Public housing is when the government owns an apartment building or house and rents it out to families with low income. The family pays a portion of the rent based on the family's income. Rent is lower than it would be in a private apartment. This is different from Section 8 housing.
An eviction from public housing is serious. If evicted, tenants generally will not be able to live in public housing again for at least 3 to 5 years.
The landlord in charge of a public housing building must have good cause to evict a tenant. The possible reasons should be listed in the lease. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Not paying rent
- Serious or repeated violations of important lease terms
- Drug-related criminal activity by the tenant or any invited guests
- Certain other criminal activity by the tenant or any invited guests
- Drug or alcohol abuse which threatens the health or safety of others, or which seriously and repeatedly disturbs others
- Having people not listed on the lease live in the unit
- Providing false information to the housing authority
- Having the utilities disconnected
- Failure to comply with work or community service requirements
An arrest or conviction is not necessary for a tenant to be evicted from public housing for criminal activity. The landlord only has to show that it is more likely than not that the criminal activity happened.
A tenant can be evicted for the criminal activity of a member of their household, a guest, or other person under their control even if they knew nothing about the criminal activity.
A landlord may not evict any Section 8 tenant for complaining about the conditions in the unit, or because of race, ethnicity, national origin, age, family status, disability, or military status. If a landlord evicts a tenant for any of these reasons, it may be housing discrimination.
If you have a disability, and the reason for the eviction is caused by your disability, you might be able to ask for a reasonable accommodation to avoid the eviction.
Updated: January 2017