Focus on Congress
From the office of Rep. Val Demings
Representative Val Demings of the Florida 10th District, along with U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05), Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12), introduced the HUD Inspection Act of 2019. This bill forces the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to take greater action when federal assisted housing properties fail to come into compliance with federal housing laws.
“Every American should have the right to live in a safe home,” Rep Demings said. “This important new legislation will crack down on property managers who receive federal money while allowing their buildings to fall apart. As Chief of Police, I joined residents in fighting substandard management that left behind leaking water that made kids sick, unsafe electrical systems, and piles of garbage. No apartment in the greatest country in the world should ever have to get to that point before action is taken. I commend Rep. Lawson for his leadership on this important legislation.”
“It is my firm belief that everyone should have access to decent, safe and affordable housing regardless of their income or zip code,” Rep. Lawson said. “We’ve seen HUD properties in dilapidated conditions pass inspection, and this is absolutely unacceptable. This bill will provide much-needed transparency in the inspection process and strengthen enforcement actions against properties owners who fail to maintain their properties.”
“Access to safe, affordable housing should be a right for everyone,” Rep. Adams said. “More than 10 million people rely on federal rental assistance for housing, and too many of them are living in HUD properties that have passed inspection, despite being unsafe or in disrepair. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bill to hold HUD, its inspectors and property managers accountable for maintaining and improving living conditions in federally assisted housing.”
Last year, an investigation by NBC reported that there is an increase of more than 30 percent of failed physical inspections. In addition, although failed inspections are required to yield immediate action by HUD as well as the property’s landlord, many residents are sometimes left months without any action taken to upgrade or improve living conditions.
Earlier this year, Reps. Lawson, Adams and Demings sent a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis to express concerns regarding the physical inspection process for HUD-assisted housing. They requested a full audit of HUD’s physical inspection process including how many units have been inspected, the pass/fail rates for each facility, and the amount of time HUD and participating landlords take to resolve and alleviate issues that result in unsafe environments for tenants.
This bill is endorsed by the National Housing Law Project, National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.
The HUD Inspection Act of 2019 cosponsors are: Reps: Charlie Crist (FL-13) Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Jaime Raskin (MD-08), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Barbara Lee (CA-09), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Juan Vargas (CA-51)