On Tuesday, December 20, the Richmond City Council adopted the Fair Chance Access to Affordable Housing Ordinance. NHLP worked with the Safe Return Project, Reentry Success Center, Bay Area Legal Aid and the Dellums Institute for Social Change, among other partners, to draft a law that expands housing opportunities for people who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. Specifically, the Fair Chance Ordinance restricts the type of criminal activity that affordable housing providers can consider in the tenant screening process. In passing the ordinance, the City recognized the discriminatory effect of blanket bans on people of color. The ordinance will give individuals applicants with a criminal record a fair chance to live in permanent, safe housing. Richmond now joins a handful of cities across the country that have taken steps to support the successful reintegration of people exiting jails and prisons into the community. You can find the ordinance here.
December 19, 2016: NHLP Publishes the State Law Compendium: Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors (2016)
This Compendium compiles state and local laws that affect domestic violence survivors’ housing rights. It is designed to serve as a starting point for advocates seeking to conduct research on the housing protections that their state and local laws offer for domestic violence survivors. Examples of such protections include early lease termination provisions for domestic violence survivors, lock change laws, and affirmative defenses for evictions related to acts of domestic violence committed against a tenant.
December 2, 2016: NHLP’s Work with Policymakers Results in Strengthened Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors in the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016
In a big step toward protecting survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking against housing loss, Congress passed an amendment to VAWA 2013 as part of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 on December 1, 2016. NHLP provided key assistance to federal policymakers in drafting the amendment, which clarifies that lease bifurcations and post-lease bifurcation protections apply to both tenants and residents. Under VAWA 2013, a covered housing provider can decide to bifurcate a lease by removing a perpetrator from the lease and permitting the survivor to stay in the unit. If the survivor is not included on the housing assistance, then the survivor has the right to establish eligibility for the assistance, apply for another covered housing program, or find alternative housing. The amendment reflects Congress's intent to provide lease bifurcation safeguards for survivors who are living in federally assisted units covered by VAWA, but whose names do not appear on housing assistance contracts or leases because of the power and control of their abusers or due to issues related to immigration status. The bill is expected to be sent to the President for his signature.
November 15, 2016: CPUC Adopts Major Improvements to Low Income Energy Efficiency Program
On November 10, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a proposal to significantly increase energy efficiency opportunities for four million low-income Californians, reaching those in multifamily housing for the first time. A broad coalition of 19 organizations supported the proposal to enhance California’s Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) program, a move that could serve as a national model for easing the energy burden of low-income households, cutting energy waste, and reducing harmful pollution.
November 7, 2016: NHLP quoted in Wall Street Journal
In a Wall Street Journal article, NHLP describes the impact of the RAD program on low-income families and the many concerns that tenants experience during the RAD conversion process.
November 2, 2016: NHLP, along with its partners the Erie Family Health Center, Health Justice Project, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and public health experts, submitted comments to HUD on its proposed Lead Safe Housing Rule
On October 31, NHLP, along with its partners the Erie Family Health Center, Health Justice Project, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and public health experts, submitted comments to HUD on its proposed Lead Safe Housing Rule. The proposed rule will greatly improve HUD's approach to lead poisoning in federally assisted housing, although revisions must be made in the final rule to best protect children from the permanent physical and neurological effects of lead poisoning. Specifically, the comments request that HUD 1) mandate primary prevention practices that focus on identifying and remediating lead hazards before a child is poisoned; 2) increase enforcement, oversight, and reporting requirements to ensure lead-safety of federally assisted housing and alert the public to the location of lead hazards; 3) require client-centered services to prevent retaliation, remove language and cultural barriers, and increase accessibility for individuals experiencing disabilities; and 4) require the adoption of changes as expeditiously as possible to protect the greatest number of children from lead poisoning.
October 11, 2016: NHLP Expresses Concern Over Proposed Middle Income Housing Tax Credit
NHLP joins the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and other organizations in expressing serious concerns over S. 3384, the proposed Middle Income Housing Tax Credit Act introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
September 30, 2016: Governor Brown Signs Survivor Bill of Rights (SB 1150) Into Law
On September 29, Governor Brown signed into law SB 1150, a California bill to address the problems that arise when mortgage servicers refuse to work with homeowners who inherit property but who are not borrowers on the loan. These titled homeowners are often stonewalled by servicers that refuse to speak with them or to allow them to assume and modify the mortgage.
September 23, 2016: NHLP Attorneys Present Subsidized Housing Training at PLI
On Tuesday, September 27, NHLP Attorneys Jessica Cassella, Stephen Knight, Kent Qian, and Deborah Thrope will present Subsidized Housing Basics at the Practising Law Institute in San Francisco. The training will be available both live and via webcast. To register, please click here to choose between the two attendance options.
August 24, 2016: Assembly Approves Survivor Bill of Rights (SB 1150)
On August 22, the California Assembly voted in favor of SB 1150, a California bill to address the problems that arise when mortgage servicers refuse to work with homeowners who inherit property but who are not borrowers on the loan. These titled homeowners are often stonewalled by servicers that refuse to speak with them or to allow them to assume and modify the mortgage.
August 10, 2016: NHLP releases memo on families threatened by maturing mortgages in affordable housing
Tens of thousands of units in certain HUD properties are experiencing or facing mortgage maturity or the expiration of use restrictions or assistance. Unassisted tenants in these properties face the serious risk of a rent increase. For FYs 2015 and 2016, Congress has again targeted $5 million for tenant protection vouchers in each year to address this issue.
August 9, 2016: A $1 billion plan to provide integrated solar energy for low-income renters
NHLP joins the California Housing Partnership, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Brightline Defense Project, and the Natural Resources Defense Council sent comments to the California Public Utilities Commission regarding how to spend up to $1 billion from the state’s cap-and-trade tax to pay for solar energy systems to benefit low-income renters....
July 25, 2016: The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) is very pleased to announce the appointment of Shamus Roller as NHLP’s new Executive Director
Shamus Roller will join NHLP as Executive Director on November 1st. He comes to NHLP with expertise in executive leadership, strategic planning, fundraising, coalition building and policy development. Shamus will join NHLP as Executive Director on November 1, filling a vacancy left by Marcia Rosen, who retired in December 2015. He will work within a limited scope from now until November with Susan Stern, who will serve as Interim Executive Director.
His role at NHLP will follow his tenure as Executive Director of Housing California. Robert Pearman, Chairman of NHLP’s Board of Directors notes, “Shamus Roller is widely respected for his many accomplishments and illustrious track record. We are very excited that Shamus will take the helm at NHLP, a storied home of housing champions and great legal minds."
July 15, 2016: New Protections Proposed for Domestic Violence Survivors
Having worked closely with national allies in assisting Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office (D-NH) in developing this critical protection for survivors, NHLP is pleased to support a bill introduced on July 12 by the Senator that would amend the federal Fair Housing Act to explicitly include survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking as a protected class. A study found that more than 10% of all evictions and more than 25% of housing denials involved victims of domestic violence because of the crimes committed against them. “Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have so many obstacles to overcome – it’s unconscionable that women are removed from their homes and face repeated discrimination simply because of the heinous crimes committed against them,” said Senator Shaheen.
July 13, 2016: NHLP Attorneys presented at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association's Litigation and Advocacy Leaders' Conference
NHLP's Renee Williams, Karlo Ng, and Jessie Cassella recently presented at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association's Litigation and Advocacy Leaders' Conference, where they spoke to experienced and emerging civil legal aid practitioners from across the country. Their presentations explored: emerging issues in housing and domestic violence/ sexual assault, the future of public housing, and frameworks for building broad-based equitable remedies for systemic injustices.
July 11, 2016: Advocates Demand Stronger Lead Poisoning Prevention Strategies in Voucher-Assisted Housing
NHLP, the Shriver Center, and the Health Justice Project at Loyola University Chicago School of Law recently submitted joint comments to HUD to prioritize lead poisoning prevention in the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection protocol. Lead poisoning causes severe health concerns, such as significant biological and neurological damage affecting cognition, behavior, bodily functions, growth, and development. These concerns are especially dangerous for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) tenants, who reside in neighborhoods with high rates of lead poisoning where the housing stock predates prohibitions against the use of lead-based paint. More than one-fifth of children from the poorest neighborhoods, where HCV tenants often reside, have alarming levels of lead poisoning. These risks fall heavily on communities of color, who are disproportionately represented in federally assisted housing. For example, African American children are nearly three times more likely than Caucasian children to have highly elevated blood-lead levels and the associated damaging health outcomes. The joint comments request that HUD take a stronger, proactive stance to detect and abate lead before it causes significant, permanent health concerns among HCV tenants, especially in communities of color.
July 5, 2016: Protecting Tenants in Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Communities Nationwide (June 2016)
This webinar provides an overview of the RAD program and explores how legal services attorneys and tenant advocates can secure key RAD tenant rights at each major stage of a RAD conversion. The webinar also draws upon the experiences of tenant advocates in RAD-converting communities nationwide to provide lessons learned and examples of implementation challenges. Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.
June 14, 2016: June 2016 Foreclosure Newsletter Posted
The June newsletter contains an updated practice guide along with case summaries including Sciarratta, Renfroe, Daniels, and more.
June 6, 2016: NHLP Work on RAD Cited by Twin Cities Daily Planet
Last year, the National Housing Law Project (NHLP), an ally of tenants rights, drafted a memorandum to HUD highlighting a litany of tenant concerns. ... NHLP argued that the continued observance of tenants rights could possibly be weakened as, "RAD requirements are not in a permanent authorization statute."
June 3, 2016: Beginner's Guide to RAD Advocacy (June 2016)
NHLP has created an introductory guide for tenant advocates who are just starting to get involved in their local RAD conversion. This document, entitled the "Beginner's Guide to RAD Advocacy," provides a brief overview of the RAD program, information about the HUD RAD guiding documents, additional RAD resources provided by NHLP and HUD, tips on getting involved in local RAD conversions, and preliminary questions that tenant advocates should ask when first getting involved in RAD. For additional questions about RAD, please email RAD@nhlp.org.
May 2, 2016: Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2016 Introduced
Rep. Kuster (D-NH), recently introduced legislation entitled the Rural Housing
Rep. Kuster (D-NH), recently introduced legislation entitled the Rural Housing
Preservation Act of 2016.
April 13, 2016: NHLP and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issue report on benefits of housing authority consolidation
NHLP's Deborah Thrope is a co-author of this new report from our colleagues at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - "Consolidating Rental Assistance Administration Would Increase Efficiency and Expand Opportunity."
April 8, 2016: Guide to Utility Allowances Now Available
NHLP and California Housing Partnership have jointly published a guide to assist owners and advocates of affordable housing in understanding the implications of recent changes to federal program utility allowance requirements, and to provide tips for assessing whether utility allowance adjustments can be used as a resource to finance or pay back the costs of energy efficiency and renewable improvement projects.
March 23, 2016: New York City Media Covers NHLP's RAD Collaboration With Local Advocates
NHLP is quoted in this important article about the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, nationwide and in New York City. "The RAD program has the potential to address the chronic underfunding that has plagued public housing units nationwide for decades," writes Jessica Cassella, a fellow at the National Housing Law Project. "In order to meet this lofty goal, however, it is essential that public-housing authorities and housing developers collaborate in a meaningful way before and after RAD conversions with tenants and advocates to address the community's most pressing housing needs and secure long-term enforceable tenant rights." NHLP is pleased to be working with local housing advocates in New York City and around the country to ensure enforceable tenant protections under the RAD program.
March 16, 2016: New IRS Utility Allowance Rule Impacts Sub-Metering and Use of Energy Consumption Model
The IRS has released the final sub-metering rule for utility allowances in Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties. Sub-metering and utility allowances for sub-metered utility was initially approved under Notice 2009-44. IRS issued a proposed rule to codify actual-consumption sub-metering into the Code of Federal Regulations in 2012. This is the final rule as a result of that rulemaking process.
March 3, 2016: LA Times Covers NHLP Win in California Supreme Court
NHLP is quoted on this important win for homeowners challenging wrongful foreclosures. "California now joins other states where such challenges are allowed, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Texas," said Kent Qian, an attorney with the National Housing Law Project, who coauthored a brief supporting Yvanova's case.
March 2, 2016: NHLP RAD Advocacy Guide
NHLP recently created and released an advocacy guide focused exclusively on the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). This advocacy guide, entitled "An Advocate's Guide to Public Housing Conversions Under Component 1 of the Rental Assistance Demonstration," is designed to provide legal services attorneys and tenant advocates with information, guidance, model policies, and lessons learned from RAD conversions nationwide. Specifically, this advocacy guide provides an overview of the RAD program, including the various stages of a RAD conversion, and discusses ways for advocates to ensure the long-term affordability and enforceable rights of tenants in RAD properties at each stage of RAD conversion. For more information on the RAD program, please visit our RAD webpage here.
February 19, 2016: NHLP amicus victory in Yvanova v. New Century
On February 18, 2016, the California Supreme Court held that a borrower may challenge a foreclosure based on a void assignment of the note or deed of trust, even if she is not a party to the assignment. This is a decision of first impression in California.
February 16, 2016: Petition for Rulemaking Submitted
On February 11, 2016, NHLP joined with 30 other social and health justice organizations petitioning HUD to revise its lead-based paint policies, which must better protect families from lead-based paint poisoning in federally subsidized housing. The petition for rulemaking was a collaborative effort of medical providers, public health experts, civil rights organizations, and others. Please consider signing the petition to support this effort and call on HUD to improve lead poisoning prevention in the homes it funds with taxpayer dollars.
February 8, 2016: NHLP Seeks New Executive Director
NHLP is seeking a visionary leader who is passionately committed to its core values of advancing housing justice and safeguarding the right to decent, affordable homes. The next Executive Director will be an experienced forward thinker and bridge-builder, adding new exciting chapters onto NHLP’s storied history of landmark accomplishments in housing law.
