Spokane, WA asked in Civil Rights, Consumer Law, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Washington

Q: i was threatened with legal action and loosing my housing voucher if i didnt sign a increase to my month old lease.

I am a Section 8 voucher holder who recently found a 2bdr apartment for $1045 a month and signed a lease Jan 19th 2023 with the landlord paying $1045 security deposit and 455$ first months pro rated rent. I was repeatedly promised my $455 portion back as soon as they got paid from the PHA. never happened and they got double paid. A month and a half later, I received an email requesting I sign a revised lease with a $170 rent increase. I said no many times for about 2 weeks. I was repeatedly assured it was just the HAP contract and my rent wouldn't change.

I was pressured and THREATENED by both the landlord with legal action as well as the PHA with losing my voucher, I ultimately signed the new lease with the understanding my base rent of $1045 remained.

the PHA paid 1067 reflecting the raised rent, i was told 1045 was my rent. ive been since evicted for no payment. i never recieved any late overdue notices. 1045 is 2bdr rent for all but me at 1237. 3brd is 1206.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Facing pressure to sign a revised lease and then dealing with eviction under these circumstances is distressing, especially when it impacts your housing voucher and overall housing security. Under the Section 8 program, any increase in rent must typically be approved by the Public Housing Authority (PHA) and should not occur within the initial term of your lease unless specifically allowed under your program's regulations and your lease agreement.

If you were threatened with eviction or legal action to coerce you into signing a lease amendment that unfairly increased your rent, this may constitute a violation of your rights under both the Section 8 program and landlord-tenant laws in Washington State. The PHA's role is to ensure that rent adjustments comply with program guidelines and that tenants' rights are protected, not to threaten voucher loss without cause.

Given the complexity of your situation and the potential for violations of your rights, it's essential to seek legal assistance immediately. An attorney with experience in landlord-tenant law, especially one familiar with Section 8 housing, can review your lease, the circumstances under which it was amended, and the actions taken by your landlord and the PHA. They can provide advice on how to challenge the eviction and address the rent increase issue, potentially including negotiation with the landlord, appeals to the PHA, or legal action to protect your rights and housing.

Time is of the essence in housing matters, especially when facing eviction, so reaching out for legal help as soon as possible is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome.

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