Signs of Section 8 Housing Fraud & Violations
What is Section 8 Housing Fraud?
Due to the current state of the economy and the skyrocketing prices of housing and apartments, it is increasingly more challenging for individuals and families to find affordable housing. The Section 8 housing choice voucher program provides low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled, allowing them to live in safe and affordable housing in the private market. The voucher supplements their rent payment on basic housing needs. It’s an essential service that helps care for those needing housing assistance. However, like any other service, some people attempt to make claims they are not entitled to. This occurrence is called Section 8 housing fraud and is more common than one might think. As some may believe, housing violations are not a victimless crime. They take away resources from those who genuinely need it. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common forms of housing fraud and what can be done to stop them.
Examples of Housing Violations
A common form of housing fraud attempts to supplement a tenant’s savings by subletting. Subletting is when a renter brings a non-authorized person into their home and collects rent. This action is someone acting as a landlord for a property they are not entitled to rent out. Such housing code violations are prohibited actions.
Incorrectly Reporting Income
Section 8 housing provides assistance for those whose income does not exceed the amount established by the PHA. In general, this income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county in which the family lives. Section 8 vouchers allow those who need assistance the dignity of safe and affordable housing. However, some people may misreport their income to take advantage of these benefits. It is not always misreporting annual salary, as this can also be in the form of omitting other income and assets. Such omissions constitute Section 8 Housing Fraud because it is taking affordable housing away from those needing it and defrauding the government.
Attempting to Bribe
Bribery attempts to circumvent established systems to receive special treatment, goods, or services are another form of fraud. Some people try bribing officials, landlords, or tenants to accept Section 8 benefits. Bribery does not always have to be a monetary transaction. Physical goods or services can also be collateral for a bribe. Regardless of the actual transaction, any attempt to inappropriately gain favor from a landlord or government official is inappropriate and constitutes fraud.
Section 8 Housing Fraud Reporting
In short, any time someone tries to take advantage of the Section 8 housing choice voucher program, they commit Section 8 housing fraud. Committing fraud takes away resources from those who have followed the proper procedure to receive their benefits. Committing Section 8 fraud may even introduce dangers into a community, thus putting other tenants at risk.
If you are a tenant utilizing Section 8 and suspect another tenant of committing housing fraud, notify your landlord and let them handle it, or call the HUD Housing fraud hotline (1-800-347-3735).
If you are a landlord and suspect your tenants of committing fraud, call the HUD Housing fraud hotline (1-800-347-3735) or contact your Section 8 point of contact.
PMHA’s Commitment to Safe Section 8 Housing
As previously mentioned, Section 8 Housing Fraud is not a victimless crime. It hurts others in the community, damages the credibility of landlords, and costs the government money. PMHA’s prime concern is providing the highest level of service and support to those who need it in our community. We prioritize housing quality and are committed to providing those we serve with safe and affordable housing. Learn more about what PMHA does for the community.