Brandi, a 27-year-old mother of two, lived in a Section 8 property. Because Brandi’s only income was Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), her portion of the rent was zero.
Brandi’s lease came up for renewal and the Housing Authority of Kansas City conducted an annual housing quality inspection. The property failed due to several habitability issues. Brandi’s landlord was given 30 days to make the repairs. The property failed a second inspection and the rent payments went into abatement for three months until the landlord fixed the problems.
Brandi contacted Legal Aid’s Justice in the Schools project after her landlord filed a suit against her demanding back rent for the period of the abatement. Brandi told her Legal Aid attorney that she didn’t have the money to pay her landlord. She was afraid the landlord would evict her and she and her children would become homeless.
Justice in the Schools attorney Josh Murphy agreed to take Brandi’s case. He assured Brandi the HUD regulations specifically state that Section 8 tenants are not responsible for rent abated by the Housing Authority and landlords are not eligible for retroactive payment of abated rent.
In the meantime, Brandi was working with her Housing Authority case manager to find a new home. When her landlord learned she was moving, he dismissed the case.
Brandi found a temporary housing situation that allowed her children to finish out the school year while she worked with on finding a permanent home with assistance from the Housing Authority.
Thanks to the Justice in the Schools project, Brandi was able to remove herself and her children from an unsafe home – and she will not have an eviction on her record.