GARY ALLEN LAW
Section 8 tenancies are different than unsubsidized tenancies
LANDLORDS MAY NOT DISCRIMINATE WHEN THE RENT IS PAID WITH A SUBSIDY
Tenants with Section 8 vouchers have extra protections to help them with their housing needs.
Landlords in Massachusetts may not refuse to rent to a tenant because the tenant has a Section 8 voucher. If a landlord tells a tenant it won’t rent to them because they have Section 8 assistance, it is called source of income discrimination, and it is a violation of Massachusetts’ discrimination statute, Chapter 151B. A tenant who is refused housing because they have a Section 8 voucher can make a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, or the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the City of Boston’s Department of Fair Housing and Equity.
LANDLORDS HAVE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITES IN SECTION 8 TENANCIES
Landlords who have Section 8 tenancies have certain responsibilities that may be different than they do to tenants without subsidies. In addition to a lease, a landlord signs a contract with a Section 8 administrator to ensure they get paid every month. Landlords must comply with all the requirements of both the lease and the contract with the administrator.
Landlords must seek approval for rent increases from the administrator before raising a tenant’s rent.
Landlords must give notice to the administrator before starting eviction proceedings against a Section 8 tenant.
Landlords cannot demand or accept money from Section 8 tenants in excess of what the administrator’s contract says they can accept. If the landlord charges the tenant more than the agreed upon rent, the extra rent is called a “side payment” and it can lead to serious financial consequences for a landlord. Similarly if a Section 8 contract requires a landlord to provide utilities, but the landlord makes the tenant pay for utilities, the tenant will have recourse against the landlord. Tenants are entitled to recover any payments they made in excess of contract rent or for utilities which were not their contractual responsibility.
If you rent housing with a Section 8 voucher, or if you are a landlord with a Section 8 tenancy, contact Attorney Gary Allen if you need assistance navigating a Section 8 issue.