Low-Income Public Housing (LIPH) units are owned and operated by housing authorities. Tenants pay 30% of their income to rent, minus applicable deductions. Units are subject to regular inspections by PHA management. Public housing tenants are also required to participate in monthly community service or self-sufficiency activities. Changes to income and household status must be reported to the housing authority within 10 days. Failure to do so may result in eviction. LIPH tenants are required to sign one year leases. HUD rules require that all household members receiving subsidies be able to prove legal residency. Read complete HUD rules regarding public housing in the HUD Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook.
Each PHA maintains a waiting list for public housing buildings in their area, though waiting list policies vary from housing authority to housing authority. Seattle Housing Authority requires that all people in line for public housing check in with them monthly by phone or the web in order to remain on the waiting list. For more information, see SHA Save My Spot.
PHAs also screen tenants based on rental history, criminal and credit records before approving them for public housing units. If you believe you are unfairly denied admission to a LIPH program you can request a grievance hearing by making a request in writing within 10 days of the denial. You may want to try to secure legal representation through Northwest Justice Project, Legal Action Center or the CLEAR line. See our Legal Assistance Guide for information and contact information.
Low-Income Public Housing (LIPH) tenants may have a slightly different experience with the eviction process. In some cases, there may be different notice periods for tenants, and good cause is required to evict a tenant from public housing. However, LIPH tenants still go through the same court system and process as all tenants. The Public Housing Authority (PHA) that owns and manages your housing is responsible for following federal regulation that sets the standards for how public housing evictions are to be handled. If you are evicted from public housing, you will lose your opportunity to receive federally assisted low-income housing.
Grounds for termination of the lease in LIPH include non-payment of rent or other serious or repeated violation of the lease; crime that threatens health, safety or quiet enjoyment of other tenants in the building; drug-related activity on or nearby the complex, or other good cause. Evictions in public housing for non-payment of rent require 14 days’ notice, which may be given before the service of a 3-day notice to pay or vacate. In some cases, the 14-day notice to pay rent or vacate may come instead of a 3-day notice. Public housing tenants may also receive 10-day notices to comply or vacate, during which timeframe a grievance hearing may be requested. Health or safety threats require 3 days’ notice, and termination at the end of a lease and all other causes require 30 days’ notice for termination. It is possible that policies will differ in different PHAs. Speak to an attorney for more information and advice on your specific situation. Washington Law Help has detailed information at Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent in Public or Subsidized Housing, Public Housing Evictions and Public Housing Grievance Hearings.
Grievance hearings are also required for tenants facing eviction from public housing, except in the case of drug-related activity or activity that threatens health and safety. The PHA is still required to take a tenant facing eviction through a court process. For more detailed information on eviction, see Eviction Process.
LIPH tenants are entitled to the right to form tenant councils to represent themselves to the housing authority. Some PHA’s have Resident Action Councils or Advisory Boards that support resident participation. Tenant councils are meant to give residents an opportunity to have their voice heard on PHA policies and procedures. Large PHA’s in Washington are required to have tenant participation on their Board of Commissioners. See the Seattle Housing Authority information on Councils & Committees.
Tenants Union Tenant Counselors are not attorneys, and this information should not be considered legal advice. Please read our full Tenant Union Disclaimer.