Subsidized Housing Evictions

Updated February 2017   Fact Sheet PDF


Introduction

Federally subsidized housing includes several programs used widely throughout the nation. Those programs include Project-Based Section 8 Vouchers, Tenant-Based Section 8 Vouchers, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME, and other programs to receive funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

 

Your Rights

If you receive housing through one of the rental programs listed above, then you cannot be evicted without "good cause."

 

Good Cause

“Good cause” is defined for each housing rental program. There can be different definitions of good cause depending on the type of housing program you participate in. Good cause can usually be defined as a serious violation of your lease agreement. Additionally, repeated minor violations can equal good cause.

 

Good cause includes:

  • a serious (or repeated) violation of the conditions of the lease
  • a violation of applicable federal, state, or local law
  • other good causes defined in your lease agreement

 

Good cause does not include:

  • immorality—your landlord cannot evict you merely because your lifestyle does not fit their moral beliefs
  • exercising rights—joining a tenant’s council, filing a complaint against your landlord, or exercising rights in any legal way should not result in eviction

 

Missing Your Rent Deadlines

If you miss your rent payments, then your landlord has a “good cause” to evict you. However, if you miss your payment, you will probably be able to avoid eviction by arranging to pay the landlord. You must let your landlord know as soon as you see that a personal hardship will prevent you from paying on time. You will probably not be evicted for making your payment late once or even three times in a year. 

 

If you repeatedly pay rent late or altogether miss your payment, you can be evicted. The amount of time you will be given in an eviction action depends on the type of housing program you participate in.

 

Falsifying Information or Breaking the Law

You can be evicted if your landlord discovers that false information regarding your criminal history was submitted. An important fact is whether the initial application requested criminal history information.

 

You can also be evicted for drug-related criminal activity on or off the premises or criminal activity that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

 

Notice Requirements

There is some form of notice required for each of these federally-assisted housing programs. Usually, the notice must meet the standards of both the lease and the state law. Arkansas law requires at least a three-day notice for nonpayment of rent. Once notice has been given, the landlord can begin the unlawful detainer process.

 

You should expect to see the following:

  • the date when your lease agreement terminates
  • the reason for the termination
  • when you can request an administrative hearing concerning the termination
 

Administrative hearings are not available for all housing programs. Remember to read your eviction notice carefully.

 

Eviction vs. Termination of Assistance

An “eviction” is a legal process to get the court’s permission to allow law enforcement to force you to leave your home. A “termination of housing assistance” is a legal process which ends your rental assistance payments. If you are a part of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, a termination of assistance does not necessarily mean you are being evicted. However, it does mean that you will owe your landlord the full amount of rent. You should always read your notices to understand the process you are involved in.

 

If you have any questions concerning “good cause” evictions or requesting a grievance hearing, contact the Center of Arkansas Legal Services or Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID. 

 

This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit arlegalservices.org. For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit arlegalaid.org. Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.

 

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