CLRP

Housing Subsidies - Hearing Rights


If your apartment is subsidized by Section 8, RAP, T-RAP, Shelter Plus Care or  DMHAS, or you live in  subsidized public housing  (i.e. housing funded by HUD,  or the State of Connecticut  which is managed  by either a public housing authority or a private landlord)   there are rules that you must follow in order to keep your subsidy:



  • First,  you must comply with the landlord tenant laws (LINK TO WHATEVER WE HAVE ON THAT) and the provisions of your lease, like any other tenant. 

  • In addition every kind of subsidized housing  requires that you


    • promptly report any changes in  your income, and

    • comply with their recertification procedures .



There are also rules that the agency that administers the subsidy or certificate must follow before they can terminate your subsidy.   These rules give  you the rights to



  • a meeting or hearing before your subsidy is cut off, and

  • to appeal the decision. 

Housing subsidies come in many forms.  All of them use your income to calculate how much rent you will pay, and how much will be subsidized.  Most require that you pay 30-40% of your income, while the remaining 60-70% is subsidized and is payed by the funder. 
The subsidies can be in the form of vouchers or certificates that you can use to  rent an apartment of your choice:

  • Section 8 Housing Vouchers are funded by the federal (U.S.) government, administered locally, and can be used anywhere in the U.S. A. 
  • RAP certificates are very similar to Section 8 vouchers, but are funded by the state of Connecticut, and can only be used in this state.  Some RAP certificates are assigned to particular towns or particular programs (i.e. Shelter Plus Care) and cannot be moved.  Others can. 
  • DMHAS also funds housing for people who are ineligible or on a waiting list for other subsidies

Many housing authorities and housing complexes have subsidies (state and federal).  These housing projects are  usually funded by the federal government (HUD) but some are state and locally funded.  The source of the funding will determine the specific rules that the property managers have to follow, but they are generally very similar.  This kind of housing includes:

  • project based Section 8,
  • public housing authorities,
  • elderly and disabled housing 

All of the subsidies are based on a percentage of your (the tenant’s) income and  all of them require

  1. that you (the tenant) provide information that can be double checked (verified) every year (recertification) and that
  2. you immediately report any changes in income. 
    1. If you report that your income has gone down, your rent will go down soon. 
    2. On the other hand, when  your income increases, your rent will increase.
    3.  In most cases, your rent cannot increase without giving you 30 days notice. 
    4. If you delay in reporting your increased income, you can lose that notice time, and worse, you can lose your subsidy altogether.   

There are other tenant obligations in subsidized housing. (LINK).  The ones mentioned here are the ones that  could be avoided most ealisly that most often cause people to lose their subsidies. 

Your rights.
               
If  your subsidy is going to be terminated, you are entitled to receive

  • a notice,
    •  in writing,
    • of what the reason is for the termination and
    • your right to dispute the termination.
  • The notice should also tell you that you have a right to
    • review the file
    • question their witnesses,
    • bring your own witnesses,
    • offer your own evidence and
    • bring an attorney with you. 

 Most notices give you about 10 days to request a meeting or a hearing.  (The law is vague about whether a meeting is the same as a hearing, but it is clear that you have a right to a hearing.)  

Finally, the hearing officer, who decides whether to uphold the decision to terminate yoru subsidy, cannot be the same person who made the decision to terminate, and cannot report to (be supervised by) the person who made that decision. 

IF YOU  OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW RECEIVES SUCH A NOTICE,
REQUEST THE MEETING OR HEARING RIGHT AWAY.

  • If you don’t request the meeting or hearing (in writing) you may lose your right to the hearing, and you will lose your subsidy. 
  • You can go to such a meeting or a hearing on your own, but if you can arrange for legal assistance from CLRP or another legal services organization it is much better. 
  • It is very hard to get a subsidy reinstated and much better, if possible, to avoid losing it in the first place. 
  • Sometimes termination notices are based on mistaken information.  Sometimes, they are based on reasons that are not sufficient reasons to terminate a subsidy. 

IF YOU  OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW RECEIVES SUCH A NOTICE,
CALL CLRP RIGHT AWAY.