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Rubio Reintroduces Bill to Protect Tenants and Hold Slumlords Accountable

May 1, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Todd Young (R-IN) reintroduced the Housing Accountability Act of 2019, legislation that would hold property owners of low-income housing accountable for poor living conditions. Specifically, the legislation would require residents of private properties that have Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts to be surveyed twice a year in order to determine the existence of persistent problems with a property’s physical condition or management.
Rubio visited Section 8 housing properties in 2016, including properties managed by slumlords such as Global Ministries Foundation, and reintroduced legislation earlier this month 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.
“This important legislation builds on my efforts to help those suffering in substandard HUD housing and ensure tenants feel secure in speaking out about unsafe, unhealthy living conditions,” Rubio said. “Slumlords, like Global Ministries Foundation, have preyed on low income housing residents for far too long while stealing taxpayer dollars, and it’s long overdue that Congress held them accountable for their despicable actions.”
“Fixing the current housing crisis is a main priority in my Fair Shot Agenda. It is very important that tenants have the opportunity to report issues with their rental property without fear of retaliation from the owner or landlord,” Young said. “The Housing Accountability Act will empower tenants to report issues such as lead poisoning or structural deficiencies directly to HUD for closer review. This will ensure bad actors are held accountable and help maintain a suitable living environment for all Americans.”
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.