January 28, 2016: New Utility Allowance Methodology in HUD Multifamily Properties in Effect
Notice H 2015-04 establishes a required methodology for calculating utility allowances. Starting December 18, 2015, owners must perform a new baseline utility analysis at their contract anniversary dates.
January 22, 2016: NHLP Amicus Victory at California Supreme Court for Homeowners
On January 21, the California Supreme Court unanimously held that California's anti-deficiency protections for purchase money loans applies to short sales, not just foreclosures. The court also held that a lender may not require a borrower to waive these protections in a short sale agreement.
January 8, 2016: New report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies – America’s Rental Housing: Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand
A new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies – America’s Rental Housing: Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand – highlights the now familiar trend of increasing affordability pressures facing renter households. As of 2014, just under half (49.3) of renters were housing cost burdened, spending more than 30 percent of income on housing costs. This share includes more than one-quarter (26.4 percent) of renters who were severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. The burden percentage rates remain near their peaks reached in 2011. In total, 21.3 million renters were cost burdened in 2014, 11.4 million severely so, both all-time high numbers.
January 7, 2016: NHLP has prepared and circulated this summary of HUD FY16 Preservation Provisions as enacted by Congress in December 2015.
Please contact us for more information.
December 29, 2015: A Message from Executive Director Marcia Rosen
“NHLP uniquely stands at the cross roads of housing and community development, legal services for the poor, and civil rights. It’s been my privilege to be part of an organization that has justice in its very bones.”
December 21, 2015: Significant Changes to RD Rental Assistance and Voucher Program Funding
The omnibus fiscal year 2016 appropriations act, officially titled the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, that was signed into law on December 18, makes critical funding and other changes to the Rural Development Rental Assistance (RA) and Voucher programs. It averts the displacement of tens of thousands of households by increasing funding for the RA program from the $1.167 billion that was previously proposed for this fiscal year to $1.390 billion. It eliminates the provision that prohibits RD from renewing RA contracts during their term and specifically authorizes $75 million to re-renew previously restricted contracts that are expected to exhaust their funding before their 12 month term is up.
November 6, 2015: NHLP's Jim Grow is Highlighted in Member Spotlight from Energy Conference
The 1st NEWHAB Annual Meeting was held in Minneapolis, MN on October 19th-20th. More than 100 NEWHAB members and allies from across the country met face to face to learn, share and connect. 10 attendees shared challenges they faced and peers offered feedback during the "Know how Show How." During "Getting Down to Work" sessions, attendees dove into discussions of technical topics.
November 4, 2015: NHLP Support Second Chances for Public Housing Applicants
NHLP's Deborah Thrope was quoted in today's Honolulu Civil Beat discussing the Hawaii Public Housing Authority's overly restrictive ban on applicants with prior evictions from state-assisted housing. NHLP supports the Housing Authority's proposed policy that would allow some tenants to re-apply but says that the best policy would be to consider the circumstances surrounding the individual applicant's prior rental history.
October 16, 2015: Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors Webinar
This presentation will provide an overview of two laws - the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Participants will learn about anti-discrimination rights of domestic violence survivors under VAWA 2013 and FHA as well as the obligations of landlords and housing owners under these laws. In addition, participants will be able to test their knowledge by responding to hypotheticals presented throughout the session and have an opportunity to pose questions.
October 14, 2015: State Law Compendium: Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors (2015)
NHLP is pleased to announce the release of the 2015 edition of “Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors: A State and Local Law Compendium.” This compendium, which is updated annually, is a compilation of state and local laws that provide important safeguards for survivors of domestic violence who seek to access and maintain housing. The updated compendium includes laws enacted as of April 2015. For a list of state laws that were enacted between April and October 2015, see the chart here.
October 13, 2015: Congressmember Waters Asks GAO to Review Impact of RAD on Public Housing Tenants
On October 7, 2015, Congressmember Maxine Waters submitted a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that the GAO review the impact of HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program on public housing tenants. Congressmember Waters' request for a GAO review seeks to ensure that tenants' rights are properly protected during and after RAD conversions and that RAD's reliance on private capital does not deplete the nation's stock of public housing. In her letter, Congressmember Waters also expressed concerns about the lack of transparency of RAD conversions and the potential risk of default and foreclosure of public housing properties.
October 9, 2015: Update on Rural Development Rental Assistance Funding for Fiscal Year 2016
Following up on our news post of Sept. 4, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) on September 30, providing funding to the federal government until December 11, 2015. The CR contains language granting Rural Development (RD) the right to waive the provision in the 2015 appropriations act that prohibits the renewal of Rental Assistance contracts during the 12 months term of such contracts. The CR also gives RD authority to spend a larger amount of money for Rental Assistance (RA) contracts during the term of the CR than a proportional amount of last year's funding. The agency should therefore be able to fund RA contracts that expired in August and September, as well as those that will need renewal between now and Dec. 11. RD has informed NHLP that they are working with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to get authority to spend the CR funding as soon as possible.
October 9, 2015: New California Energy Bills Aim to Include Low-Income Communities
This week Governor Jerry Brown signed several landmark bills to further California’s aggressive climate goals. These bills are notable for their inclusion of low-income communities and their potential to improve the quality of life of multifamily affordable housing tenants. NHLP is working to help ensure that the benefits promised by these bills reach low-income tenants.
October 2, 2015: Register Now for Upcoming NHLP Webinars!
Mark your calendars for two upcoming NHLP webinars on the housing rights of domestic violence survivors who are limited English proficient and the housing rights of survivors with disabilities.
October 1, 2015: Our own Senior Attorney Jim Grow is quoted in this Chicago Defender story: "HUD orders Chicago housing complex to correct security problems"
Housing advocates said this set up keeps HUD too far removed from problems facing tenants in properties like Concordia Place, even though HUD pays its owner $3.2 million each year in rent subsidies.
“HUD would say, take those problems to the contract administrator,” said James Grow, Deputy Director of the San Francisco-based National Housing Law Project. “But tenants don’t always know who the contract administrator is. So, in some ways, it’s disingenuous for HUD to say this without a much more robust information campaign [for residents].”
September 30, 2015: August-September Housing Law Bulletin Explains the Recent HUD Portability Rule
The August-September 2015 issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features an article that summarizes and analyzes HUD's long-awaited final portability rule. The rule, which went into effect on September 21, 2015, aims to streamline the portability process for housing authorities while lessening the burden on families who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program. The issue also includes summaries of recent housing cases, notices, and regulations.
September 24, 2015: Seattle Rent Control Resolution
In a move that could have significant implications for the duty to affirmative further fair housing, the City of Seattle has declared a Washington anti-rent control statute, RCW 35.21.830, to be an impediment to fair housing in the city, and urging the state to repeal or modify the statute. The statute is a broad and total preemption on municipal rent regulations and declares that “[n]o city or town of any class may enact, maintain, or enforce ordinances or other provisions which regulate the amount of rent to be charged for single-family or multiple-unit residential rental structures or sites…”
September 4, 2015: Advocate Alert: Rural Development Rental Housing Residents Facing Illegal Rent Increases!
Large numbers of very low-income residents of Rural Development (RD) rental (Section 515) and farm labor (Section 514) housing who receive Rental Assistance (RA) subsidies have gotten, or are about to get, 30-day notices of rent increases from their landlords.
August 5, 2015: NHLP's New Domestic Violence Webpage
NHLP's updated domestic violence and housing webpage includes VAWA 2013 implementation materials; an updated list of VAWA cases, and new resource packets.
July 31, 2015: June-July Bulletin Provides Updates Regarding USDA, HUD Responses to Mortgage Maturity
The June-July issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features two articles concerning how HUD and USDA are addressing the issue of mortgage maturity. Mortgage maturity, which results in the loss of affordability restrictions on subsidized units, can result in increased rent burdens for tenants or even displacement. Each article describes a recent notice, issued by HUD and USDA respectively, regarding maturing mortgages. The Bulletin also includes summaries of recent cases, notices, and regulations.
July 28, 2015: CA Real Property Journal publishes article by NHLP attorney on "Widows & Orphans" obtaining meaningful access to foreclosure alternatives
An article by former NHLP staff attorney Brittany McCormick was recently published in the California Real Property Journal. "The 'Widows & Orphans' Problem: The Improper Exclusion of Successors-in-Interest from the Loss Mitigation Process" explores the problems that arise when mortgage servicers refuses to work with homeowners who inherit property or receive it as part of a divorce settlement, but who are not borrowers on the mortgage note. When these titled homeowners seek loan modifications or foreclosure alternatives, they are often stonewalled by servicers that refuse to speak with them or to allow them to assume and modify the mortgage. The article traces the history of mortgage assumptions and acceleration clauses and reviews industry guidance governing how servicers should treat successors-in-interest.
July 24, 2015: NHLP, Memo: RAD - Long-Term Affordability (July 2015)
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a review and analysis of the long-term affordability provisions of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Pursuant to RAD, 185,000 units of federally-subsidized public housing are being leveraged in the private market. Appropriate monitoring and regulation of the new ownership entities will be necessary to help ensure the long-term affordability of the converted former public housing units.
July 16, 2015: Governor Brown Signs Into Law Bill Strengthening Housing Protections for Survivors
On July 13, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law AB 418, a bill co-sponsored by NHLP, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. AB 418 amends California's early lease termination law for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, and elder/dependent adult abuse by lifting the sunset provision on third-party documentation and reducing the notice period from 30 days to 14 days. Therefore, survivors ending their leases to escape violence will permanently have the option to use qualified third-party documentation to prove the abuse committed against them to a landlord or housing owner. In addition, survivors will be able to terminate their leases in 14 days and will only be responsible for rent for those 14 days without penalty.
June 16, 2015: Developers can be required to include affordable housing, California high court rules
Citing an affordable housing crisis of “epic proportions,” the California Supreme Court made it easier Monday for cities and counties to require developers to sell some housing at below-market rates.
June 10, 2015: Ranking Minority member David Price denounced the Majority’s profoundly misguided and flawed budget policy
In a statement on the House's June 9 passage of HR2577, Ranking Minority member David Price denounced the "Majority’s profoundly misguided and flawed budget policy, a policy that has left this bill a mere shadow of what it should be and that has decimated the investments a great country should be making.... Make no mistake: our public housing resources don’t meet the basic needs of millions of vulnerable and low-income Americans."
June 8, 2015: US Catholic Bishops slam Congress for "shameful" and "callous" cuts to housing programs
With a housing crisis facing the country, what do you suppose our Congress has done? Unbelievably, the plan in the House of Representatives is to slash and gut programs for people without homes and in need of other forms of assistance. In its current form, the proposed appropriation legislation would completely eliminate funding for the National Housing Trust Fund—a fund founded to support the construction of essential housing for those at risk for homelessness. The legislation would also cut $900 million in 2015 and $767 million in 2016 from housing grants to state and local governments. It’s hard to imagine something more shameful or more callous.
May 26, 2015: NHLP Conducts VAWA Webinar to Hundreds
On May 21, 2015, over 470 participants attended NHLP's webinar on HUD's proposed rule implementing the housing provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Attendees included victim service providers, legal services attorneys, staff of public housing authorities as well as federal, state, and local government agencies.
May 21, 2015: NHLP Amicus Success in Ninth Circuit (Kuns v Ocwen)
California’s anti-deficiency statute prohibits a creditor from collecting a deficiency following a foreclosure in a number of situations, but the district court held that the servicer may still report the deficiency on the consumer’s credit report.
May 19, 2015: NHLP's, James Grow selected as a recipient of a Legal Aid Association of California 2015 Award of Merit! Congratulations!
LAAC's Awards of Merit are the legal services community's opportunity to recognize the importance of legal services and to honor a few of the many who have made contributions to the field during the last year. LAAC has received an amazing collection of nominations this year and Jim was selected from many very impressive nominees. LAAC is thrilled to recognize Jim as one of 2015's winners in the attorney category. The Awards will be presented at this year's Pathways to Justice Conference in Los Angeles. The Conference is June 10th and 11th and the Awards ceremony and reception will take place on the afternoon of the 10th at 4pm.
May 13, 2015: Upcoming Webinar - HUD’s Proposed Rule Implementing VAWA 2013 (Register Now)
On April 1, 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule regarding the implementation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013). VAWA 2013 features expanded protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who are accessing and maintaining federally subsidized housing, including HUD programs. The proposed rule amends a series of HUD regulations that govern the HUD programs covered by VAWA 2013. The rule further offers a model emergency transfer plan, a VAWA housing rights notice, and a VAWA self-certification form to be used by survivors across all HUD programs. This webinar will provide a summary and an analysis of key parts of the proposed rule.
May 13, 2015: April-May Bulletin Provides In-Depth Overview of Recent Sexual Harassment Theory and Litigation Involving Housing
Low-income women are at particularly high risk for sexual harassment by housing providers because they often have limited housing choices and face difficulties leaving unsafe housing situations. Tenants who participate in subsidized housing programs may also fear losing crucial housing assistance if they refuse to endure a landlord’s harassing behavior. The April-May issue of the Housing Law Bulletin describes the legal framework of sexual harassment claims brought under the Fair Housing Act, analyzes recent DOJ complaints that settled out of court, and summarizes two recent cases resulting in HUD fair housing discrimination charges.
May 11, 2015: Working with Immigrants: The Intersection of Basic Immigration, Housing, and Domestic Violence Issues in California 2015 (Free)
Do you need to learn about the intersection of immigration, domestic violence and housing? Hear NHLP's Karlo Ng speaking Tuesday at the Practicing Law Institute.
April 24, 2015: California Department of Justice and NHLP help borrowers facing illegal foreclosures
This week the California Department of Justice filed an amicus at the state Supreme Court in the Yvanova case agreeing with the position taken by NHLP in its amicus that borrowers can defend against the illegal foreclosure of their homes.
April 17, 2015: UC Hastings magazine talks with NHLP Executive Director Marcia Rosen in "New Visions for Solving the Bay Area's Housing Crunch."
Public interest lawyers have had a beneficial impact on protecting tenants and improving housing conditions for the city's vulnerable communities. UC Hastings magazine talks with NHLP Executive Director Marcia Rosen in "New Visions for Solving the Bay Area's Housing Crunch." (p.30)
April 1, 2015: HUD Issues Proposed VAWA 2013 Rule
On April 1, 2015, HUD published its proposed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) rule in the Federal Register. VAWA 2013 features expanded protections in federally subsidized housing programs, including HUD housing programs, to ensure that survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking can access safe, affordable housing. The proposed rule amends a series of HUD regulations that govern the HUD programs covered by VAWA 2013.
March 31, 2015: March Bulletin Updates Advocates on Recent Energy Developments, HUD Notices Clarifying and Implementing the Equal Access Rule, and a Finalized Public Housing Garbage Collection Settlement in LA
The March issue of the Housing Law Bulletin summarizes several key developments in energy policy as it relates to affordable housing, including the White House's Fiscal Year 2016 Multifamily Energy Conservation Demonstration Proposal, Pay for Success energy improvements legislation, and California's Public Utilities Commission's approval of the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Benefit. The Bulletin also updates advocates on recent HUD notices clarifying and implementing the Equal Access Housing in HUD Programs, Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity rule. Finally, the Bulletin describes the finalized $3.3 million settlement in the Galindo litigation, where the Housing Authority of LA wrongfully charged public housing tenants trash collection fees for years.
March 24, 2015: CA Assembly Judiciary Commitee unanimously passed Safe Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors Bill, AB 418
For those who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse, the ability to flee a dangerous situation could mean life or death. Today the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed AB 418, co-sponsored by NHLP, that will allow survivors of domestic violence to terminate a lease in order to move to safer housing and decrease the survivor’s remaining rent obligation to 14 days from the current 30.
March 17, 2015: California Legal Advocacy Organizations Submitted Comments on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Proposed Mortgage Servicing Rules
NHLP, Housing & Economic Rights Advocates, California Reinvestment Coalition, Public Counsel, and 10 other California legal advocacy organizations submitted comments on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed mortgage servicing rules. Our comments and suggestions focus on the continuing "widows and orphans" issue, servicing transfers, and other proposed changes and additions that will affect homeowners and successors-in-interest who inherit or take title to property through divorce. The CFPB will likely finalize the rules later this year.
February 27, 2015: February Bulletin Outlines the Obama Administration's Proposed FY 2016 Budget for HUD and Rural Housing Service programs, Provides an In-Depth Review of Tenant Recertification in Extenuating Circumstances, and more...
The February issue of the Housing Law Bulletin explains the White Houses's proposed budget for HUD and Rural Housing Service (RHS) programs in fiscal year 2016, using the National Low Income Housing Coalition's Memos to Members. The Bulletin also provides guidance to advocates representing tenants who failed to timely recertify income or family composition because of extenuating circumstances. Finally, this issue provides a national survey of state and local protections for tenants in foreclosure -- critical protections for advocates to consider now that the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act has expired.
February 19, 2015: NHLP Applauds Introduction of California Bill to Extend Homeowner Rights to Widowed Spouses, Heirs
Legislative fix would help grieving homeowners working with mortgage servicers...
February 9, 2015: NHLP is thrilled to be the recipient of a 2015 Ralph Abascal Fellowship
We are honored to announce that NHLP is the recipient of a 2015 Ralph Abascal Fellowship from UC Hastings. Jessica Cassella will be joining us full-time in the fall. We are tremendously excited about working with her to ensure that public housing residents have a voice and that their rights are protected as public housing authorities in San Francisco and around the country participate in a new HUD program, Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), designed to transform public housing.
February 4, 2015: State and Local Tenant Protections Page Updated
Even before the enactment of the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, state and local governments had turned their attention to tenants’ rights after foreclosure. Since the PTFA does not preempt state or local laws that provide greater protections to tenants, many states have continued to legislate substantial additional protections for tenants. After the PTFA expired at the end of 2014, these state and local laws become the main protections for tenants after foreclosure.
February 4, 2015: NHLP Attorney Kent Qian to Speak in Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Webinar
The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), which offered important protections to tenants in residential property subject to foreclosure, expired at the end of 2014. Housing advocates are invited to join us for a free webinar to discuss strategies to protect tenants post-PTFA.
January 31, 2015: January Bulletin Explains HUD and Rural Housing Service Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015, Warns Advocates about Maturing RHS Mortgages, and Provides Guidance on Requesting Reasonable Accommodations in Mortgage Servicing
The January issue of the Housing Law Bulletin explains the HUD and Rural Housing Service (RHS) appropriations for fiscal year 2015, using the National Low Income Housing Coalition's Memo to Members and accompanying budget chart. It also provides guidance to advocates representing borrowers who experience disabilities in requesting reasonable accommodations from the mortgage servicers. Finally, the Bulletin warns advocates of the impending mortgage maturity crisis in rural housing, and provides an example of effective advocacy involving an Oregon property.
January 29, 2015: SUMMER 2015 INTERNSHIP
NHLP is committed to training and nurturing law students who are making a commitment to careers in the public interest and we offer a supportive and rewarding experience. Our attorneys provide supervision, training, and unique work opportunities in the multi-faceted area of housing law and policy. Because our housing work extends out into other areas—domestic violence, predatory lending, racial discrimination, public health, equal access — we offer a broad and dynamic arena in which to learn and grow. Several recent NHLP summer interns have returned to our organization as two-year fellows supported by Equal Justice Works or New Voices.
January 29, 2015: NHLP Welcomes Stephen Knight, Supervising Attorney
NHLP is happy to announce that Stephen Knight has joined us as Supervising Attorney. A seasoned public interest lawyer with a background in immigration and environmental issues, Stephen now brings his skills and passion for justice to NHLP. With us for just a few weeks, Stephen has jumped right in on preservation, energy, and voucher and other policy issues. We are delighted to have him onboard.
January 21, 2015: HUD Clarifies Owners' Discretion on Marijuana Use in Multifamily Assisted Properties
HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs recently issued a Memorandum entitled "Use of Marijuana in Multifamily Assisted Properties," reiterating the legal obligations that owners of federally assisted housing have regarding tenant use of marijuana. The memo clarifies that owners retain the discretion whether to evict current tenants for using marijuana, taking note of the context that some states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes and others have begun to legalize marijuana more broadly.
January 15, 2015: NHLP Update on FY 2015 Affordable Housing Preservation Provisions
NHLP has produced this memo detailing the affordable housing preservation provisions of Congress's FY 2015 budget, including Rental Assistance Demonstration project, Tenant Protection Vouchers and more. Read more
January 9, 2015: Details of FY15 Appropriations Bill Passed and Signed in December
In mid-December, the House and Senate passed a broad Fiscal Year 2015 funding bill, which President Barack Obama signed on December 16. The Act provides generally flat funding for HUD and RD, including $17.486 billion for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, and $1.975 billion and $4.440 billion for the Capital and Operating Funds, respectively. The Act expands and extends the Rental Assistance Demonstration, tripling to 185,000 the number of public housing units that can convert under the Administration’s preservation program.
December 16, 2014: NHLP and HJN Submit Comments on HUD's Demolition and Disposition of Public Housing Proposed Rule
On December 15, 2014, NHLP and the Housing Justice Network, submitted comments on HUD's long-awaited proposed rule on the demolition and disposition of public housing. The comments, a joint effort by the HJN working group, focused on resident participation requirements, resident relocation, unit replacements, and civil rights requirements, along with other issues that address the preservation of the nation's public housing stock. You can read the comments here.
December 12, 2014: Federal Housing Finance Agency Funds the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund.
On December 11, 2014 Director Mel Watt of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allocate funds to the Housing Trust and Capital Magnet Fund as required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. An estimated $350 to $500 million will be allocated to the Housing Trust and Capital Magnet fund in its first year.
December 5, 2014: November/December Bulletin Breaks Down the Essential Points of HUD's Proposed Demo-Dispo Rule, Updates Advocates on Ongoing Litigation Threatening Disparate Impact Theory, and Surveys 2014 State Landlord-Tenant Legislation
The November/December issue of the Housing Law Bulletin examines HUD's proposed Demolition-Disposition Rule, informing advocates of its essential points and analyzing its strengths and potential weaknesses.
November 26, 2014: NHLP Submits Comments on the AFFH Draft Assessment Tool
On November 25, 2014, the National Housing Law Project and thirteen organizations submitted comments to HUD concerning the draft Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Assessment Tool. NHLP and the signatory organizations expressed strong support for HUD's progress toward implementation of a final AFFH regulation, which includes the Tool. These comments also detailed areas where the Tool must be improved. Read more.
November 13, 2014: NHLP Board Member and Stanford Professor Michelle Anderson’s op ed on lessons learned from municipal bankruptcies
There were bittersweet tears Friday in Detroit, and last month in Stockton, after bankruptcy judges approved both cities’ plans to restructure their debts. What should we learn from the two largest city bankruptcies in U.S. history? Read Full Article
November 12, 2014: CBPP Report Recommends Lifting the RAD Cap to Preserve Developments for Seniors, People With Disabilities, and Families With Children
A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recommends to Congress to: (1) include the Senate Appropriations bill that raises the RAD unit conversion cap from 60,000 to 185,000 units, (2) provide $10 million to fund incremental RAD subsidies, and (3) allow HUD to accept public housing applications for RAD until September 2018.
November 4, 2014: NHLP’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) website is now live!
NHLP’s new RAD website provides a variety of key source documents, resources, and advocacy tools designed to help residents and advocates understand HUD’s RAD program and maximize key tenant protections in local RAD programs.
November 4, 2014: Federal Suit Challenges Landlord's Criminal Records Ban As FHA Violation
On October 30, 2014 the Fortune Society filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York challenging a landlord’s blanket ban on renting apartments to people with criminal records, regardless of the conviction.
October 30, 2014: October Bulletin Dissects HUD's Proposed AFFH Assessment Tool, Updates Advocates on Major Garbage Collection, Domestic Violence, and Reverse Mortgage Litigation
The October issue of the Housing Law Bulletin delves into the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool, advising advocates of its specific provisions and potential shortcomings. The Bulletin also includes updates on important cases including a significant garbage collection suit against HACLA, a suit challenging a local nuisance ordinance that discriminated against domestic violence survivors, and the ongoing reverse mortgage litigation against HUD. A Questions Corner segment explains a new HUD Notice that grants tenant organizations in HUD Multi-Family Housing a new appeal procedure.
October 22, 2014: SF to Defend Tenant Relocation Law in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
San Francisco is defending a progressive tenant relocation law challenged by landlords represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation. NHLP joined other tenant and housing organizations in an amicus brief filed with the District Court. The challenged ordinance, which requires landlords to pay certain displaced tenants a relocation benefit calculated to compensate them for the difference between their rent before displacement and the cost of a comparable unit for a period of two years, was declared unconstitutional by the District Court and has been appealed by the City.
October 3, 2014: Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles to Pay $3.3 Million for Settlement of Lawsuit Brought by Public Housing Residents
Los Angeles, CA, October 2, 2014 - In a case where NHLP served as co-counsel, Federal District Judge George H. Wu entered a preliminary approval order today for a $3.3 million settlement between public housing residents and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.
October 3, 2014: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
On September 30, 2014, President Obama marked the beginning of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by noting that almost two-thirds of Americans 15-years-old or older know a domestic violence or sexual assault survivor, and that three women are killed as the result of domestic violence homicide each day.
September 30, 2014: September Bulletin Discusses RHS Housing Preservation and Eviction Defense, PIH Notice Regarding Equal Access Rule
The September issue of the Housing Law Bulletin provides an overview of a recent Unnumbered Letter (UL) issued by the Rural Housing Service (RHS); this UL will have the impact of slowing affordable rental housing preservation efforts.
September 15, 2014: NHLP Webinar: Prepayments, Maturing Mortgages, and Foreclosures: Protecting Seniors and Others from Rural Development Rental Housing Displacement
Join NHLP on October 21, for a free 90-minute webinar on how to protect residents of USDA rental housing from displacement when USDA Rural Development (RD) rental housing loans end due to prepayment, loan maturity, or foreclosure. In each situation, residents (including those who live in farm labor housing) may be threatened with displacement.
September 11, 2014: NHLP Conducts VAWA Webinar to Record Crowd
Attendees included victim service providers, legal services attorneys, staff of public housing authorities as well as federal, state, and local government agencies.
September 9th, 2014: NHLP Submits Comments on HUD's Proposed Consortia Rule
NHLP submitted comments today on HUD's proposed consortia rule on behalf of Housing Justice Network member agencies.
August 27, 2014: California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) Issues Guidance for Use of California Utility Allowance Calculator on Existing LIHTC Properties
On August 27, 2014, TCAC issued revised guidance to allow existing LIHTC properties with photovoltaic (PV) system installation through the California Solar Initiative MASH Program to calculate tenant utility allowances based on the California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC), an energy consumption model for tenant-metered properties.
August Bulletin Discusses Reverse Mortgages, Recent Settlements
The August issue of the Housing Law Bulletin provides an overview of recent legal developments concerning the issue of surviving spouses of reverse mortgage borrowers. Additionally, the Bulletin discusses how NHLP helped preserve a Rural Housing Service development in Paso Robles, California. Furthermore, this issue discusses recent settlements: the first between HUD and a domestic violence survivor who was denied housing because of the abuse committed against her, and the second between the Department of Justice and a California housing provider that banned children from playing in the common grassy areas of the property. The issue also includes brief updates on implementation surrounding the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Finally, the issue features summaries of recent cases, regulations, and notices.
