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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16294
Experience:  13 years experience in RE Law, including LL/Tenant, contractor disputes, comm'l prop. issues
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I am receiving Section-8 because I was hit by a car, and qualified

Customer Question

I am receiving Section-8 because I was hit by a car, and qualified for disability, the person who struck me went to jail for 4 3/4 years, and was deported... Now I am in a Reatalitory Eviction situation, and I know by rote what that means, and what an order to show cause is, suffice to say I am dealing with a real low life as my landlord. I guess, because logic does not allow me to sink to further depths; that he thought it incumbent to inform the other residents in my community that I was receiving Section-8 vouchers. In a way I could care less, I am a full time student at SUNY Stonybrook, NY, and looking forward to a JD sooner than later. However, this incorigible landlord wanted to, "out me" for lack of a better term. I do not know if he is responsible to keep that private or not, but that would begin a dialouge, can you tell me about my privacy rights? Or even if there is no material gain to be made in a civil forum, would he not be in some way liable for violating my privacy? What might the other tenants think? Maybe I am a freeloader, (been on Section-8/ 11 months-BTW) a looser, or do I need to tell them I was a victim, and injured, and did not chose this fate?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello there.
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Except for medical records and the HIPPA statutes, there is nothing specific in any federal or NY state law that grants privacy rights against the invasion of your privacy rights in the Section 8 program. WHat you have here is a classic situation where you would have to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages against him for invasion of privacy in a civil sense. You ask if he would be liable for invading your privacy, and the answer is that there are no criminal actions that can be taken against him and civilly, it is a lawsuit that you would have to pursue (given the retaliatory eviction and any other problems that you might have with this landlord, I am sure that this has cost you some monetary damages and then you can ask for punitive damages for the suffering you have gone through due to the manner in which some neighbors may have treated you after learning that news (and I do agree with you -- some people are funny when they think a person is getting something for "free" - never thinking about what you have been through to end up in the position that you had to ask for the "free" stuff)).
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I do believe that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has strict procedures for their landlords and confidentiality of tenants information is most likely one of the strict requirements that your landlord must follow. If you could possibly get a written statement from one or two people who live at the apartments or visit there who actually heard this landlord discussing your Section 8 status with other tenants, that would most likely be more than enough evidence for HUD to bar him from accepting HUD vouchers and being part of the HUD program -- he will either be suspended for a period of time or terminated. Believe me when I tell you that the HUD program means a LOT of money for Landlords in NYC and if this Landlord has other HUD tenants or buildings and wants to keep being considered for the HUD program, then if you file a complaint against him with HUD for invasion of privacy, the Landlord will end up being put in a position where he could be losing a lot of money for years to come. My overall suggestion here is to contact HUD and start a formal complaint process against the Landlord for his transgressions. Obviously, your case would be very strong, both with HUD and civilly (if you go that route) if you could get a witness statement or two to file with the HUD complaint -- but even if you are not able to get such a written statement, you should still file the complaint and HUD should investigate (which usually consists of sending investigators out to speak with a few of the tenants in the apartments as well as using your own experiences with the Landlord).
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MARY
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.
Hello again --
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I note that you are interested in becoming a lawyer and that you closed the question without pressing a positive rating so that I will receive credit for my time. I actually wish that you get the same type of customers and clients like this when you become a lawyer ! Best of everything.

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