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Reaching the Limits of Subsidized Housing

April 25, 2002

Re "Judge Limits Hikes in Formerly Subsidized Rents," April 19: Now that U.S. District Judge George H. King has told landlords they can't back out of federally subsidized apartment programs, even when the required time period to stay in the program has passed, there is no longer any incentive for future developers to build any new low-income housing. After all, what developer in his right mind would want to deal with a lot of government red tape and often-difficult tenants when the government continues to change the rules in the middle of the contract? This means the owners can't make the reasonable profit they expected to make when they entered into the contract with the federal government 20 years ago, since the government won't allow owners to rent their private property, as promised, at current fair-market rental rates.

Court decisions like this send the message to people already living in subsidized housing that they should stay there until the day they die so they can continue avoiding paying fair-market rents. This decision also sends the message that if you're not currently living in subsidized housing, don't count on any subsidized housing to be built in the future.

James Fuhrman

West Hollywood

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