The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) aims to provide low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled with the ability to afford safe and sanitary housing in the private market through its Housing Choice Voucher program. Two landlords in Colorado took advantage of this program and an eligible family by charging them $18,000 more in rent than they were allowed to collect.
The voucher program involves a public housing agency (PHA), which pays a housing subsidy directly to a participating landlord on behalf of the person or family. (The landlord agrees not to collect any additional payments other than the portion authorized by the PHA.) The landlords in today’s case charged $18,000 in excess rent and entered into a lease extension that increased the family’s rent payment. (This was in violation of the voucher program. The PHA determines the maximum amount of rent, not the landlord.)
The landlord entered into a civil settlement and did not admit liability. They agreed to pay $73,650 to the federal government to settle the case involving the Section 8 tenants. The landlords’ actions not only took advantage of their tenant, they also undermined the HUD mission. (They are fortunate that the government did not require them to live behind bars where the conditions may not be quite as sanitary and safe as they are accustomed to.)