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Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants Living in Federal Housing

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

As a federal housing resident, you have rights and responsibilities that help make your HUD-assisted housing a better home for you and your family. Everyone wants a beautiful place to live, and many people play an important role in making your place of residence a better place to live and part of a community you can be proud of. HUD field offices are dedicated to maintaining the best possible living environment for all residents, and encourage:

  • Communication between residents, management agents,
    and property owners;
  • Prompt consideration and resolution of valid resident
    complaints by owners and managers; and
  • Residents organizing and participating in the decisions
    regarding the apartment building that affect the well-being
    of their home.

Rights Involving Your Apartment

You have the right to live in decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Included in this right are repairs performed in a timely manner, upon request, and a quality maintenance program run by management. Management should give you reasonable notice, in writing, of any non-emergency inspection or other entry into your apartment.

Rights Involving Resident Organization

You also have the right to organize as residents without obstruction, harassment, or retaliation from property owners or management. You may also post materials in common areas informing other residents of their rights and of opportunities to involve themselves in their project. You have the right, to use appropriate common space or meeting facilities to organize or to consider any issue affecting the condition of management of the property (which 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

Finally, you have the right to equal and fair 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 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 resident of a HUD assisted project, you also have certain responsibilities to ensure that your building remains a suitable home for you and your neighbors. By signing your lease, 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 lease, house rules, and local laws governing your property. If you have any questions about your lease or do not have a copy of it, contact your management agent or your local HUD field office.

Responsibilities to Your Property Owner or Management Agent

You have the responsibility to comply with the rules and guidelines that govern your lease. This means paying the correct amount of rent on a timely basis each month and providing accurate information to the owner at the certification or rectification interview to determine your eligibility for assistance. You must also consent to the release of information by a third party to allow for verification.

Responsibilities to the Project and to Your Fellow Residents

Additionally, you have the responsibility to conduct yourself in a manner that will not disturb your neighbors. You cannot engage in criminal activity in the unit, common area, or grounds. You must keep your unit clean and not littering the grounds or common areas, disposing of garbage and waste in a proper manner and complying with local codes that affect the health or safety of the residence. 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. To find out if your apartment building is covered under any of the following categories, contact your management agent.

Additional Resources

If you need help or more information, you may contact your property manager, your local Program Center, or the project manager in the Multifamily Hub. You can also call the HUD Housing Counseling Service Locator at 1-800-569-4287 for the housing counseling agency in your community or HUD's National Multifamily Clearinghouse at 1-800-685-8470 to report maintenance or management concerns.

If you would like legal assistance, you can contact an experienced 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 find state-specific HUD information.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified real estate attorney to help you navigate any landlord-tenant issues.

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