Your Rights

After years of advocacy by NAHT, in 2000 HUD adopted strong regulations affirming tenants’ right to organize free from management harassment or intimidation, in privately-owned, HUD subsidized apartment complexes. These regulations define a “legitimate” tenants association, which must be a group that “meets regularly, operates democratically, is representative of all tenants in the development, and completely independent of owners and their agents”. The regulations also establish the right of tenants to meet without management present, to leaflet, door knock, post flyers, and invite in outside organizers and attorneys to help tenants organize and assert their rights. (These regulations do not apply to Public Housing, owned by local housing agencies, which are governed by different regulations). For comprehensive information on forming a tenant association, please visit the Forming a Tenant Group section of our website.

NAHT also persuaded HUD to incorporate by reference the Right to Organize regulations in the standard Model Lease which every HUD tenant signs with their landlord.

HUD has also published the Management Agent Handbook. In Chapter 4, titled “Working with Residents” The handbook defines what actions taken by management against tenants is considered harassment. Both the regulations and the handbook require owners & managers to recognize legitimate tenant unions, as defined in the regulations.

Getting HUD to enforce these regulations has been another story. Recently, HUD published a Notice to owners and their managers highlighting the Right to Organize regulations and Management Agent Handbook requirement, and spelling out sanctions for owners that violate tenants’ rights. The Notice also establishes a procedure for tenants to file complaints about violations with their local HUD office. Although in principle HUD could fine owners who violate tenants rights, to date this has never occurred, and no owner has been sanctioned under the Notice.

Quality of Housing

You have the right to live in decent, sanitary housing; the right to have repairs done in a timely manner; the right to be notified in writing, of any non emergency inspection or other entry into your apartment; the right to fair and equal treatment and use of your building’s services and facilities without regard to race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status (children under 18), national origin (ethnicity or language) or some circumstances, age.

The Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) is responsible for ensuring these quality standards. For more information about REAC, visit REAC’s web site.

Forming a Tenant Group

HUD policy also clearly states that tenants in HUD Assisted Housing have the right to organize tenant groups. Please click: HUD Notice 2016-5 for information regarding the Legal Right to Organize in HUD Assisted Housing; and to learn more about organizing groups, holding meetings, and identifying issues please visit our other Tenant Group Organization Page

Rent Calculation

You also have the right to have your rent calculated properly. In February, 2002, HUD distributed the Rent Calculation Fact sheet. Included in the diffrent fact sheet is a detailed explanation of how your rent is determined:

Right and Responsibilities Brochure 

NAHT helped HUD create a “Resident Rights & Responsibilities” Brochure, which HUD requires landlords to distribute to all HUD tenants each year. Get your copy here in fourteen different languages: