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Rubio Reintroduces Housing Accountability Act to Protect Tenants and Hold Slumlords Accountable

Mar 24, 2021 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the Housing Accountability Act, legislation that would hold property owners of low-income housing accountable for poor living conditions. Specifically, the legislation would require residents of private properties that have Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts to be surveyed twice a year in order to determine the existence of persistent problems with a property’s physical condition or management. U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) will introduce identical legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
In 2016, Rubio visitó Section 8 housing properties, including properties managed by slumlords such as Global Ministries Foundation, and forced a change in ownership at the dilapidated property in Jacksonville, Florida. He has continued to push for legislation to improve federal housing inspections and hold slumlords accountable. To see a full timeline of Rubio’s efforts to protect low income housing tenants click here.
“I have seen firsthand how slumlords like Global Ministries Foundation prey on low-income housing residents while simultaneously stealing taxpayer dollars,” Rubio said. “The living conditions in these complexes are not just substandard; they are despicable and inhumane. It’s time for Congress to hold slumlords accountable and protect those tenants of HUD housing.” 
“Inadequate oversight by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) results in some property managers failing to meet their obligation to maintain safe and healthy living conditions for their tenants,” Cohen said. “The Housing Accountability Act provides for twice-yearly surveys of residents to determine the physical condition and maintenance needs of their homes. It also calls for a review of HUD housing policy to assure the best use of taxpayer dollars. I’m pleased to be working with Senator Rubio on this much-needed reform.” 
The Housing Accountability Act (HAA) codifies sanitation standards and requires the Performance-Based Contract Administrator (PBCA) of properties receiving Housing Assistance Payments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer a semi-annual survey that allows tenants to report problems at their property.
The Secretary of HUD would have the ability to refer properties for remediation or fine owners of neglected Section 8 properties based on the surveys and PBCA observation. The revenues generated from the fines may only be used to improve the conditions at the property or finance tenant relocation. Lastly, the HAA requires HUD to submit a report to Congress detailing the capital reserves for Section 8 properties and how these funds are used for purposes other than maintenance and property improvement.