SCLS Housing Solution

Posted on September 21, 2017

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houseinhands

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program was introduced by Congress in 2012.  It was a means of addressing the growing concerns about the condition of aging public housing complexes facing a shortfall of HUD funds necessary for renovations. This program allows public housing authorities to sell the improvements on a piece of property owned by the housing authority to a private owner. The program allows tenants to keep largely the same protections as public housing residents  while allowing the private owner to finance rehabilitation efforts through programs such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) that are unavailable to public housing authorities.

In February 2016, the transition occurred at several apartment complexes in Spartanburg. In the summer of 2016, South Carolina Legal Services’ (SCLS) Spartanburg office began seeing an increase in clients from the affected apartment complexes.  They were accused of lease violations resulting from the confusion surrounding the new program. Staff Attorney Lynne Farr and Housing Unit Head Adam Protheroe began reviewing lease termination notices received by various clients and realized there was no grievance procedure as required by Federal statutes. After reaching out to the property management company on behalf of a few clients, Lynne and Adam were able to negotiate a stay of our clients’ pending evictions.  Additionally, the property management company agreed to waive certain late fees and establish a written grievance policy which was added to the residents’ lease as an addendum. Notice of the tenant’s right to a grievance hearing was also added to all lease violation notices.  Following the adoption of a grievance policy, Lynne was able to utilize the grievance policy process to address the needs of several clients and prevent their cases from progressing to an eviction hearing in Magistrate Court.  This saved clients’ affordable housing.

While reaching out to the private managers, Adam and Lynne also reached out to the Spartanburg Housing Authority to address the concerns raised by the lack of a grievance procedure. After reaching a resolution with the private management company, Adam continued to work to build a relationship with the housing authority.  This led to two trainings in April and May 2017 regarding tenant rights for Housing Authority staff in the public housing department as well as the Section 8 department. The Section 8 department oversees the subsidies for the RAD Program.

In an effort to further educate the community about the new program, Lynne provided an overview of the program and its impact on the community to the Spartanburg Branch of the NAACP in June 2017 after receiving several client referrals from that organization. The presentation was well received.  We hope to continue to build relationships with the community and subsidized housing providers to ensure that residents’ due process rights are protected.


Lynn Farr
Staff Attorney

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