August 20, 2014: CPUC Adopts Recommendations to Facilitate Energy-Efficiency Improvements for Affordable Rental Housing
On August 14, 2014 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously adopted several key recommendations in their final decision that will enable greater utilization by multifamily buildings in the Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) Program for the upcoming 2015-2017 program cycle. Funded by investor-owned utilities (IOUs), ESA is an assistance program providing over $1 billion annually for certain energy-saving improvements in dwelling units occupied by low-income consumers... READ MORE
August 19, 2014: RD Revises VAWA Implementation in Response to NHLP Advocacy
On February 10, 2014, Rural Development (RD) issued an Administrative Notice (AN) to implement the 2013 amendments to the Violence Against Women Act. AN 4747 (1944-N). In June 2014, the National Housing Law Project, joined by 25 other organizations, sent a letter to the RD Housing Administrator advising him that there were some significant errors and omissions in the Administrative Notice and requesting that the agency correct them and republish the AN. On August 6, the agency responded to NHLP stating that it will republish the AN and will include all but one of the recommendations made in the letter. A copy of the letter to RD and its response are attached... READ MORE
August 12, 2014: California Court of Appeal Agrees with NHLP Amicus Brief in Finding Duty of Care in Loan Modification Process
In Alvarez v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, NHLP, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, and the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization submitted an amicus brief in support of a homeowner who was improperly denied a loan modification by Bank of America. In finding that a loan servicer such as Bank of America must properly handle modification applications once it begins the review process, the Court’s opinion quotes from NHLP’s amicus brief to highlight the vulnerable position borrowers find themselves in while navigating servicers' loan modification requirements.
2014 Supplement Sale update:
NHLP's 2014 Supplement will soon be heading to the printing press! We're working hard to provide you with the best possible publication and plan to ship out in September. We thank you for your patience and your support.
Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Survey
In response to the growing interest and questions about HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), NHLP seeks to provide low-income housing advocates with information and helpful resources about RAD. Your responses to this survey will help NHLP assess which RAD topics and resources will be most useful to advocates. Our goal is to meet advocates’ needs for technical assistance and supportive policy advocacy. Please click here to take our survey!
July Bulletin Explores Effective Communications for Disabled Tenants, Mortgage Maturity
The July issue of the Housing Law Bulletin provides an overview of reasonable accommodations law, with a specific focus on providing effective communications for blind and deaf tenants participating in federally subsidized housing programs. Additionally, the Bulletin includes a primer for advocates seeking to learn more about mortgage maturity--particularly the potential impact on tenants, as well as existing protections for tenants living in affected properties. This month's Questions Corner tackles the question of whether an automatic bankruptcy stay applies to Housing Choice Voucher tenants facing termination. Finally, the Bulletin features summaries of recent cases, regulations, and notices.
July 14, 2014: HBOR Collaborative’s June PLI Training Now Free Online; MCLE Credit Available
On June 16, 2014 the HBOR Collaborative (NHLP, National Consumer Law Center, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and Tenants Together) conducted a day-long training at Practicing Law Institute in San Francisco. Topics included the basics of HBOR and the new CFPB mortgage servicing rules, litigating loan modification misconduct claims and foreclosure cases, eviction defense after foreclosure, tenants’ rights in foreclosure, and loan modification basics. Faculty included members of the Collaborative and members of the private bar. For the next year, a recording of the training and its materials are available for free, through PLI’s website. Participants may receive up to 6.25 hours of MCLE credit.
June Bulletin Highlights TILA Circuit Split, Advocacy Tips to Increase PHA Voucher Spending
The June Housing Law Bulletin describes and analyzes a federal circuit split concerning the exercise of rescission rights under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). The issue also summarizes a recent HUD conciliation agreement reached with a housing provider to ensure deaf and hard of hearing individuals are not discriminated against on the rental housing market. Additionally, this issue includes tips for advocates seeking to encourage local housing authorities to increase Housing Choice Voucher spending, and explains why increased spending is so important. Additionally, the Bulletin features summaries of recent cases, regulations, and notices.
Bulletin Subscribers can access the bulletin here!
June 30, 2014: Updated State Law Compendium on Survivors’ Housing Rights
NHLP is pleased to announce the release of the 2014 edition of “Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors: A State and Local Law Compendium.” This compendium, which is updated annually, is a compilation of state and local laws that provide important safeguards for survivors of domestic violence who seek to access and maintain housing. The updated compendium includes over 100 pages of new information. It is designed to serve as a starting point for advocates conducting research on the housing protections that their state and local laws offer survivors... Read More
June 25, 2014: Tenant Protections Available for Expiring HUD Properties
Some HUD properties are facing expiring mortgages and use restrictions, which might result in rent increases for unassisted tenants. For properties expiring through September 30th, 2014, Congress has provided $5 million for tenant protection vouchers, as sought by allied organizations including the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, the Chicago Housing Initiative, and other members of the National Preservation Working Group, including NHLP. These tenant protections may be used as either enhanced vouchers or Project-Based Vouchers, which would provide deeper affordability for current tenants and preserve affordability for future tenants. HUD recently issued Notice HUD 2014-13 outlining the criteria for distributing funds, which should provide protections for 500-700 tenant households nationwide. There is no application deadline, but funds will be available only until exhausted. To enable advocates to perform local needs assessments, NHLP has prepared an explanatory memo and a list of 340 potentially eligible projects from HUD data.
June 9, 2014: NHLP Staff Attorney Renee Williams Quoted on Lack of Language Access to Affordable Housing
An article in today's Columbus Dispatch quoted NHLP Staff Attorney Renee Williams, in which Renee discussed the systemic issue of housing authorities not adequately addressing the needs of limited English proficient clients. "'Some housing authorities don’t have limited-English-proficiency plans in place, and even those that have great plans on paper often have problems with execution,' Williams said." Renee provided broader context to the Columbus-based story in which the author describes advocacy efforts to ensure the housing authority increases translation of vital documents, as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal guidance.
June 3, 2014: NHLP hosts housing law training for Bay Area public interest clerks
On Tuesday, June 3, NHLP hosted a full-day housing law training for summer clerks practicing public interest law throughout the Bay Area. Over 35 clerks attended the event at Hastings College of the Law. NHLP staff provided an overview of federal housing programs and introduced clerks to important tenants’ rights in federally subsidized housing. You can find the materials from the training here!
May 13, 2014: Staff Attorney Deborah Thrope to speak at Housing and Development Law Institute on May 15th
On May 15, 2014, staff attorney Deborah Thrope will present her research on state law barriers to PHA consolidation at the Housing and Development Law Institute conference in Washington, D.C. The paper, written in conjunction with Barbara Sard from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, provides an overview of various forms of PHA consolidation, explains their benefits to various stakeholders, and discusses state enabling laws for consortia and regional PHAs. The paper concludes with proposed strategies to reduce or eliminate these state law barriers to facilitate PHA consolidation for greater efficiency and enhanced voucher mobility.
April/May Housing Law Bulletin Discusses Settlement Obtained by DV Survivor, GAO Study
The April/May issue of the Housing Law Bulletin provides an overview of a conciliation agreement reached between a domestic violence survivor and a property management company. The company refused to rent to the survivor because she would not disclose the Social Security Numbers of her minor children for safety reasons. The Bulletin also features two articles regarding access to federal housing programs for limited English proficient (LEP) persons. Read more.
April 16, 2014: NHLP on SocialWorkDegree.Net's List of Indispensable Fair Housing Resources
NHLP is featured in this comprehensive new collection of online resources for fighting housing discrimination. Aimed at social workers, the list does an excellent job of amassing informative sites that address housing issues from many angles.
March Bulletin Examines the President's FY 2015 Budget Request, RD VAWA 2013 Notice
The March 2014 issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features two articles focusing on the Obama Administration's FY 2015 budget request and its implications for federal affordable housing programs. The first article outlines the funding amounts requested for various HUD programs, while the second assesses the potential impact of the budget request on USDA Rural Housing Service programs. The Bulletin also examines Rural Development's recently-issued notice regarding VAWA 2013 implementation. This month's Questions Corner addresses the topic of bed bugs, and outlines what advocates should consider when a client faces this increasingly common issue. The Bulletin also includes summaries of recent cases, notices, and regulations.
March 13, 2014: Lowest Income Seniors and Disabled Households Will be Affected By RD Minimum Rent Requirement
The President’s 2015 Budget seeks to impose a $50 per month minimum rent on tenants living in USDA Rural Development (RD) financed Section 515 Rural Rental Housing and Section 514 and 516 Farm Labor Housing. This will only impact extremely low-income households with adjusted annual incomes of less than $2,000. These are the absolute poorest households residing in RD housing. They typically do not have a regular source of income. Read more.
March 6, 2014: NHLP Joins 80 Organizations In Asking Government to Address Investor Cash Flooding into Neighborhoods
NHLP has signed on to a letter drafted by Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) and California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC) asking federal regulators to address the trend of “Real Estate Owned” (REO) properties. Wall Street investment companies and large cash investors are purchasing single-family homes, oftentimes in economically distressed neighborhoods, outbidding first-time homebuyers who cannot put up the same sums of cash, and displacing tenants. Read more.
February 25, 2014: NHLP joins Amicus Brief Defending Disparate Impact Regulation
On February 10, NHLP joined five other civil rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in American Insurance Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't of Hous. and Urban Dev. Plaintiffs in this action challenge the validity of HUD's Disparate Impact Regulation, which was issued in early 2013. Amici filed in support of HUD's motion for summary judgment. Read more.
February Bulletin Provides In-Depth Coverage of FY 2014 Appropriations, Anti-Immigration Housing Ordinances
The February issue of the Housing Law Bulletin includes two articles examining the impact of the FY 2014 appropriations on federal affordable housing program funding. The first article focuses on HUD programs, while the second summarizes FY 2014 funding for Rural Housing Service programs. Additionally, this month's Bulletin features an extensive overview of three federal circuit court opinions concerning anti-immigrant rental housing ordinances. The issue also contains summaries of recent cases, notices, and regulations.
February 7, 2014: Sixth Circuit Rules Tenants May Enforce PTFA with State Law Causes of Action in Case with NHLP Amicus Brief
In Mik v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., NHLP, Public Justice Center, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty submitted an amicus brief in support of tenants who were evicted from their home after the homeowners lost the property to foreclosure. The court agreed with amici that the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PFTA) preempts conflicting state law. And while the PTFA does not grant tenants a private right of action, tenants may still use PTFA violations to establish offensive state law claims. The Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of tenant’s wrongful eviction claim based on PTFA violations. Read the opinion here.
January 30, 2014: NHLP Urges USDA to Strengthen Nondiscrimination Proposed Rule
On January 27, 2014, NHLP submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concerning the agency’s proposed changes to certain nondiscrimination regulations. NHLP co-authored the comments with the National Fair Housing Alliance. The proposed rule would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in USDA’s federally-conducted programs. Read more.
January 24, 2014: Preservation of Affordable Housing as Represented in the New U.S. Budget
The recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Pub. L. No. 113-76, Jan. 17, 2014) contains several provisions affecting preservation of affordable housing and protecting tenants. These include funding levels for project-based Section 8 and tenant protection vouchers, as well as several important policies extending authority for preserving properties with expiring assistance contracts under now-dormant HUD rental assistance programs, extending tenant protections for mortgage maturity and addressing troubled properties. NHLP has prepared a summary of these preservation provisions, including a brief description of each provision and the related statutory text and citations for ready reference.
January Bulletin Discusses Enjoined RHS Foreclosure, Tenant Protection Policies
The January issue of the Housing Law Bulletin includes coverage of a federal district court’s recent decision to enjoin an RHS foreclosure. Additionally, the issue covers tenant protection policies for properties with expiring restrictions; a California agency’s decision to continue rental assistance for certain RHS residents; and a brief summary of the Mount Holly settlement. This month’s Questions Corner provides a brief overview of the new CFPB mortgage servicing rules. The issue also includes summaries of recent cases, notices, and regulations. Additionally, the January issue contains an index that lists cases summarized or otherwise covered by the Bulletin in 2013.
January 6, 2014: NHLP Receives Cy Pres from Mortgage Servicing Litigation
NHLP was the recent recipient of a cy pres distribution arising from settlement of the class action Carducci v. Wachovia Bank, Wells Fargo & Co., et al., which was litigated in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs, represented by The Arns Firm of San Francisco, brought suit against Wells Fargo and the former Wachovia Bank because certain mortgage holders were charged late fees for timely payments made on the last day of their “grace period” due dates. Federal law requires that home mortgage payments be credited on the date they are made. The settlement for the class of mortgage holders from throughout the country included refunding of all late payment fees with interest. NHLP will use the cy pres award funds to support its existing work on behalf of homeowners affected by lending improprieties and foreclosures.
December 25, 2013: NHLP Attorney, Karlo Ng, Quoted by NPR on CA Law to Help Domestic Abuse Victims Escape Violence
"There isn't enough ... translation and interpretation resources available for folks so that access is ... equal, regardless of whether you speak English," Ng says in an article on the NPR website. The article covers the new California law, which takes effect Jan. 1, which will allow domestic violence victims to give their landlords a simple form as proof that they have been abused.
December 17, 2013: NHLP Signs on to Amicus Brief in a Case That Threatens Subsidized Tenants' Rights in Maryland
NHLP joined Public Justice Center and other tenants rights groups to submit an amicus brief in support of a low-income tenant in Grady Management, Inc. v. Epps. The case could affect the rights of subsidized tenants all over Maryland. Read more.
