NYCHA residents are suing for 10 years of rent overcharges

The suit is the latest issue facing the embattled housing agency

TRD New York /
Dec.December 13, 2019 09:11 AM
NYCHA Chair Gregory Russ and NYCHA houses in Brooklyn (Credit: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Getty Images)

NYCHA Chair Gregory Russ and NYCHA houses in Brooklyn (Credit: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Getty Images)

A new lawsuit alleges the New York City Housing Authority overcharged tenants for more than a decade.

The embattled housing agency is said to have neglected adjusting rents when residents’ income fell — federal law doesn’t allow for public housing tenants to be charged more than 30 percent of what they earn. The suit also alleges that NYCHA raised rents based on incorrect income calculations and wrongfully moved to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In all, nine NYCHA tenants are filing suit. According to their attorney, Edward Josephson, director of litigation and housing for the nonprofit Legal Services NYC, an uptick in complaints from tenants in recent months led him to pursue the case. According to Josephson, more than 34,000 of NYCHA’s 100,000 households faced the threat of eviction in 2018. He says that many of those nonpayment cases are due to errors made by NYCHA.

NYCHA, the nation’s largest public housing system, has faced criticism for poor conditions in buildings. Earlier this year, amid a lead paint scandal, a federal monitor was appointed to oversee the agency. Since 2012, more than 1,100 children have been exposed to high levels of lead, according to a city report.

The chair of the Committee on Public Housing, Brooklyn Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel, called the agency’s alleged actions “negligent,” and said she planned to meet with NYCHA Chair Gregory Russ on Friday.

NYCHA spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio said the agency hadn’t been served with the suit yet. A spokesperson for NYCHA’s federal monitor declined to comment on Thursday. [WSJ] — Georgia Kromrei

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