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Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby Mjvf3811 » Fri May 01, 2020 8:40 pm

Hello All!

Thank you for your responses in advance.

I was a co-tenant of an apartment in a Mitchell Lama Section 8 rental.

The leaseholder transferred the section 8 voucher to an apartment in another state, and notified the building’s management company of her departure. I currently am still in the apartment and was added to the lease for January 1, 2019. The property manager told me that I need to leave the apartment.

I am so confused about succession rights and am hoping to gain clarity. It seems like I would have succession rights being that I moved into the apartment in 2015 and have proof of my tenancy since that time. Does the transferring of the leaseholder’s section 8 interfere with my claim and approval for succession?

Please give your input. I know consulting an attorney is advisable and I have, but it seems difficult to find a lawyer who is knowledgeable in Mitchell Lama, succession, and how portability interferes. To be fair, I contacted free housing law programs in NYC. Thank you.
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Fri May 01, 2020 10:30 pm

I need a little clarity on this situation.

First, you said you were a "co-tenant" but then you say the "leaseholder" up and left. Both cannot be correct. If you were a co-tenant, that would mean you are a leaseholder. If not, then you would likely have been a roommate, occupant, subtenant or undertenant. (sublet is also a term that is used, but that's something else).

When you say you were "added to the lease," added as what? What does the lease actually say? Does it list you as one of two tenants, or you as a roommate?

Don't take the property manager's demand seriously, at lease not yet. At a certain point, you may wish to consult with a tenant attorney. The first step is to get a clear assessment of your status.

Succession is for family members or non-traditional families. Most of the attorneys who advertise here should be familiar with ML-Sec 8 situations.
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby Mjvf3811 » Sat May 02, 2020 8:48 am

Thank you for your response.

Sorry for the confusion. The lease lists me as a tenant. I am the co-tenant, but as of April 30, 2020 - the original leaseholder has left the property. The public housing agency that manages the section 8 issued a transferable section 8 voucher (it’s just a voucher for her) that she used to move to another state. The PHA also told me that I would not be eligible for section 8 and need to leave the apartment because I don’t have Section 8. So I am in the apartment still and I am now the primary tenant. The property manager called me on 4/24 and told me I need to leave on May 1 because the former leaseholder is leaving on 4/30. The property manager said he would not be issuing a lease in my name.

I meet the definition of family member for succession rights, but am not sure if I am actually entitled to succession because the former leaseholder (that has left on 4/30) was issued a separate voucher.

Please let me know if I have clarified the confusion. Thank you again for your response(s).
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Sat May 09, 2020 3:50 pm

Sorry for the delay. I've asked a person who used to live in a ML/S8 complex. While there are similarities between RS and ML, there are also differences - and I'm not an expert on ML/S8.

I do know that in order to get you out, they have to go through the courts, and right now the courts are closed. So I doubt there's anything they can do right now.

You say you meed the definition for succession. Does that mean you are an actual family member of the departed tenant? There is a list of who qualifies and who does not. For non-traditional family relationships, there is a complex series of questions.

But I don't think succession matters in your case as you already are listed as a tenant.

My question is whether a Section 8 voucher - of lack of one - can negate your tenancy rights.
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Mon May 11, 2020 10:56 am

We asked a friend about this situation. He used to run the tenant association of a large ML/S8 complex, but that was many years ago. He's a bit rusty on the subject, and chances are that rules have changed. This may not answer your question. In the end, it might be best to consult with a tenant lawyer who knows HUD.

I don't remember much about the rules. As far as I do remember, if a person is a bonafide tenant than they "shouldn't" be able to kick him out. If there are two people and one moves out and they were in a 1-bedroom apartment, they could make him move down to a studio because of apartment size allocations.

As to vouchers - there was a lot of talk about them when I was involved, but they never got connected [in our complex]. As I remember, they can be used in different HUD buildings so someone could move from one HUD building to another, but it was not at the choice of the tenant, but rather of HUD so the tenant didn't have much say - it didn't seem to make anyone happy. As I remember, it didn't really take off at the time anyway and was mostly talk within HUD.
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby Mjvf3811 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:36 pm

Thank you all.

Yes I am a tenant on the lease, and yes I am the daughter of the previous leaseholder who vacated as of April 30, 2020. I think what makes this case so difficult is that my mother was issued a separate voucher and allowed to leave the apartment. The complex I live in has both section 8 apartments and tax credit units. Because I do not have a voucher of my own, I thought my building would transfer me to a tax credit apartment and I'd go on with my life. The property manager told me that he is not willing to do such, and that I need to leave.

I've contacted several free legal housing and tenants rights organizations. Everyone has different answers. Legal Aid told me that I might have rights to an apartment within the building, Brooklyn Legal Services said that I definitely have rights to the apartment and Section 8, and Tenants and Neighbors said I don't have any rights. I have been just waiting and praying. The eviction moratorium has been extended throughout 8/20 so I have about 2 more months to prepare to pay for a private attorney. Thank you all for your assistance and wish me well please.
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jun 04, 2020 8:35 pm

Again, I can't quote ML rules chapter and verse, but being the daughter of the lease tenant, then you might have a case for succession rights.

Do not vacate no matter how much pressure they put on you. Only a judge can evict. I would get legal help ASAP and document everything that happens in the meantime.

As for help, I would not trust Tenants & Neighbors (of course they will say the same thing about us). They are not lawyers. Neither are we, but we say so up front.

It sounds like the Legal Aid and BKLS responses are similar ... they both say you have some rights, while they might differ on the details. If you qualify for free help, I would consider it and go with the one with whom you had the best gut feeling. I had help from a similar organization and I lucked out - the attorney I got worked as hard as any private attorney would.

But you also take your chances with private attorneys, and you end up having to pay a lot of money.
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Re: Mitchell Lama Section 8 Rental - DHCR

Postby Mjvf3811 » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:23 pm

Thank you.

I was issued a lease in my name that expires on 12/31/2020. I am hoping that if they do decide to file a case in housing court - this helps me to secure the section 8 apartment I am in, or at the very least - the building is forced to transfer me to one of their vacant tax credit apartments. It would be nice to have my own Section 8 voucher, but being in a rent stabilized apartment means the most to me right now.

I believe I qualify for free legal assistance, but would be unable to actually get help from an attorney until the building‘s legal team files a case in court. Hopefully, they allow me an apartment and court intervention is not necessary.

Thank you again. I will update with new information as time goes on.
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