5B. Enforcing HUD’s Decent, Safe, and Sanitary Regulations
Historically, HUD has failed to adequately enforce the decent, safe and sanitary provisions of it housing assistance payment (HAP) contracts. HUD regulations allow the agency to terminate HAP contracts with owners who consistently fail to comply with this requirement. However, HUD has consistently failed to enforce its own regulations against owners who are not in compliance. As such, Lone Star Legal Aid’s Fair Housing team has recently filed two federal suits against HUD and two Section 8 Project-based apartment complexes in Houston. The suits are based on two claims: (1) The substandard conditions of the apartment complexes violate HUD regulations and (2) HUD’s failure to terminate the HAP contract created a prima facie case of racial discrimination giving rise to a claim under the Fair Housing Act. This workshop will discuss both claims in detail and educate advocates and tenant organizers of the research and outreach conducted in anticipation of filing the complaint as well as tenants’ rights concerns that have developed since the initiation of the suits.