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)).
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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