Evictions From Multifamily Subsidized Housing

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If you live in multifamily privately-owned subsidized housing, you can only be evicted for one of the following reasons:

  • A material lease violation

  • Drug abuse or criminal activity

  • Not doing something the law requires you to do

  • Other good cause

Multifamily Housing

Some multifamily subsidized housing is owned and operated by private owners. The owners get government subsidies that lower their costs. In exchange they provide apartments for low and moderate-income people. If you’re a tenant in this kind of housing, the owner of the property is your landlord.

This is site-based subsidized housing. The subsidy is attached to the rental unit. If a site-based tenant moves out of a unit, the subsidy does not normally move with the tenant. If a site-based tenant is evicted, they will lose their home. They will also probably lose their subsidy or have to go to the end of the waiting list for subsidized housing.

Some evictions, such as those for criminal activity, may keep you from getting a new subsidy for many years.

Contacting Legal Services

If you live in subsidized housing and are facing eviction, you might be able to have a lawyer represent you in your eviction or subsidy termination hearing at no cost. If you have a low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have a low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area. If you are not able to get free legal services but can’t afford high legal fees, consider hiring a lawyer for part of your case instead of the whole thing. This is called limited scope representation. To learn more, read Limited Scope Representation (LSR): A More Affordable Way to Hire a Lawyer. To find a limited scope lawyer, follow this link to the State Bar of Michigan lawyer directory. This link lists lawyers who offer limited scope representation. You can narrow the results to lawyers in your area by typing in your county, city, or zip code at the top of the page. You can also narrow the results by topic by entering the kind of lawyer you need (divorce, estate, etc.) at the top of the page.

Material Lease Violation

A material lease violation means that you broke the lease, either by doing something you shouldn’t have done or by not doing something you should have done. It can include:

  • One or more substantial lease violations

  • Repeated minor violations of the lease

  • Not paying rent or other payment after the grace period

Substantial Lease Violations

A substantial lease violation is a serious violation of an important part of your lease. It can include:

  • Subletting the home or letting lodgers live there

  • Using the home as something other than a home

  • Not keeping the home in good condition

  • Not paying for damage your family or guests caused

  • Giving information you know is false, incomplete, or inaccurate in the recertification process

Repeated Minor Lease Violations

You can’t be evicted for minor lease violations unless there is a pattern of them. Minor violations can include:

  • Threatening the health or safety of other people on the property

  • Interfering with other people’s peaceful enjoyment of the property

  • Interfering with the management of the property

  • Paying rent or other obligations late but during the grace period

Drug-Related and Other Criminal Activity

You can be evicted for drug-related criminal activity and other criminal activity committed by you, a household member, a guest, or another person under your control.

You can be evicted for criminal activity that’s not drug-related if it threatens other residents’ health, safety, or peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

You should not be evicted for violence against you. If another member of your household is violent towards you, the landlord can evict that person while you and the rest of your family stay in the home.

Other Good Cause

You can be evicted for “other good cause.” You can only be evicted for good cause at the end of your lease. The owner must give you some notice that something you did could be a reason for eviction before the owner evicts you for that reason. This is so you have a chance to correct the problem.

Violence against you is not good cause to evict you. If one member of your household is violent towards another, the landlord can evict just that person while the rest of your family can stay in the home.

Tenant Rights Before Eviction

As a tenant in multifamily privately-owned subsidized housing, you have the right to all of the following:

  • Review your file

  • Get notice of the eviction

  • Meet with the owner to discuss the eviction

The notice of the eviction must state all of the following:

  • The date the owner wants you to move out

  • The reasons for eviction

  • The owner has the right to evict you through the court process

  • If it’s an eviction for not paying your rent, the amount you owe and the date that was calculated

  • That you have the right to request a meeting with the owner within 10 days of the notice

The notice must be served by first class mail and by giving it to you. The date of the service is whichever happens last.

The Right to Meet with the Owner

You have the right to meet with the owner to discuss the eviction. This is not a formal grievance process. You do not have the right to a hearing or review with your local housing agency. You do have the right to have an advocate with you at the meeting, including a lawyer.

You must let the owner know you want a meeting within 10 days of getting the notice. Request the meeting by writing a letter to the private owner. Take the letter and one copy to the owner’s office. Ask the staff person to stamp or mark your copy to show it was received.

You can use the meeting to try to resolve the problem with your landlord and avoid eviction. For example, if you’re being evicted for not paying your rent, you could pay the rent you owe at the meeting. If you do, get a receipt. Or you could agree to stop doing something your landlord wants to evict you for. You can also ask about the facts leading up to the eviction or to see your file. The landlord should let you see the file, and that could help you prepare for an eviction trial.

If the problem is not resolved at the meeting, your landlord can start an eviction case against you. To learn about the eviction process, read Eviction: What is it and How Does It Start?