If you live in public housing, you can only be evicted for serious or repeated violations of material (important) terms of your lease or other good cause. This is sometimes called termination of tenancy.
Public housing is subsidized housing that is operated by a local housing commission.
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 usually move with the tenant. If a site-based tenant is evicted, they will lose their home. They will probably also lose their subsidy or have to go to the end of any waiting list for subsidized housing.
Contacting Legal Services
If you live in public housing and are facing eviction, you may want to speak with a lawyer. 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.
You cannot be evicted from public housing for just any lease violation. The violation must be serious or repeated, and it must involve a material lease term. Serious or repeated violations of material lease terms that can lead to eviction include:
Not paying rent or other obligations required under your lease
Criminal activity that threatens other tenants’ health, safety, or right to peacefully enjoy the property
Alcohol abuse that interferes with other tenants’ health, safety, or right to peacefully enjoy the property
Drug-related criminal activity by you, a member of your household, guest, or other person under your control
Violating probation or parole
You can’t be evicted for violence against you. If another member of your household is violent to you, the landlord can only evict that person. You and the rest of your family can stay in the home.
Criminal Activity Doesn’t Need a Conviction
There doesn’t have to be a criminal conviction for the local housing commission to evict you for criminal activity. To evict you, the local housing commission must show there is a preponderance of evidence the criminal activity in question happened.
Other Good Cause
Along with serious or repeated violations of material lease terms, you can also be evicted for “other good cause.” Examples of other good cause are:
The local housing authority learning about something that makes you ineligible for a subsidy after you’ve moved in
The local housing authority learning about false statements or fraud in your application or recertification
You not doing community service required in your rental agreement
Notice of the Eviction
As a tenant in public housing, you have the right to get notice of the eviction.
The notice of the eviction must state:
The date the owner wants you to move out
The reason(s) for eviction
That you have the right to examine your file
That you have the right to a hearing
The notice must be served by mail or by giving it to you. The date of the service is whichever happens last.
If the eviction is for nonpayment of rent, you must get it at least 14 days before an eviction case is started. To learn more about the demand for possession in an eviction for nonpayment of rent, read Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent
If the eviction is for illegal drug activity that took place in your home or on the premises, you must get notice at least 24 hours before an eviction case is started in court. If the eviction is for another reason, you should get the notice at least 30 days before an eviction case is started. To learn more about notice to quit in a termination of tenancy, read Eviction to Recover Possession of Property.
The Right to a Grievance Hearing
As a public housing tenant, you have the right to have a grievance hearing to appeal the decision to evict you. You can use this hearing to try to stop the eviction process. The housing commission may deny your hearing if you’re being evicted for criminal activity that threatens the health or safety of other tenants or the housing authority staff.
You must request a hearing within 10 days of getting the notice of the eviction.
You have the right to:
Have a lawyer or other advocate at the hearing
See any papers the local housing authority has about the hearing before the hearing
Present your own evidence
Question the local housing authority’s evidence
Ask any witnesses questions
Get a decision based on the evidence presented
You also have the right to get copies of all of the following:
The Grievance Procedure, which explains the rules for filing and handling a complaint
Documents in your tenant file
The housing commission's Admissions and Continuing Occupancy (ACOP) Policy, which explains the rules for applying for and living in public housing
Each local housing commission may have its own way to request a hearing. That process must be outlined in its Grievance Procedure.
You can find contact information for your local housing authority on HUD’s Public Housing Authority Contact Information website.
After the Grievance Hearing
If the hearing decision is in your favor, the local housing commission can’t proceed with the eviction. If the hearing decision is not in your favor, the local housing commission can start an eviction court case against you. To learn more about the eviction process, read Eviction: What is it and How Does It Start?