HUD Apartment: Can You Live in One If You're Under 62?

living in a HUD apartmentDear Apartment Guru,

I moved in with my grandmother about seven months ago when my roommate moved out and left me high and dry. I recently found out that my gram lives in a HUD-subsidized elderly community. One of our insane neighbors is freaking out because she keeps saying that she was told that this community was for people age 62 and older, which it probably is. She wrote us a letter recently stating: "I've already raised my children and hope to enjoy my retirement without anyone else's."

I am 24 and I am a reasonable person who is quiet and just doing my thing. My grandmother and I are really close and both of us are happy with our arrangement. The neighbor is threatening to have me legally removed. Can she do that?

-- Living With the Granny

Dear LWG,

As the Apartment Guru, I get a lot of questions about nosy neighbors with too much time on their hands. In your case, it sounds like your neighbor is more interested in making life difficult than she is in "enjoying her retirement."

The good news here is that you are probably not going to get evicted. Traycee Huck, a HUD Compliance Manager in Columbus, Ohio explains that whether or not this woman even has a right to complain is entirely dependent on your building. She suggests that you or your grandmother look into the regulatory agreement for the property -- specifically in the community's Tenant Selection Plan.

"For most elderly projects," explains Huck, "the Head of Household must be 62 or older at the time of move-in." In some cases even people with disabilities over the age of 18 can qualify as heads of households in subsidized elderly communities.
That should make you feel better, because I think your neighbor would have a hard time proving your grandmother is not the head of your household.

"There is, however," cautions Huck, "a clause in every HUD lease about the 'peaceful enjoyment' of the premises. If you or your grandmother is hindering her right to peaceful enjoyment, you could be evicted, or moved to another unit."

But from the sound of things, LWG, you and your grandmother might be the ones with a reasonable complaint. After all, who can peacefully enjoy anything with a batty old buttinsky next door?

I will hasten to remind you, however, that nothing is ever so simple as it sounds on paper. You are about as likely to evict/move your neighbor as she is to evict/move you. I'd like to recommend an even better solution: Head over to her door with a plate of cookies, share your building's regulatory agreement with her and try to end things on a good note. In all seriousness, you never know what kind of loneliness is causing your neighbor to lash out.

So be the bigger person and nip this nuisance with kindness.

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