Sunday, February 27, 2011

Opt-out owner has to keep Section 8 tenants

Well, good.

Bob Egelko in the SF Chron describes a nice federal appellate decision this past Friday -- something to stick in the craw of Section 8 privatization. As he explains, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that an Oakland landlord who bought a Section 8 property and chose to opt out of the federal housing subsidy program still had to keep 15 elderly tenants at their current rents. If I have this right, the landlord of the Park Village Apartments can take or leave the subsidy, but he can't demand market rents from the protected tenants themselves.

The case is Park Village Apartment Tenants Association v. Mortimer Howard Trust. A link to the decision is at the end of the article. It's a hefty opinion, explaining the workings of Section 8 "enhanced vouchers" in some detail.

As the Chron article notes, there is one weird wrinkle to the decision: although the landlord has to keep the tenants' payments down, and he's entitled to collect federal subsidies for the difference between those payments and market rate, he doesn't have to sign a contract with the Oakland Housing Authority.

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