Commissioner Rebeca Sosa urges passage of the Housing Accountability Act of 2016
County Commissioners adopted a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa urging Congress to pass Senate Bill 3219 titled the Housing Accountability Act of 2016. The bipartisan bill was filed by Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio in July of this year to help combat substandard living conditions in low-income housing facilities.
The impetus for the bill came after certain federally subsidized housing programs in the cities of Jacksonville and Orlando were found to be in squalid conditions. Issues at these locations brought to light the need for a mechanism to penalize Section 8 owners for not maintaining their properties to the housing quality standards outlined in the United States Housing Act of 1937. Currently, regulators may only terminate the contract, or suspend or reduce the housing assistance payments to offenders. To strengthen the law, the Housing Accountability Act of 2016 provides the Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the ability to impose monetary penalties on Section 8 landlords who repeatedly fail semiannual tenant surveys and whose properties are found not in compliance. Moreover, the bill stipulates that any monies generated by the fines be used to support safe and sanitary conditions in public housing and help relocate affected tenants.
“No one should have to suffer through deplorable living conditions for fear of retaliation from their landlord,” said Commissioner Sosa. “The addition of directly surveying tenants coupled with stiff fines should help to ensure that owners comply and provide quality affordable housing. I commend Senators Nelson and Rubio for always putting the community first, and I sincerely hope Congress gives the bill final approval.”
Link to the Housing Accountability Act of 2016 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s3219is/pdf/BILLS-114s3219is.pdf
Link to legislation filed by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/legistarfiles/Matters/Y2016/161810.pdf