Get ready, Orlando, for lots of evictionsThe Orlando Housing Authority will pay more than $1.14 million in
Section 8 rent subsidies* for units that fail to comply with housing quality standards, estimates an audit by HUD’s inspector general.
The auditors found electrical hazards such as exposed wiring and inoperable smoke detectors as well as cracked carport ceiling support beams, damaged doors and broken air conditioners.
In its response, OHA complains that the audit didn’t consider the impact of the three hurricanes that hit Orlando in 2004 (a year before the audit). OHA also blames the problems on normal wear and tear and/or tenant-caused damage.
OHA says the tenants didn’t complain and signed inspection forms that indicated no problems. But let’s put that in context. You’re a single working mother receiving Section 8 benefits and your landlord won’t renew your lease. With three kids, you’re looking for a two-bedroom apartment. The difficult part is you’ve got to find one for $858 or less, which is not easy in Orlando. See previous post here. You’ve been looking for weeks and you’re running out of time. The only place you can find has an exposed wire and a damaged door, but the OHA inspector approves the apartment. Would you complain? Or would you just move in?
The audit recommends that OHA abate Section 8 subsidies or terminate the contracts on all units that do not meet standards if the violations are not corrected promptly.
If the rental payments stop, the next step is very predictable: the landlord will evict the tenants.
Read the entire audit report, including OHA’s response, here.
* A Section 8 rental subsidy is a federal payment to a landlord on behalf of an individual tenant. The Orlando Housing Authority has stopped taking applications because its waiting list contains more than 3,500 names.