Basics of Public Housing and Other Subsidized Housing
For public housing and other "project-based" housing subsidies, unlike Section 8, tenants reside in a certain building in which a housing subsidy is received. Tenants have the greatest protection from eviction or lease termination out of all types of housing. In fact, tenants may only be required to leave "for cause" (ex: if they violated their rental agreement). Rent for most, but not all, tenants in public or subsidized housing, is capped at 30% of tenant income.
To apply for public housing, applicants need to apply with HPHA. There are other subsidized housing buildings managed by various private owners with which an applicant will need to apply directly. Legal Aid has information regarding these other subsidized housing opportunities. Applying at one site will not mean you will be considered for all available opportunities. The waiting lists for subsidized housing are generally long.
Application of the Landlord Tenant Code:
The Code does not apply to public housing. Instead, separate HPHA rules apply along with federal laws and regulations. Tenants are evicted through an administrative process within HPHA instead of the court system. This process has additional protections for the tenant to ensure they are not improperly evicted. The Code applies to other types of subsidized housing. Tenants are evicted through the regular court process.
Eviction = Loss of Housing and Loss of Subsidy:
If a tenant is evicted from public or subsidized housing, they will lose both their housing and their subsidy with little chance of getting into subsidized housing again. Eviction must be avoided at all costs.
Due Process Rights:
If eviction is threatened, the tenant has some due process rights to dispute the eviction. In public housing, tenants should make use of the grievance process, under which they are entitled to a hearing to dispute the eviction or any other adverse action taken against them by HPHA. In other types of subsidized housing, tenants are entitled to dispute the eviction in various ways, usually through an informal meeting with the landlord, and later through the court process.
VAWA applies to public housing as well as Section 8. It does not apply to other housing subsidies. See the description of VAWA on the previous page for additional information.