December 12, 2013: NHLP Staff Attorney Quoted In RH Reality Check Article on Budget Sequestration
NHLP Attorney Karlo Ng shared her expertise on how sequestration affects domestic violence survivors in a recent article in RH Reality Check, an online publication covering reproductive and sexual health issues: “While the impact of the sequestration has manifested slowly, [it is clear there could be] a potential adverse impact that the sequester would have on already underfunded domestic violence programs, such as shelters for survivors.” The full article goes into detail about how the sequestration cuts created by the 2011 Budget Control act could impact low-income women escaping domestic violence and refers to NHLP resources on laws protecting the housing rights of survivors.
December 4, 2013: This American Life Episode Highlights Both The History and Current Reality of the Fair Housing Act
On November 22nd, National Public Radio's This American Life covered fair housing in an episode titled "House Rules". The program features a collection of personal stories that give a thoughtful look at how the Fair Housing Act was implemented when it first passed, how the testing program is functioning now in New York City, as well as some highlights on how where we live affects quality of life. The full episode is available online here, and makes for a great hour of listening, whatever your level of housing expertise.
November-December Housing Law Bulletin Discusses 2013 HJN Meeting, Advocacy for Clients Experiencing Hoarding Issues
The November-December issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features highlights from the 2013 HJN Training and Meeting; the text of the inspiring HJN keynote address by the Hon. Thelton E. Henderson; an overview of case law on the question of whether shelters are "dwellings" under the Fair Housing Act; a summary of a 2012 study finding that African-American women face higher eviction rates in Milwaukee; and a Questions Corner discussing obtaining reasonable accommodations for clients experiencing hoarding issues. The issue also includes summaries of recent cases, notices, and regulations.
November 27, 2013: RD Enjoined From Foreclosing on Rural Rental Housing Development
Rural Development (RD), operating as a receiver, has been managing Jandina Park Apartment, a 36 unit Section 515 rural rental housing development in McMinnville, Oregon for over 16 years. Twenty four of the households in the development are extremely low-income and are receiving RD Rental Assistance. In April 2013, RD advised the residents that it planned to foreclose on the property on September 5, 2013 because it had concluded that Jandina was no longer suitable for retention in the Section 515 program. Read more.
October Housing Law Bulletin Highlights Recent HAMP Litigation, USDA Debt Collection
The October issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features articles on recent HAMP litigation; USDA debt collection practices; a recent HUD notice on homeless admissions preferences; and the findings of three reports exploring fair housing discrimination trends. The issue also includes brief notes on changes at Rural Development and VAWA 2013 implementation.
October 18, 2013: California HCD to Continue Subsidies for Residents of RD/RHS Housing
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) announced last week that it will issue tenant-based vouchers to over 500 households living in 29 California Rural Housing Service (RHS) Section 515 rental housing developments whose nearly 30-year HCD project–based subsidies will terminate at the end of this year. Read more.
October 7, 2013: NHLP Submits VAWA Comments to HUD
September Housing Law Bulletin Highlights RHS Proposed Voucher Program Regulations, HUD VAWA 2013 Notice
The September issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features articles on the Rural Housing Service's proposed regulations for its voucher program; HUD's notice on applying VAWA 2013 to HUD programs; and an analysis of HUD's recently proposed affirmatively furthering fair housing rule. The issue also includes a Questions Corner about the role of hearsay evidence in informal hearings.
October 1, 2013: NHLP Submits Comments to RHS on Proposed Voucher Program Regulations
The Rural Housing Service (RHS) has published proposed regulations for the Rural Development Voucher program, which is intended to assist persons who face displacement from Rural Rental Housing developments when owners prepay their loans or RHS forecloses on them. 78 Fed. Reg. 49374 (August 14, 2013). Comments to the proposed regulations are due on October 15, 2013.
September 23, 2013: California Court of Appeal Agrees with NHLP Amicus Brief and Makes Servicer Stand by Its Own Modification Agreement
In Chavez v. Indymac Mortgage Services, NHLP and Housing and Economic Rights Advocates submitted an amicus brief in support of the homeowner's position that a permanent modification agreement forms an enforceable contract and bound her servicer to comply with its terms. In this pro-homeowner decision, the Court agreed with amici and reversed the trial court's sustaining of Indymac's demurrer to homeowner's breach of contract and wrongful foreclosure claims. Read more.
September 18, 2013: NHLP Submits Comments on HUD's Proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule
On September 17, 2013, NHLP submitted comments to HUD on the proposed affirmatively furthering fair housing rule, 78 Fed. Reg. 43,710 (July 19, 2013). NHLP's letter, also submitted on behalf of housing advocacy organizations from around the country, expressed support for HUD in issuing the proposed rule as it provides an encouraging step towards fostering inclusive and vibrant communities for all. For more about the NHLP's comments, or to read full comments, click here.
September 18, 2013: HUD Responds to NHLP’s Request for Transparency and Posts Voucher Funding Information
The NHLP has repeatedly requested HUD to be more transparent with respect to funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Gradually, HUD has responded and posted increasingly helpful information regarding HCV funding for each PHA. Read more.
Please Join NHLP at our 45th Anniversary Luncheon Celebrating Heroes of Social Justice
With our honored guests, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader and The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson on October 17 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, Merchants Exchange Building, 465 California Street in San Francisco.
With our honored guests, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader and The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson on October 17 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, Merchants Exchange Building, 465 California Street in San Francisco.
To our colleagues in the legal community, housing advocacy, and social justice sectors as well as NHLP’s donors and friends, we sincerely hope you will join us for an inspirational and joyous celebration of two great social justice champions.
More information and RSVP
July 20, 2016: NHLP Seeks 2017-2018 Fellowship Candidates
NHLP encourages newly emerging public interest attorneys and graduating law students who are committed to our broad, substantive focus areas to seek our sponsorship for a post-graduate fellowship. Generally, NHLP serves only as the sponsoring organization, and does not provide fellowship funding. Common funding sources include Equal Justice Works, the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, school-sponsored fellowships, and the Soros Justice Fellowships. Potential fellows must first apply to NHLP for organizational sponsorship before applying to fellowship funding sources. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, writing sample, unofficial transcript, and three references to Kent Qian at email@example.com. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and early applications are encouraged. For students who wish to begin their fellowship in fall 2017, applications are due to NHLP by July 29, 2016.
September 5, 2013: August Housing Law Bulletin Describes Proposed HUD AFFH Rule, Recent Foreclosure Relief Legislation
The August issue of the Housing Law Bulletin features an overview of HUD's proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, a survey of recent state foreclosure relief legislation, a description of a novel anti-smoking lawsuit, and a Questions Corner discussing evictions arising from domestic violence-related unit damage.
August 19, 2013: Governor Brown Signs Domestic Violence Bill into Law
On August 19, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law SB 612, a bill co-sponsored by NHLP, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. The bill had unanimously passed the State Senate and Assembly. The new law, effective January 1, 2014, expands protections for survivors of domestic violence by amending California's early lease termination law, CA Civil Code 1946.7, in three important ways. Read more.
August 19, 2013: July 2013 Issue of the Bulletin Highlights Residency Preferences in Voucher Participants
This July issue of the Housing Law Bulletin highlights a recent resurgence in litigation concerning residency preferences in housing voucher participant selection, a HUD notice clarifying the definition of assistance animals and a ground-breaking Conciliation Agreement between National Fair Housing Alliance and Wells Fargo. Buy articles or subscribe here.
August 15, 2013: RHS Publishes Long-Awaited Proposed Rules for Voucher Program
The Rural Housing Service (RHS) has published proposed rules on the operation of the Rural Development Voucher Program. Comments to the rules are due on or before October 15, 2013. Read more.
July 25, 2013: Homeowner Victory in Case with NHLP Amicus Brief
In Coker v. JP Morgan Chase, NHLP and Housing and Economic Rights Advocates submitted an amicus brief in support of the homeowner’s position that California’s purchase money anti-deficiency protections apply to short sales. This means the bank cannot go after the homeowner for the difference between the short sale price and the unpaid principal balance of the loan. The California Court of Appeals agreed with NHLP’s position -California anti-deficiency protections apply regardless of sale method.
July 24, 2013: NHLP Staff Attorney, Karlo Ng, to Participate in Domestic Violence Roundtable
On Friday, August 9th, NHLP staff attorney, Karlo Ng, will participate in a roundtable hosted by the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. The roundtable will provide an overview and lead a discussion of the implementation of new public and private housing protections available to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking as a part of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and recent state law, including California’s.
July 3, 2013: California Homeowner Bill of Rights Webinar Recording Now Available
NHLP has uploaded the recording of the Homeowner Bill of Rights webinar, originally presented on Thursday, June 20, 2013. This webinar provides California consumer attorneys a helpful overview of the Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), resources for HBOR litigation, and the interplay between HBOR and other consumer and foreclosure laws at the federal and state level.
June 26, 2013: NHLP Welcomes New Staff Attorney Deborah Thrope
NHLP welcomes new staff attorney, Deborah Thrope, who joins us from the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley's Housing Rights Unit in the Mental Health Advocacy Project. Deborah will be working on many NHLP initiatives including reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities and domestic violence. She will also use her extensive experience representing tenants in California to provide training and technical assistance for California housing advocates as part of NHLP's IOLTA and EAF programs.
June 26, 2013: The Housing Law Bulletin's June Issue Includes Federal Affordable Housing Funding Picture
The June issue of the Housing Law Bulletin includes an update on the federal affordable housing funding picture, the effects of sequester on the federal rural housing program, and a due process victory for voucher applicants. Read Bulletin summaries.
June 21, 2013: NHLP Attorney Quoted in the Sacremento Bee Regarding HBOR Case
NHLP staff attorney quoted in the Sacramento Bee: "Dual tracking, whether intentional or by mistake, has been common for years...I don't know how much is incompetence by banks, but it seems like they should do better now," Qian said. The article covers the story of Lauren Amrine, who is using the California Homeowner Bill of Rights(HBOR)to fight against dual-tracking in a short sale.
June 19, 2013: NHLP Highlights Other HBOR Cases in California Courts
Since the passing of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), homeowners have continued to use HBOR to stop foreclosures. Courts are vigorously enforcing the new rights enumerated in HBOR by putting foreclosure sales on hold. NHLP has highlighted three other cases in which homeowners have successfully used HBOR.
June 19, 2013: Obama Administration Issues Supplemental Directive 13-04: Making Home Affordable Program
On June 13, 2013, Supplemental Directive (SD) 13-04: Making Home Affordable® Program – MHA Program Extension and Enhancements was issued, providing new guidance to servicers for implementation of the extension and enhancement of the Making Home Affordable (MHA) Program. Read more.
June 19, 2013: NHLP Attorney to Speak in New Homeowner Protections Webinar
NHLP Attorney, Kent Qian, will be speaking in a free HBOR Collaborative webinar on the new rights and protections granted to California homeowners under the Homeowner Bill of Rights. Learn more at the calhbor.org website.
June 19, 2013: Center for Responsible Lending Publishes Chart on Dual Tracking Restrictions
This chart offers a side-by-side comparison and analysis of how the National Mortgage Settlement, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, and related rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have taken steps to eliminate the practice of dual tracking.
June 19, 2013: NHLP to Participate in Representing Tenants in Post-Foreclosure Unlawful Detainers Webinar
NHLP and the other organizations of the HBOR Collaborative will be presenting a free two-hour webinar on the nuts and bolts of representing tenants in post-foreclosure Unlawful Detainers. The webinar will be very practical and include effective use of motion practice and important elements for settlement negotiations. Learn more at the calhbor.org website.
June 7, 2013: NHLP Provides Advocacy Tips Regarding Sequestration Impacts
Sequestration continues to impact tenants and applicants in the voucher program. Advocates have been responding to the funding cuts in a number of ways, depending on public housing authority actions. Learn some of the ways advocacy has been successful across the nation.
June 6, 2013: NHLP Joins Amicus Brief in Challenging Nuisance Ordinances As Applied to Survivors
NHLP joins twenty-one organizations in an amicus brief submitted by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence in support of Lakisha Briggs, a domestic violence survivor, in Briggs. v. Borough of Norristown. The amicus explains how the nuisance ordinances penalize survivors for reporting abuse to police and further perpetuate the abuse committed against survivors. May 28, 2013: NHLP Submits Amicus Brief in Winterbower vs. Wells Fargo
NHLP has recently submitted an amicus brief in a case regarding preemption from the state foreclosure laws in California. NHLP argues that the state foreclosure laws are preserved under the OCC regulation’s savings clause. Read more.
May 23, 2013: NHLP Attorney, Kent Qian, Quoted in the Sacramento Bee on CA Homeowners Bill of Rights
"Before, it was really in a bank's discretion to stop a foreclosure sale or not, but now you can get the courts to force them to stop," said Kent Qian in an article in the Sacramento Bee. The article covers the story of Kevin Singh, one of the first homeowners to use the California Homeowners Bill of Rights to fight back against dual tracking.
May 23, 2013: NHLP Urges THUD Appropriations Subcommittees to Provide Adequate Funding for Project-Based Section 8 Program
As a member of the Preservation Working Group, NHLP urges the chairs and Ranking Members of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittees in Congress to ensure that the FY 2014 THUD Appropriations bill will provide adequate funding to preserve affordable housing for low-income families. Read more.
May 22, 2013: NHLP Joins Comments Submitted to HUD Regarding Utility Allowances
Collaborating with 15 organizations led by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), NHLP submitted comments to HUD on May 18, 2013 that seek improvements in HUD policy on utility allowances for subsidized multifamily housing. The recommendations contain specific suggestions for improving the process of adjusting allowances when rents are increased and obtaining tenant input.
May 20, 2013: Housing Law Bulletin’s April-May Issue Covers VAWA 2013, Litigation Approaches to Challenge Denials Based on Criminal Records
This month’s Bulletin discusses housing provisions in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, litigation approaches to challenge subsidized housing denials based on applicants’ criminal records, a language access conciliation agreement, and a commentary on voucher programs. Read article summaries.
