Global Ministries problems prompt new legislation to penalize bad landlords

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —¬†Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis introduced a bill Wednesday that calls for more landlord accountability and tenant input at subsidized housing complexes.

The introduction of the Housing Accountability Act of 2016 comes one day before Memphis-based Global Ministries Foundation is set to be the focal point of a Senate sub-committee hearing on government oversight of subsidized housing.

The Memphis non-profit is the subject of more than one federal investigation.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development yanked funding at two, GMF owned complexes in Memphis after inspectors found deplorable living conditions, and the complexes continued to fail inspections.

Cohen’s bill would require HUD to survey tenants living in subsidized housing twice a year about issues such as living conditions and management performance.

It would also create penalties for property owners who repeatedly fail tenant surveys.

In a press release, Congressman Cohen said surveying tenants would allow them to communicate directly with HUD directly without fear of retaliation from an owner or property manager.

The bill has bi-partisan support with Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) serving as the Republican lead co-sponsor.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced a similar bill in the Senate in July.

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