PROTECTION

Asserting the  rights of tenants and breaking down barriers to access

Housing Justice is about the rights of people to have safe, stable, affordable places to call home in communities of all types. Where barriers exist that prevent people from accessing affordable housing, HJC works with our partners to break down barriers through legal advocacy and policy advocacy.

We do this by:

  • pursuing anti-displacement policies
  • engaging in fair housing impact litigation
  • researching the barrier to access and how to eliminate them
  • challenging illegal rent increases and other violations of federal programs

Our Work in this Area

Reducing barriers to housing access

In the course of negotiating a settlement with a large property owner HJC was struck with the arbitrariness of the screening criteria being used. As we investigated further the range of screening standards used by many different landlords, several things became clear : as to the standards within those criteria (which criminal violations disqualify, what credit score is sufficient, what income level is adequate, etc) there is no recognized set of best practices, and those standards vary widely among landlords.

HJC contributes to Third Circuit Decision Upholding Tenant Protections

Across the country, many privately owned HUD-financed affordable apartment complexes include partial or 100% project-based Section 8 contracts which provide rent subsidies for the lowest income tenants. When those Section 8 contracts come up for renewal, owners have the opportunity to “opt out” or not renew the Section 8 contracts. In order to protect the low-income tenants from the loss of the project based subsidy, HUD will normally provide vouchers as a substitute, known as Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) and Enhanced Vouchers.