May 20, 2013: Save the date! NHLP is excited to host this year’s HJN Conference in San Francisco
This year, the Housing Justice Network (HJN) Conference will be held on October 16 & 17, 2013. There will be a special pre-meeting training on October 15th. Find out more.
May 6, 2013: NHLP Executive Director, Marcia Rosen, Discusses Future of Public Housing on KALW FM
Listen to NHLP Executive Director, Marcia Rosen, and Board Member, Sara Shortt, discuss the future of public housing on KALW FM, 91.7. The recording is posted on the City Visions calendar under "Re-imagining Public Housing in SF".
May 1, 2013: NHLP to Participate in Free PLI Seminar on Immigration, Domestic Violence and Housing
PLI is hosting a free day-long seminar, also available as a webcast, entitled “Working with Immigrants: The Intersection of Basic Immigration, Housing, and Domestic Violence Issues in California” on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 9 AM Pacific. NHLP staff attorneys, Catherine Bishop and Karlo Ng, will present in two of the sessions: (1) on the eligibility of immigrants for federal housing programs and (2) housing protections under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Sign up here.
May 2, 2013: NHLP Addresses Long-Awaited Release of HUD Policy on Tenant Protection Vouchers
HUD has issued the final version of a long-awaited policy that will provide funds for tenant vouchers. The vouchers will aid unassisted low-income tenants residing in HUD properties that face mortgage maturity or expiration of use restrictions. It is important to keep track of this policy as there may be an opportunity to obtain protections for others tenants threatened by the end of HUD rent restrictions. Learn more.
April 25, 2013: New NHLP Resource for Addressing Voucher Funding Shortfalls
Most housing authorities will be required to make changes to their regular voucher program due to sequestration. In order to address the unprecedented 2013 funding shortfalls, NHLP has published a chart outlining ways housing authorities can respond. The chart organizes possible responses by degree of harm to residents and how they align with programmatic goals, and addresses legal issues and pros and cons of the proposed policies.
April 23, 2013: NHLP Attorney, Karlo Ng, Testified before California's Senate Judiciary Committee
On April 16th, Karlo Ng testified before California’s Senate Judiciary Committee in support of SB 612, a bill co-sponsored by NHLP and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. SB 612 would expand protections for survivors of domestic violence by amending California’s early lease termination law. Learn more.
April 5, 2013: NHLP to Participate in CBPP Webinar on Housing Vouchers Funding Shortfalls Due to Sequestration
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, together with NHLP and Housing Justice Network, will host a free 1-hour webinar on April 23, 2013 at 12PM Pacific to explain funding cuts in the Housing Choice Voucher program and their impact on public housing agencies and low-income families. Presenters will review strategies to reduce program spending, and discuss how advocates can influence decisions about local policy changes to reduce the harm funding cuts will cause. Sign up here.
April 4, 2013: HUD Responds to Advocacy Regarding RAD; NHLP Urges Further Improvements
Earlier this year, NHLP urged HUD to improve tenants’ rights within the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. HUD has acknowledged the role of NHLP and the Resident Engagement Group in the development of the final rules regarding RAD. The rules that RAD will be implementing provide for tenant protections and long-term affordability, but more must be done.
April 2, 2013: NHLP Provides Assistance in Successful Tenant Litigation
Community Legal Services in Philadelphia successfully restored rental assistance for the senior tenants of Elders Place in a settlement agreement in the case Simmons v. HUD, with assistance from the Housing Preservation Project and NHLP.
April 2, 2013: NHLP Announces Job Opening for Contract Attorney Position
NHLP has an opening for a contract attorney position. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until filled. Read job description.
April 1, 2013: USDA Limits Debt Collections from Rural Low-Income Homeowners; NHLP and HAC Encourage USDA to Stop All Collections
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will limit future collection of funds from thousands of low-income rural homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure. Since 2004, USDA has been collecting losses from foreclosed borrowers who received their home loans from USDA’s direct and guaranteed loan programs. While limiting the collection of future losses is a start, NHLP and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) continue to urge USDA to also cease ongoing collections against borrowers whose wages, benefits, and tax refunds are currently being offset to make up for past agency losses.
March 28, 2013: National Housing Law Project to Lead Statewide Homeowner Bill of Rights Implementation Project
NHLP and its partners received a $1 million grant from the California Office of the Attorney General to implement the Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR), aimed to ensure fair lending and borrowing practices for California homeowners. The project will fund free webinars, trainings, library of litigation resources, and other support services to California consumer attorneys.
March 27, 2013: Effects of Sequestration on Project-Based Section 8 Program
Much of the attention about the impacts of sequestration has properly focused on the Voucher and Public Housing programs, where the impacts are significant and threaten the housing benefits of tens of thousands of families.
Project-based Section 8 should experience a less significant immediate impact because the program currently contains a cushion against a budget authority shortfall. Contracts may be for longer terms, but funding commitments are only for 12 months. In recent years, Congress has provided renewal appropriations sufficient for one-year funding commitments on all Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts. Because those funding commitments expire at various points during any fiscal year, some run deep into the following fiscal year (e.g., in January through September). When funding commitments expire, HUD has ordinarily renewed them for 12 months, regardless of how many of the months actually are part of the current fiscal year.
Because many of those months of funding are actually in the following FY (in this case FY '14), in the face of a shortfall like sequestration, HUD can conserve budget authority by cutting off these longer funded tails, without having an immediate impact on tenants or owners. Even after providing such shorter-term funding, HUD can still make timely payment of any HAP payments due during the rest of FY 2013, as well as during the first quarter of FY '14 (Oct. through Dec.). (HUD had actually proposed to use this tactic in its Budget for FY 2013, in conjunction with proposing a substantial shortfall for this account, which Congress did not adopt.)
March 22, 2013: Ninth Circuit Joins Other Circuits in Upholding FHFA Directive, Limiting Ability to Finance Clean Energy
In County of Sonoma v. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the 9th Circuit joined other circuits in upholding FHFA’s decision to prevent Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from buying mortgages on properties encumbered by property-assessed clean energy programs (PACE). PACE loans finance environmental improvements on residential properties, and as a result, FHFA’s decision substantially limits PACE’s capacity to finance clean energy improvements.
March 22, 2013: Housing Law Bulletin’s March Issue Features New Disparate Impact Regulation, New “Questions Corner”
This month’s Bulletin discusses HUD’s new, long-awaited disparate impact regulation, a case for federal renters’ tax credit, and a new feature called “Questions Corner” that considers two tenant case scenarios. Read article summaries.
March 18, 2013: NHLP Staff Attorney, Kent Qian, to Present in Free Foreclosure Webcast
Staff attorney, Kent Qian, will speak in a free PLI Webcast on March 27, 2013 at 1 PM Eastern. The webcast is a one hour briefing that will provide tools to effectively represent clients in light of the recent settlement between Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve and 13 mortgage servicers. The settlement will provide $9.3 billion in relief to homeowners and terminate the Independent Foreclosure Review process that began in 2012. Sign up here.
March 6, 2013: NHLP Executive Director, Marcia Rosen, Receives Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship
NHLP Executive Director, Marcia Rosen, has been awarded a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship by Harvard Law School. The fellowship program selects outstanding public interest lawyers across the country to visit the law school to mentor students. She will be meeting with students on campus on March 12th and March 13th.
March 4, 2013: NHLP Endorses the California Homes and Jobs Act
The California Homes and Jobs Act of 2013 would build affordable single-family homes and apartments for Californians in need, including low-income families, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness. The act would generate an estimated $500 million in state investment and $2.78 billion in federal and local funding and private investment. Read more.
March 4, 2013: NHLP Staff Attorney, Kent Qian, to Present in Free PLI Webcast
NHLP staff attorney, Kent Qian, will be speaking in a free Practising Law Institute (PLI) webcast training called "California Eviction Defense: Protecting Low Income Tenants" on March 13, 2013 at 9 AM Pacific. The webcast will provide an overview of eviction defense and housing law for attorneys and an opportunity to interact with non-profit legal services agencies that work with low-income families. Sign up here.
March 1, 2013: NHLP Seeks Improvements to Public Housing Occupancy Guide
On March 1, 2013, HJN advocates and NHLP responded to HUD's request for comments on proposed revisions to the Public Housing Occupancy Guide, which provides guidance to all PHAs that operate public housing. The comments address twenty topics, including language access, rights under the Violence Against Women Act, reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities, minimum rent requirements, and resident participation.
March 1, 2013: NHLP Seeks Additional HUD Rule-making for the Voucher and Public Housing Programs
In a memo to Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez, NHLP joined with CBPP, NLIHC, and PRRAC in urging HUD to complete unfinished rule-making for the voucher and public housing programs. The memo highlights ways HUD can increase assistance to low-income families, increase resident participation, and protect public housing residents' rights.
March 1, 2013: NHLP Files FOIA Request to Seek Transparency in Demolition Process
NHLP and an HJN colleague filed a Freedom of Information Act request with HUD seeking information on the number of applications that have been approved or rejected for the demolition and disposition of public housing in the last two years. NHLP has previously advocated for the improvement of the demolition and disposition process. Read more.
February 27, 2013: NHLP Welcomes Report Stressing Crisis in Affordable Rental Housing
The Bipartisan Policy Center's new report highlights the crisis in affordable housing and the urgent need for rental housing reform. Demand for rental housing is growing, and yet the number of renters who spend more on rent than they can afford is "unacceptably high" and continues to increase. Only one in four families eligible for federal housing assistance currently receives it. Read more.
February 28, 2013: NHLP Applauds Housing Protections in VAWA Reauthorization
NHLP applauds the House for passing the Senate’s version of the Violence Against Women Authorization Act, S. 47, which will extend protections to victims on tribal land as well as LGBT and immigrant survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The bill will add crucial housing protections for which NHLP and others have long and strongly advocated.
February 25, 2013: NHLP Co-Sponsors Domestic Violence Bill Expanding Protections for Survivors
On February 22, 2013, Senator Mark Leno introduced SB 612 that would amend the early lease termination provisions for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder or dependent adult abuse under California law. SB 612 is co-sponsored by the National Housing Law Project and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. Read more.
February 25, 2013: NHLP Alarmed by HUD’s Report of Dramatic Increases in “Worst Case Housing Needs”
HUD’s forthcoming report on nation’s “worst case” housing needs (renters make less the half Area Median, pay more than half their income for rent and/or live in severely inadequate conditions) finds dramatic increases from 2009-2011, rising to 8.5 million low-income families. The gap between number of assisted units and number of households with severe housing needs has never been wider.
March 1, 2013: NHLP Advocacy Results in Strengthened Language Access Policies
San Francisco's new Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) has vastly improved access to policies, thanks to successful advocacy by NHLP's Language Access Fellow, Renee Williams. The advocacy has resulted in strengthened language access policies for 181,000 limited English proficient San Franciscans. Read more.
February 18, 2012: NHLP Urges Greater Protection for LEP Litigants
NHLP submitted comments to the Judicial Council for the State of California urging them to address the needs of limited English proficiency (LEP) litigants as they implement California Assembly Bill 2073. The proposed changes in the bill require the Judicial Council to adopt uniform rules, mandating electronic filing and service. Read more.
February 19, 2013: NHLP Announces Job Opening for Staff Attorney Position
NHLP seeks an experienced staff attorney to join the exceptional staff in our San Francisco office. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt until position is filled. View job posting.
February 11, 2013: NHLP Urges HUD to Improve RAD
In a letter dated January 23, 2013, NHLP urged HUD to address some problems, confusion and weakness in the current rules and proposed documents for the rental assistance demonstration (RAD), which permits housing authorities and owners in the HUD-assisted multifamily programs to convert at-risk properties either to the project-based Section 8 or the project-based voucher program. NHLP argues that the notice periods in the event of eviction, the right to a grievance hearing to object to adverse action by the PHA and the owner, and the right of residents to form a legitimate tenant organization and receive tenant participation funding should be included in tenant leases so as to avoid confusion and ensure that key rights are recognized and can be enforced.
February 8, 2013: NHLP Decries Cuts to Critical Housing Programs
If Congress does not act by March 1st, sequester would cause 125,000 low income families to lose rental assistance and 100,000 formerly homeless people to lose their homes. Read More.
February 8, 2013: NHLP Attorney Kent Qian Will Speak in Free NLCHP Webinar
On Wednesday, February 20, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty will be hosting a free seminar on Renters and the Foreclosure Crisis. As an expert in the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA), NHLP staff attorney, Kent Qian will share his insights. Register for the webinar.
February 7, 2013: Housing Law Bulletin’s February Issue Discusses Federal Budget Picture
This month’s Bulletin examines the uncertainties surrounding future funding for federally subsidized housing and new rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) to curb abusive mortgage servicing practices. Read article summaries.
January 28, 2013: NHLP’s Amicus Position Adopted By Second Circuit in HUD Disposition Case
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that HUD properly restricted bidding at the foreclosure sale of an assisted senior development. In Ku v. HUD, NHLP and preservation allies had filed an amicus brief urging that HUD’s action be upheld on narrow grounds.
January 11, 2013: Housing Law Bulletin’s January Issue Features HAMP Advocacy
This month's Bulletin highlights innovative litigation to enforce the Home Affordable Modification Program and obligations to affirmatively further fair housing. It also examines a federal court order regarding housing tax credits under federal Fair Housing Act and reviews steps HUD has taken to implement the Rental Assistance Demonstration. Read article summaries.
January 10, 2013: NHLP Partnered in Case Challenging PHA Garbage Policy, Federal Court Certifies Class
The United States District Court for the Central District of California has certified the class in Galindo v. Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. The case challenges the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles' unlawful practice of requiring 6,500 public housing tenants to pay for garbage collection. If the tenants' claims are proven, class members could receive millions of dollars in refunds.
