WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) joined Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) in introducing the Housing Accountability Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation to hold Section 8 housing landlords accountable for poor living conditions. Following introduction of the bill, Congressman Hill and Congressman Cohen released the following statements:
“In my home state of Arkansas, we have seen a direct relationship between investing in communities and fostering economic revitalization with job creation and increased personal opportunity,” said Congressman Hill. “But far too often, we see some landlords who accept government subsidies for Section 8 housing fail to provide safe and healthy living conditions for Arkansas families. I've toured Section 8 housing properties in central Arkansas and seen how this neglect can be detrimental for struggling families who feel they have no recourse to report issues with their rental property. Holding Section 8 housing landlords responsible for providing a sanitary living environment will help put more Arkansas families back on a path to prosperity.”
“Lack of effective oversight by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development results in some property managers failing to maintain safe and healthy living conditions for their tenants,” said Congressman Cohen. “This bill provides for twice-yearly surveys of residents to determine the physical condition and maintenance of their homes. It also calls for a review of HUD housing to assure the best use of taxpayer dollars.”
The Housing Accountability Act (HAA) would make four important reforms to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) oversight of public housing facilities:
Codifies a regulation that requires subsidized property owners to maintain safe and sanitary conditions at their properties
Establishes a process for independent contract to administer a semi-annual survey that allows tenants to report problems at their property
Creates a new penalty for owners that fail to meet safe and sanitary conditions, or are repeatedly referred to HUD for remediation under the tenant survey established under the bill.
Requires HUD to submit a report to Congress examining the capital reserves of public housing and how these funds are used for purposes other than maintenance and property improvement
Identical legislation, S. 1270, was introduced earlier this year in the Senate by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN).