Last week, The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) took a major step to increase protections for the residents of its 50,000 Low Income Housing Tax Credit units.
Following a review of over 1,000 LIHTC property leases this summer, the PHFA developed a uniform Lease Addendum for all leases as a means of protecting tenants and informing them of their rights.
Prior to the release of the addendum, LIHTC residents were often not aware that they lived in an LIHTC unit, which provides them specific protections under the law.
Previously, leasing documents were not required to identify that the unit was part of the LIHTC program. The result was that legal services staff often faced unnecessary obstacles in determining whether a tenant was covered by LIHTC-related protections.
The updated Lease Addendum clearly identifies the unit as subject to the LIHTC program and enumerates the LIHTC-related rights of tenants, including protections for individuals under Fair Housing Law, those with Section 8 housing vouchers, and survivors of domestic violence under the Violence Against Women Act.
To the best of our knowledge, Pennsylvania is one of the first states to have taken such an important step to help LIHTC tenants protect their rights. This change is the result of the ongoing leadership in administering the LIHTC program demonstrated by PHFA under the guidance of Brian Hudson, PHFA’s Executive Director & CEO; Rebecca Peace, Chief Counsel; and Holly Glauser, Director of Development.
RHLS Executive Director, Mark Schwartz, and RHLS Managing Attorney, Judy Berkman, worked with Rachel Garland, Staff Attorney at Community Legal Services, to bring PHFA’s attention to this issue
Interested in learning more? Check out our post from earlier this week about the importance of LIHTC protections for survivors of domestic violence.