A Section 8 eviction of a tenant receiving benefits under the program is different from a typical eviction. Primarily, the presence of the government and rules of the Section 8 program provide only a few grounds for evicting a tenant, making it more difficult. However, despite these difficulties and the presence of the government in the landlord-tenant relationship, it is possible to evict a Section 8 tenant.
The Party Initiating the Eviction
The landlord is responsible for evicting a tenant receiving benefits from the Section 8 program. Despite the fact that the government pays a portion of rent, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the local housing authority cannot have a tenant evicted from the landlord’s property. However, the housing authority must be notified of the eviction. Typically, this notification occurs by the landlord providing the housing authority a copy of the initial notice.
Laws Governing a Section 8 Eviction
In a Section 8 eviction the landlord must abide by state and local laws governing evictions and the terms set forth in the lease. Typically, this means that the tenant must receive written notice anywhere from sixty to ninety days prior to the impending eviction. Additionally, some states have created rules and procedures to follow in a Section 8 eviction. Commonly, these rules require notification that the landlord receives permission from the housing authority to proceed against the tenant. Failure to obtain housing authority’s permission, however, does not prevent the eviction action, but the landlord must then name the housing authority as a co-defendant with the tenant.
Non-Payment of Rent
A Section 8 tenant can be evicted for non-payment of the tenant portion of rent. In this instance, the housing authority must be notified of the impending eviction and that non-payment of the tenant’s rent obligation is the basis for eviction. If the tenant has failed to pay their portion of rent, the landlord must provide him with the option to pay the overdue rent. If the tenant still fails to pay within the stated time period, the landlord may then continue with the eviction.
Other Grounds for Eviction
Tenants participating in the Section 8 program can also be evicted for reasons other than non-payment of rent. Illegal use of the property, drug abuse or a conviction of one of the tenants for drug-related criminal activity are valid grounds for evicting a tenant. Failing to submit income verification forms, proof of United States citizenship and failure to make property repairs or breaking the terms of the lease are additional grounds for eviction. Finally, a tenant subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender can be evicted. In all of these situations, the tenant may lose their eligibility for benefits.
The Eviction Process
After the landlord notifies the housing authority of his intent to evict a Section 8 tenant and the period permitting the tenant to rectify the problems ends, the eviction action proceeds like any other eviction. The next step is for the landlord to file a court case, commonly called an “Unlawful Detainer Action.” If the tenant fails to respond to appear in court or otherwise respond to the action, the landlord may then remove the tenant’s belongings and change the locks on the apartment. In most states, the police and not the landlord removes the tenant’s possessions.
Despite the requirement of notifying the local housing authority, evicting a Section 8 tenant is the same as evicting any other tenant. In any eviction action, it is imperative for both parties to keep records of the actions leading to the eviction.