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Old 12-17-2011, 04:46 PM
Status: "It reads "status is too long"." (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Washington, D.C.
1,313 posts, read 949,884 times
Reputation: 1514

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I have relatives who live in government-subsidized housing complex in Section 8 in Washington, DC, and more than four times every week the water is completely and suddenly shut off, without notice and for prolonged periods of time, and this has been ongoing for over two years. When I was there one evening when the water was shut off, I called their maintenance, and they told me there was an emergency plumbing issue in a huge pipe beneath one of the buildings in the complex. We went to where maintenance told me the problem was and where it was being repaired, and there was digging.

In the basement of the building, there was a HUGE hole dug out to reveal a large pipe that four men were working on. I asked why has this been going on for so long so frequently and whether the tenants could get some kind of notice that their water will be shut off for an indefinite amount of time. The worker told me that the water is shut off for emergency repairs to the pipe, and that the problem is CONSTANT and "really bad" throughout the complex, that there is always flooding, and so much going on that their crew has to come down and fix the pipe all the time. I didn't take pictures, but it was like a construction site down there.

The buildings are at least 30 years old and haven't been renovated in a very, very long time. I don't see in any way that this is normal or that the actual problem is really being repaired - only patched up - and that's why this keeps happening constantly. It's so unsanitary to not have a simple thing like running water in an apartment complex where hundreds of people reside.

I was thinking about getting an inspector up there since people living there are under section 8, meaning the government is sending the paychecks for these tenants to live here, so why aren't the necessary renovations happening.

I don't know what to do to help. What should be done? They want to move out of there as soon as possible because the area in general is terrible, but the lease isn't up until April. Is there a legal way to get out of the lease, take the voucher and move elsewhere before the lease is up if these problems are ongoing?
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Buckeye State
626 posts, read 932,390 times
Reputation: 211
well in any dwelling, utilities must be on...otherwise its uninhabitable living space. u may be able to wiggle out of the lease.
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:14 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
22,480 posts, read 27,048,543 times
Reputation: 23029
Unless you can find something in your state landlord tenant laws which address this issue there may not be much you can do about it. Repairs of this nature are generally required by law to be fixed "within a reasonable period" and obviously the repairs are being made and the water is not off for days at a time. Why do they not contact their Section 8 representative? That would seem the simplest path to follow. Good luck.
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:43 PM
 
832 posts, read 1,191,571 times
Reputation: 638
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yiuppy View Post

I don't know what to do to help. What should be done? They want to move out of there as soon as possible because the area in general is terrible, but the lease isn't up until April. Is there a legal way to get out of the lease, take the voucher and move elsewhere before the lease is up if these problems are ongoing?
You can forget it! No.
They're getting section 8, they have no right to complain about the quality of the rental. It's pretty much a freebie.
Also, the water is a free service, therefore if it needs repair, they have no rights.
The area is terrible, but it's public housing, that's obvious. I bet the reason the pipes keep clogging/bursting is because of the ghetto section 8 tenants not respecting the property.

It's very unlikely that they will be able to just take their voucher and move to a nicer apt. with section 8.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:20 PM
 
205 posts, read 624,789 times
Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by sas0814 View Post
You can forget it! No.
They're getting section 8, they have no right to complain about the quality of the rental. It's pretty much a freebie.
Also, the water is a free service, therefore if it needs repair, they have no rights.
The area is terrible, but it's public housing, that's obvious. I bet the reason the pipes keep clogging/bursting is because of the ghetto section 8 tenants not respecting the property.

It's very unlikely that they will be able to just take their voucher and move to a nicer apt. with section 8.
I have no personal experience with section 8, but I thought that an apartment/house must meet certain qualifications, and have an inspection, to qualify for section 8? If it doesn't meet the qualifications, or no longer meets them, then it seems that the agency in charge of section 8 would want to know about it.

I do know that you must have running water and electricity if you have kids, or else CPA will step in and may remove the children from the home. Separate agencies, yes, but I'd think that running water (and consistant running water) is a requirement to have a habitable rental.

I'd recommend that the OP have their relatives start documenting every time the water goes off, and when it is turned back on. This information can help when/if they decide to try and break the lease.

Good luck, OP/OP's relatives.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:03 AM
 
14,199 posts, read 26,341,715 times
Reputation: 8357
Generally, after the first year, the tenant is only required to give proper notice to move.

If this is their first year... they will need to contact their housing representative for direction.

If the "Building" is Section 8, it is very possible it is operated by the Housing Authority verses a private owner.

The best offense is detailed records documenting the lack of landlord furnished utilities.

By the time a hearing is scheduled and the owner has time to respond... you could very well be into late February.

Every subsidized unit must meet minimum Housing Quality Standard (HQS)

As stated... problems can and do occur which is when what is reasonable comes into play... how often, how inconvenient, etc...
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:21 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,804 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sas0814 View Post
You can forget it! No.
They're getting section 8, they have no right to complain about the quality of the rental. It's pretty much a freebie.
Also, the water is a free service, therefore if it needs repair, they have no rights.
The area is terrible, but it's public housing, that's obvious. I bet the reason the pipes keep clogging/bursting is because of the ghetto section 8 tenants not respecting the property.

It's very unlikely that they will be able to just take their voucher and move to a nicer apt. with section 8.

Youre such a jerk . You dont know anything about people on section 8. And youre wrong , theyre people and they do have rights . There are decent people who use section 8 that are better than you . There are military veterans who've fought for this country on section 8 while you do nothing . They are working people and pay taxes . And its not just a freebie. Some of them are just disabled and need a little help. They pay a portion of rent and housing pays the rest . So just get lost .
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:14 AM
 
8,250 posts, read 6,792,891 times
Reputation: 11437
It doesn't matter what sort of rental it is, the landlord is allowed to fix broken and leaking pipes. Water has to be turned off to fix broken pipes. No judge is going to accept repairs to the plumbing as grounds to break a lease and move without penalty.

Since not many landlords accept Section 8, I suggest that your relatives make sure they can find a place to move to before they start agitating to get out of the lease. They could very easily end up leaving that place with no new place to go to.

Waiting lists for Section 8 housing have a tendency to be years long. The approved units are not available at the drop of a hat.

Edited to add, I recommend that you suggest to them that they keep several gallons of water on hand at all times, since they appear to not be receiving any notice of the water shut-offs.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:30 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
22,480 posts, read 27,048,543 times
Reputation: 23029
This thread is over 3 years old ...
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