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Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants Living in Federal Housing

Town homes/federal housing

As a federal housing renter, you have rights and responsibilities which are determined by the terms of your assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Read on to learn more about making the most of your assistance, so that you and your family have the nicest home possible.

HUD field offices are dedicated to keeping the best possible living environment for all residents. They encourage:

  • Interactions between residents, management agents, and property owners
  • Timely consideration and resolution of valid complaints by renters and managers
  • Organization and participation of residents in decisions regarding apartment buildings

Rights Involving Your Rental Unit

You have the right to live in habitable, safe, and sanitary housing. Included in this right are:

  • Necessary repairs performed in a timely manner, upon request
  • A quality maintenance program run by management

The rental property manager should also give you a written notice, within a reasonable time, of any non-emergency inspection or other entry into your apartment.

Rights Involving Resident Organization

As a resident, you also have the following legal rights:

  • You have the right to organize as residents without obstruction, harassment, or retaliation from property owners or management.
  • You can post materials in common areas informing other residents of their rights and of opportunities to participate in projects around those rights.
  • You can use appropriate common space or other meeting spaces to organize or to consider any issue affecting the condition of the management of the property. This may be subject to a reasonable, HUD-approved fee.

Property owners and managers must recognize your right to having a voice in residential community affairs.

Rights Involving Nondiscrimination

Under the Fair Housing Act, you have the right to equal and fair treatment regarding the use of your building's services and facilities. This means you can use the real estate's facilities without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, familial status (children under 18), national origin (ethnicity or language), or age.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against, or would like information on what constitutes housing discrimination, call 1-800-669-9777, or call your local HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.


As a new tenant of a HUD-assisted project, you also have certain duties. You have to ensure that your building remains a suitable home for you and your neighbors. By signing your lease agreement, you and the owner/management company have entered into a legal, enforceable contract.

You and the owner/management company are responsible for complying with your written lease, federal laws, house rules, and local laws governing your property. Contact your management agent or your local HUD field office if you have any questions about your lease terms or do not have a copy of it.

Your Responsibilities to Your Property Owner or Management Agent

You have the duty to follow the rules on your lease. This means:

  • Paying the correct amount of rent on a timely basis each month
  • Providing accurate information to the owner at the certification interview to decide your eligibility for assistance
  • Consenting to the release of information by a third party to allow for verification

Responsibilities to the Project and to Your Fellow Residents

You also have the duty to live in a way that won't disturb your neighbors, which includes the following:

  • You cannot engage in criminal activity in the unit, common area, or grounds.
  • You must keep your unit clean. Do not litter the grounds or common areas. Dispose of garbage and waste in a proper manner that complies with housing codes that affect the health or safety of the residents.
  • You must also maintain your apartment and common areas in the same general physical condition as when you moved in.
  • You should report any defects in building systems, fixtures, appliances, or other parts of the unit, the grounds, or related facilities to the management.

Residents in HUD-assisted multifamily housing play an important role in decisions that affect their project. Different HUD programs provide for specific resident rights. You have the right to know under what HUD program your building is assisted. Contact your management agent to learn more about your specific building.

Additional Resources

If you need help or more information, you may want to contact one of the following:

Need Legal Services Related to Your Federal Housing? An Attorney Can Help.

If you would like legal assistance, you can contact an experienced landlord-tenant lawyer in your area to schedule a consultation. You can also visit FindLaw's Tenant Rights section for more general information on this topic, or you could review state-specific HUD information.

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