November 28, 2012: NHLP Has Released a Major New Report
National Housing Law Project has released a major new report on best practices and innovative models for creating affordable housing and inclusive communities called, "From Urban Renewal and Displacement to Economic Inclusion: San Francisco Affordable Housing Policy 1978-2012."
November 19, 2012: Reasonable Accommodation in Federally Assisted Housing Outline
Now available: An updated reasonable accommodation outline which addresses some of the unique issues that federally assisted housing applicants and residents with disabilities confront.The outline also provides an overview of the reasonable accommodation law, how to make a reasonable accommodation request, enforcement and unique advocacy opportunities available in federally assisted housing.
September 5, 2012: NHLP Advocacy Leads in Multiple Appellate Wins
The appellate victories in foreclosure cases Curtis v. US Bank National Association and Barroso v. Ocwen Loan Servicing are likely to set precedent for other cases across the country.
June 19, 2012: NHLP Advocacy Brings Appellate Victory to Tenant
In a victory for renters in foreclosure, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed itself to hold that the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act requires foreclosure purchasers to honor existing leases.
June 13, 2012: NHLP Requests USDA Stop Unfair Debt Collection from Single Family Home Loan Borrowers
On June 12, NHLP sent a letter asking the Department of Agriculture to cease the debt collection practices of the Rural Housing Service (RHS) with respect to borrowers who have defaulted on their RHS direct and guaranteed single family home loans. NHLP’s request was co-signed by 28 other national, regional and local organizations and individuals.
June 6, 2012: NHLP Submits Comments to Improve Mobility in the Voucher Program
NHLP has joined dozens of legal services organizations in submitting comments on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposal to improve mobility in the Section 8 voucher program.
May 11, 2012: Advocates Submit Comments on USDA’s Proposed Guidance On National Origin Discrimination
On May 7, 2012, NHLP joined eleven advocacy and legal groups across the country in providing public comments to the United States Department of Agriculture regarding the Department’s proposed guidance prohibiting national origin discrimination against individuals with limited-English proficiency.
April 24, 2013: NHLP Advocacy Leads to Appellate Victory in Due Process Case
In a major victory for residents of affordable housing subsidized by local government, the California Court of Appeal for the Second District held constitutional due process applies to an eviction from a housing unit supported by a redevelopment agency, prohibiting a tenant's eviction without good cause.
January 9, 2012: NHLP Staff Attorney, Kent Qian, Appointed as San Francisco Rent Board Commissioner
Mayor Ed Lee appointed Kent Qian to the Rent Board as an alternate Commissioner for one of the tenant positions on the Board. Kent was sworn in on January 5th and will assume his responsibilities immediately. Congratulations, Kent!
November 28, 2011: NHLP Mourns Death of Michael Heyman, former NHLP Board Chair
Longtime NHLP supporter and leader, I. Michael Heyman, died on November 19 at his home in Berkeley, California. Mike had a legendary career as chief law clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren, law professor and Chancellor of UC Berkeley, and leader of the Smithsonian Institution. He helped establish NHLP as part of the UC Berkeley Earl Warren Institute in the late sixties and served as an NHLP board member from 1979-1991.
November 28, 2011: NHLP Says Farewell to Staff Attorney Navneet Grewal
After 4 years, Navneet Grewal has left NHLP to assume a new position at the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles. We will miss her and wish her well in her new position where she will join WCLP’s housing team.
November 9, 2011: Low Income Housing Tax Credit Preservation Victory in State Appeals Court
On October 26, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued a major decision affecting the preservation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit developments. In Nordbye v. BRCP/GM Ellington, the court ruled that tenants have the right to enforce restrictive covenants that, among other things, do not allow a state credit allocation agency to terminate a property from the program for an owner’s noncompliance.
July 13, 2011: Governor Signs Bill Improving Housing Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 588, which will allow survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to end their leases without financial penalty. State law currently requires that survivors provide a police report or restraining order issued within the past 60 days in order to end the lease.
April 27, 2012: Senate Passes VAWA, Including Key Housing Protections
The Senate has approved legislation to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The bill includes several new housing protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking that were developed with assistance from NHLP.
September 22, 2011: NHLP Asks for Government’s REO Disposition Strategy to Include Affordable Housing
In August, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Treasury Department, and HUD released a request for information to seek ideas on how to best dispose of foreclosed properties. NHLP submitted comments suggesting the Administration use REO properties to develop affordable housing for low-income families.
August 11, 2011: HUD Affirms that PHA Contracts with Police Departments are Subject to Section 3
Assistant Secretary John Trasvina issued a letter to the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) affirming that any contract the provides operating subsidy funds to the NYC Police Department is subject to Section 3. The letter also declares that HUD would work with NYCPD and NYCHA to ensure that they meet their compliance obligations.
August 9, 2011: United States Files Fair Housing Suit Against City of Joliet to Preserve Affordable Housing
On August 4, 2011, the United States filed suit against the City of Joliet, alleging that it has violated federal housing laws by moving to condemn and take through eminent domain a federally-subsidized affordable housing development known as Evergreen Terrace.
July 19, 2011: Advocates Urge HUD to Improve Forms for Moving to Work Public Housing Agencies
On July 15, 2011, the National Housing Law Project and the Housing Justice Network submitted comments to HUD regarding the Moving to Work (MTW) program. HUD is seeking to improve the Annual Plan and Annual Report forms that MTW public housing agencies use to describe their innovative programs.
July 13, 2011: Tenants Facing Mortgage Maturity Await Congressional Protections
A recent Bulletin article covers the mortgage maturity problem. Thousands of low-income tenants nationwide face the expiration of federal use restrictions when their mortgage or use agreement expires. Rents may increase, sometimes substantially, where market rents exceed current restricted rent levels.
July 12, 2011: NHLP Urges HUD to Clarify Definition of Tuition for Section 8 Tenants
In a letter to HUD Secretary Donovan, NHLP requests that HUD promptly clarify its rules to support adult Section 8 tenants seeking to further their education and expand policy to exclude income from financial assistance covering school fees. Currently, some adults receiving financial assistance for college fees beyond "tuition" face unaffordable rent increases.
July 8, 2011: More Help for Unemployed Homeowners
On July 7, the Obama Administration announced a new program to allow unemployed homeowners to defer their mortgage payments for up to one year. Unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure may also seek assistance from the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program or the Hardest Hit Fund Programs.
October 7, 2010: NHLP Seeks Law Clerks, Volunteer Attorneys
NHLP’s San Francisco office seeks fall law clerks and volunteer attorneys to work on a variety of initiatives, including access to housing, rights of tenants in foreclosed properties, preservation of affordable housing, and emerging fair housing issues.
October 30, 2014: October Bulletin Dissects HUD's Proposed AFFH Assessment Tool, Updates Advocates on Major Garbage Collection, Domestic Violence, and Reverse Mortgage Litigation
If you are a current subscriber, you may access the October issue here.
If you wish to become a subscriber, please visit our subscription page.
NHLP Webinar: Prepayments, Maturing Mortgages, and Foreclosures: Protecting Seniors and Others from Rural Development Rental Housing Displacement
Join NHLP on October 21, for a free 90-minute webinar on how to protect residents of USDA rental housing from displacement when USDA Rural Development (RD) rental housing loans end due to prepayment, loan maturity, or foreclosure. In each situation, residents (including those who live in farm labor housing) may be threatened with displacement.
The webinar will cover protections available to residents, many of whom are seniors, including the right to notice of prepayment requests and to comment on them, and the right to secure RD vouchers and Letters of Priority Entitlement (LOPES). It will also address ways in which nonprofit and public agencies can preserve RD affordable housing.
The session is designed for tenant advocates, including lawyers and persons who work to preserve USDA RD rural rental housing. The webinar, which starts at 11 a.m. PT (12 p.m. MT; 1 p.m. CT; and 2 p.m. ET) will provide you the very latest and detailed information on how to assist RD rental housing residents facing displacement and how to preserve RD housing in your community. Click here to register! For more on this webinar, contact Jay Arellano at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the National Housing Law Project's work to preserve housing for the elderly, contact Gideon Anders at email@example.com.
California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) Issues Guidance for Use of California Utility Allowance Calculator on Existing LIHTC Properties
On August 27, 2014, TCAC issued revised guidance to allow existing LIHTC properties with photovoltaic (PV) system installation through the California Solar Initiative MASH Program to calculate tenant utility allowances based on the California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC), an energy consumption model for tenant-metered properties. Prior to this guidance, the CUAC model was only available for new construction and adaptive reuse housing projects. Use of the CUAC model will enable many owners to reduce utility allowances and increase operating income, which could be used to offset some energy-efficiency improvement costs or to stabilize project operations.
The guidance details submittal requirements, including a written summary of the PV system and its benefits, the CUAC model and required quality control, the project’s audited financial statements, documentation of tenant area load offsets, and tenant notifications. The tenant notification protections require the owner to provide a 90-day notice to tenants summarizing the proposed CUAC allowances, the current utility allowance and method, and the impact on tenant rent payments, along with ready access to supporting information.
While the guidance represents an important first step to facilitating more energy-efficiency improvements on California LIHTC properties, several challenges remain for tenants, including verifying the accuracy of the CUAC allowances, allowances reductions and rent increases based on reasons unrelated to energy savings (i.e. methodology changes), the potential burden of additional substantial rent increases, and the lack of shared benefits from the energy savings between tenants and owners.
CPUC Adopts Recommendations to Facilitate Energy-Efficiency Improvements for Affordable Rental Housing
On August 14, 2014 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously adopted several key recommendations in their final decision that will enable greater utilization by multifamily buildings in the Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) Program for the upcoming 2015-2017 program cycle. Funded by investor-owned utilities (IOUs), ESA is an assistance program providing over $1 billion annually for certain energy-saving improvements in dwelling units occupied by low-income consumers. The key recommendations adopted include: (1) allowing an IOU to treat the entire multifamily building as eligible if at least 80% of the units are income-qualified under the ESA program, (2) not counting housing subsidies as income, and (3) requiring IOUs to propose expedited enrollment for HUD-assisted buildings where at least 80% of the tenants have incomes at or below 200% of federal poverty level. (p. 62-63). The decision further directs IOUs to propose cost-effective measures in multifamily buildings including common area measures and central heating, cooling, and hot water systems. (p. 64). To increase program utilization in multifamily rental housing, the decision also requires IOUs to work directly with building owners, establish a single point of contact and take steps to increase coordination among low-income energy assistance programs. During this proceeding, NHLP closely collaborated with California Housing Partnership, National Consumer Law Center, and Natural Resources Defense Council.
RD Revises VAWA Implementation in Response to NHLP Advocacy
On February 10, 2014, Rural Development (RD) issued an Administrative Notice (AN) to implement the 2013 amendments to the Violence Against Women Act. AN 4747 (1944-N). In June 2014, the National Housing Law Project, joined by 25 other organizations, sent a letter to the RD Housing Administrator advising him that there were some significant errors and omissions in the Administrative Notice and requesting that the agency correct them and republish the AN. On August 6, the agency responded to NHLP stating that it will republish the AN and will include all but one of the recommendations made in the letter. A copy of the letter to RD and its response are attached.
Specifically, RD agreed, consistent with VAWA, to expand its definition of persons eligible for assistance to include victims of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Second, it agreed to clarify that survivors need to meet only one of the two eligibility conditions to qualify for a transfer to another development. The AN had erroneously stated that both conditions had to be met. Third, RD acknowledged that survivors who seek to move from their current residence could move to any other housing covered by VAWA and were not restricted to RD multi-family housing as was set out in the original AN. In connection with that change, RD contacted both HUD and the IRS to ensure that they were aware of survivors’ right to transfer to HUD and IRS financed housing and that they should similarly advise survivors living in those agencies’ housing. Fourth, RD agreed to inform owners of RD housing as to the RD officials that survivors should contact to secure a Letter of Priority Entitlement to relocate to other RD housing.
August 24, 2012: Secretary Vilsack Responds to NHLP Regarding RHS Debt Collection Practices
In a letter dated August 17, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack responded to a June 12 letter from NHLP, cosigned by 28 other organizations and persons, requesting that USDA stop the practice of collecting losses from Section 502 loan borrowers who have defaulted on their direct and guaranteed RHS home loans. This response came after CBS News and other media reports on the issue.
July 26, 2012: NHLP Seeks Changes to HUD’s Proposed Project-Based Voucher Rules
On July 16, 2012, NHLP along with a broad range of housing organizations and housing professionals submitted comments to HUD on the proposed changes to the project-based voucher program. The comments recommended changes to five of the proposed rules, supported several of the changes HUD proposed and recommended modifications to others.
July 11, 2011: California Homeowner Bill of Rights Signed Into Law
The new bills, AB 278 and SB 900, under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights restrict dual-track foreclosures and guarantees struggling homeowners a single point of contact at their lender. In addition, homeowners may require loan servicers to document their right to foreclose. NHLP testified in favor of the law.
April 19, 2012: NHLP Advocacy Helps Tenant Protection Bills Clear Committees
As a part of the California Attorney General’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, the bills, SB 1473 and AB 2610, would provide tenants with key protections after foreclosure. NHLP testified in favor of both bills and provided technical assistance to the Attorney General's office on the bills.
March 26, 2012: NHLP Advocacy Leads to New HUD Guidance on Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act
After more than two years of advocacy by NHLP, HUD has provided additional guidance on tenant protections in foreclosed Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Properties. The new FHA notice for the mortgage lender notifying occupants of an upcoming foreclosure sale now informs tenants of their Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) rights.
January 31, 2012: NHLP Joins Amicus Brief in Landmark Fair Housing Case
NHLP joined a number of other national civil rights organizations in signing on to an amicus curiae brief in the fair housing case, Magner v. Gallagher, currently pending before the Supreme Court. The amicus curiae brief argues that Congress intended the Fair Housing Act to cover disparate impact claims.
January 17, 2012: NHLP Supports Proposed Fair Housing Regulations
NHLP has joined over two dozen civil rights and legal services organizations in supporting HUD's proposed rule on the Fair Housing Act's (FHA) discriminatory effects standard. The proposed rule would allow liability to be established under FHA by proving that a neutral practice has a disparate impact.
November 29, 2011: Supreme Court Denies Review and Upholds Tenants' Victory in Enhanced Voucher Case
On November 28, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of certiorari in Mortimer Howard Trust v. Park Village Apartments Tenants Association, No. 11-36.In denying the owner's request, the Supreme Court let stand the Ninth Circuit's decision that affirmed the tenants' right to remain in unit with enhanced vouchers even if the owner decides to no longer participate in Project-Based Section 8.
June 16, 2011: NHLP Submitted Comments to HUD on Template for PHA Plans
NHLP Submitted Comments to HUD on the Template, HUD 50075. The template is for the Public Housing Authority (PHA) 5-Year Plan and Annual Plan as well as Related Certifications.
March 1, 2011: SAVE THE DATE!
The 2011 National Meeting of the Housing Justice Network will be held on Sunday, October 16 and Monday, October 17, in Washington, D.C. There will be a One Day Basic Training on Federal Housing for New Practitioners Saturday, October 15
March 19, 2011: NHLP Submits Comments to HUD’s Proposed Anti- LGBTQ Discrimination Rule
HUD recently issued notice of a proposed rule that commits HUD's Fair Housing Enforcement Office to increase access to its programs for LGBTQ persons. NHLP and 23 Housing Justice Network members joined to submit comments suggesting provisions to strengthen the protections such a rule would provide.
March 15, 2011: Ninth Circuit Upholds Tenants’ Right to Remain After Owner Opt-Out
In July 2008, the owner of Park Village Apartments, finally gave legally sufficient notice to opt out of the project-based contract. In the federally required notice, the owner certified that he would honor the tenants’ right to remain in their homes with enhanced vouchers after termination of the project-based subsidies. However, when attempting to increase the rent to market-rate, the owner refused to honor his prior certification.
February 3, 2011: NHLP releases new video
The video, "Dialogues for Change: Resident Engagement in HUD Policy Making" documents how public housing, voucher and Section 8 tenants have come together to engage HUD concerning key housing policy issues. Told in the residents' own words, the video is a testament to their commitment to improving low income housing policy, advancing tenants' rights, and empowering other residents to advocate for change.
March 18, 2010: NOW AVAILABLE! The 2010 Supplement to HUD Housing Programs
The 2010 Supplement parallels the Green Book’s issue-oriented format and serves as a quick and accessible reference for all cumulative changes, additions and revisions in the law since 2004. The 2010 Supplement is augmented by a companion web page that includes all the documents that appeared in the CD-ROM from the original 3rd edition as well as materials covered in the 2010 Supplement.
NHLP Publishes Domestic Violence and Housing Manual
NHLP is pleased to announce the publication of "Maintaining Safe and Stable Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors: A Manual for Attorneys and Advocates."
PTFA Rights Affirmed by the Arizona Court of Appeals
In Bank of New York Mellon v. De Meo, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) requires a tenant to receive an unambiguous 90-day written notice before any eviction proceeding may be commenced. In this case, Mellon Bank foreclosed on the home Patricia De Meo occupied under a rent-to-own lease agreement, which had converted into a month-to-month tenancy. Mellon Bank gave only a five-day notice, addressed to the former owner and all other occupants, but filed the eviction action 97 days later. It argued in the trial court that it satisfied the PTFA by waiting more than 90 days before filing the eviction.
NHLP and HJN Urge Improvement of HUD’s Public Housing Assessment System That Would Include a Robust Role for Resident Input.
One set of comments focused on the resident service and satisfaction indicator, which was formerly found at 24 C.F.R. § 902.50. The interim rule, which can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-02-23/pdf/2011-2659.pdf, was effective March 25, 2011 and removed the resident service and satisfaction indicator. The comments urged HUD to restore the resident service and satisfaction survey to a prominent position in the PHAS, suggested important improvements to the former survey form and listed a number of mechanisms to obtain more robust responses to the survey.
HUD Issues Invitation for PHAs to Participate in Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration
On April 20, HUD issued an invitation for PHAs to participate in its “Demonstration Project of Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs) in Selected Metropolitan Areas for Fiscal Year 2011." This pilot project can help remedy de facto urban segregation in higher-poverty areas caused by metro-wide subsidy caps, an important first step in creating meaningful housing choices for families using housing choice vouchers. More info is available from HUD's published notice.
One Year after HUD Promises Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration, NHLP Urges Follow-Through
NHLP has joined national housing allies, led by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), in urging HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to halt delays on its “Demonstration Project of Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs) in Selected Metropolitan Areas for Fiscal Year 2011.” HUD designed this pilot project to remedy de facto urban segregation caused by metro-wide subsidy caps, an important first step in creating meaningful housing choices for families using housing choice vouchers. Although HUD pleased housing advocates with a May, 2010 announcement that it would invite PHAs to apply to participate in October, nearly one year later no invitation has been issued.
HUD Activates Emergency Home Loan Program as of April 4, 2011
The EHLP program will be administered by NeighborWorks and its affiliate network of home counseling agencies. They are required to do outreach to ensure that all single family homeowners (1-4 units) in each state are aware of the program and have a way to apply for assistance. Due to the small number of homeowners that will be assisted under the program, homeowners in need of assistance should contact a NeighborWorks affiliated counseling agency as soon as possible to receive guidance on the information that they need to compile in order to submit an application for assistance on or after April 4. NeighborWorks affiliated counseling agencies can be located at http://www.findaforeclosurecounselor.org/network/nfmc_lookup/.
NHLP Submits Comments to HUD Proposed Rule for National Housing Trust Fund
HUD has published a Proposed Rule which in its final form, will govern all aspects of the creation, operation and oversight of the National Housing Trust Fund. The NHTF, created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 Pub. L. No. 110-289, tit. I, § 1131, is the object of an ongoing campaign seeking funding from Congress. Eighty percent of NHTF funds must be used for rental housing. Seventy-five percent must benefit extremely low-income families (less than 30% of AMI) and twenty-five percent must benefit very low-income families.
HUD Releases New Domestic Violence and Housing Rules
The rules clarify critical issues affecting domestic violence survivors living in subsidized housing. Some of the topics addressed include the documentation needed to prove domestic violence, the ability of domestic violence survivors to flee subsidized housing and move with Section 8 vouchers, and housing providers’ obligations to protect survivors’ confidentiality.
The revised HUD rules are available here.
Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance (PETRA)
RHS/RD Implements HAMP Program for Guaranteed Borrowers
On August 26, 2010, the Rural Housing Service (RHS), whose programs are administered by the Rural Development (RD) Division of the Department of Agriculture, announced a new program to help guaranteed loan borrowers who have defaulted on their loans, or who are facing imminent default, avoid foreclosure. Under the program, lenders are authorized to modify the loan by reducing the mortgage interest rate to a rate that is at or below the maximum RHS allowable interest rate and to extend the loan term to 40 years from the time of loan modification. If the modification does not reduce the borrower’s payments to 31% of income, RHS may make a mortgage recovery advance to the borrower.
Third Circuit Requires HUD to Preserve Subsidy Contract
On September 8, in Massie v. U.S. Dep’t of HUD, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that HUD’s 2006 foreclosure sale of Third East Hills, a project-based Section 8 property in Pittsburgh, without a Section 8 contract violated the Schumer Amendment.
HUD Awards $1 Billion More in Neighborhood Stabilization Funds
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded an additional $1 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds to states, counties and local communities. The grants are the third round of NSP funding and will assist state and local governments in acquiring, redeveloping, or demolishing foreclosed properties.
Each grantee must use 25% of its award to house families at or below 50% of Area Median Income. To determine how much additional NSP funding your jurisdiction received, visit HUD’s website.
September 1, 2010: NHLP Publishes Compendium of Domestic Violence and Housing Laws
Examples of state and local protections include early lease termination provisions for domestic violence survivors, lock change laws, and affirmative defenses for evictions related to acts of domestic violence committed against a tenant. The compendium is available here.
August 13, 2010: HUD and RD Housing Preservation Bill Passes Committee
Linked here are the bill text, NHLP's summary of the bill, earlier hearings, and the archive of the markup, including the text of the amendments adopted and rejected. The Committee will likely file its report in September, setting the stage for consideration by the full House.
Massachusetts Passes Just Cause for Eviction After Foreclosure
Enacted as a part of a comprehensive foreclosure bill, the new law will give tenants the right to remain in their homes after foreclosure.
See Massachusetts Enacts Landmark Foreclosure Protections for more information on the advocacy behind the bill.
NHLP Publishes Domestic Violence and Housing Manual
It includes information on the subsidized housing application process, common barriers to housing that survivors face, and strategies for challenging denials of housing. The manual is available here.
NHLP Congratulates HJNer Laura Tuggle on Appointment as General Counsel of the Housing Authority of New Orleans
Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA) -- 7/22/2010 -- by Katy Reckdahl -- In what may be the strongest signal yet that the Housing Authority of New Orleans is trying to turn over a new leaf, the agency announced on Wednesday that it has hired one of its most vocal critics, longtime legal-aid lawyer Laura Tuggle, as general counsel.
June 16, 2010: NHLP Files Depublication Request in Sabi v. Sterling
NHLP and NLIHC Comments on DOT Experimental Project Triggering Section 3
The proposed Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP—14) would apply on a case by case basis and seeks to implement the federal government’s efforts to coordinate DOT, HUD and Environmental Protection Agency policies to create sustainable and livable communities. The comments were submitted May 14, 2010. A copy of the comments is available here.
NHLP Files Amicus Brief in Key Takings Case
NHLP has submitted a friend of the court brief in Guggenheim v. City of Goleta, a case challenging the constitutionality of the city’s mobilehome rent control ordinance. The case will be heard by the en banc Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in late June. A panel of the Court previously held that ordinance constitutes a taking. If left to stand, the ruling could provide a means for park owners everywhere to bring new challenges to rent ordinances.
NHLP Testifies on the Public Housing One-for-One Replacement and Tenant Protection Act.
The Discussion Draft proposes significant amendments to Section 18 — the provisions in the statute that permit the demolition or disposition of public housing. Issues that are the focus of the Discussion Draft, one-for-one replacement, the residents’ right to return, and relocation and mobility rights for those who are displaced, are issues that concern the NHLP, the Housing Justice Network (HJN) and public housing residents and applicants. There are a number of improvements that NHLP recommends to ensure that the Discussion Draft fully and adequately addresses these and other issues. A copy of the testimony and draft are here.
HUD REPORTS 20 PERCENT JUMP IN “WORST CASE NEEDS” FROM 2007 TO 2009
WASHINGTON – In a report to Congress released today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that “worst case housing needs” grew by nearly 1.2 million house-holds, or more than 20 percent, from 2007 to 2009 and by 42 percent since 2001. “Worst case housing needs” are defined as low-income households who paid more than half their monthly income for rent, lived in severely substandard housing, or both.
Court Upholds Mobilehome Rent Control
A three-judge panel of the Court previously held that the city’s ordinance constituted a taking. If left to stand, the ruling could have provided a means for park owners everywhere to bring new challenges to rent ordinances.
NHLP Joins in an Amicus Brief Arguing that Homeless Shelters are covered by the Fair Housing Act
The National Housing Law Project joined several housing rights organizations, led by Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, as amicus in Intermountain Fair Housing Council v. Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, a case on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The appeal asks the Court to overturn a District Court ruling finding that homeless shelters are not “dwellings” for purposes of the Fair Housing Act. The case could significantly impact thousands of homeless individuals and families who should be protected from discrimination in shelters.
As Advocates Await Response, Renters Continue To Lose Their Homes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AS ADVOCATES AWAIT RESPONSE, RENTERS CONTINUE TO LOSE THEIR HOMES
A national coalition of housing advocates have yet to receive a response to their letters urging the Obama administration and attorneys general in all 50 states to pay attention to the hidden victims of the foreclosure crisis: the hundreds of thousands of renters who are living in foreclosed homes.
Public Housing Repairs Can’t Keep Pace With Need
The New York Times - October 24, 2010 - "Public Housing Repairs Can’t Keep Pace With Need" - By Cara Buckley
Public housing is falling apart around the country, as federal money has been unable to keep up with the repair needs of buildings more than half a century old.
Over the last 15 years, 150,000 of the nation’s public housing units have been lost, officials said, as agencies have sold or torn down decrepit properties. An additional 5,700 units are pending removal from federal public housing programs.
NHLP Launches Resident Engagement Initiative
-The future of the HUD rental assistance programs
Working with national advocates and HJN members from around the country, NHLP has recruited a representative group of public housing tenants and their partners and a representative group of voucher participants and their partners to engage with Secretary Donovan and HUD senior staff to discuss:
-The future of the HUD rental assistance programs
-Ways to maintain resident voices as policy proposals move forward
-Building an engaged and informed group of residents with ongoing, meaningful participatory role in HUD policies and programs
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Gives Major Policy Address at HJN Conference
TRA is designed to:
• Streamline and simplify HUD’s 13 rental assistance programs converting them to a single, integrated, coherent set of rules, delivered through a system that better aligns with the requirements of other financing streams and social service providers
• Shift from the public housing funding model to a rental subsidy funding stream that can attract capital from private and other public sources
• Shift from the public housing funding model to a rental subsidy funding stream that can attract capital from private and other public sources