NYCHA miscalculated rent increases for one in five tenants at Red Hook Houses, overcharging some and undercharging others. On June 7, 2023, City Comptroller Brad Lander announced that the New York City Housing Authority (The Authority, or NYCHA) miscalculated sampled rent adjustments at the Red Hook East and Red Hook West developments in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The Authority calculates monthly rent for its residents based on residents’ income documentation, and generally sets it at either 30 percent of the household’s adjusted gross income or the flat rent (the maximum amount charged per household), whichever is lower. In the year between October 2021 and October 2022, 32 percent of the 2,692 units at Red Hook Houses experienced rent increases, with a total of 853 units affected, prompting tenants at these developments to complain of improperly calculated rent.
After these residents expressed concerns about the accuracy of rent calculations, Comptroller Lander’s Office conducted a review of income documentation and rent calculations for a sample of 102 units at Red Hook Houses to determine their accuracy. The review found that the Authority miscalculated one-in-five (19 percent) sampled rent adjustments in the Red Hook East and Red Hook West public housing developments in 2022. Of the 102 sampled units, the Authority overcharged three households by a total of $439 per month, while undercharging 17 households by a total of $1,395 per month. As a result, the Authority’s data management platform, Siebel System, generated incorrect public assistance amounts on rent notices sent to the tenants.
After the review, the Authority agreed to address the following four recommendations made by Comptroller Lander’s office: review the rent calculations for overstated/understated apartments and determine if corrective action is needed, provide periodic training to staff to ensure adherence to the Management Manual, test rent calculations after every recertification, and conduct a review of Seibel to ensure it properly generates the correct amount on Rent Notices for Public Assistance Income for qualified household members.
To read the report in full, click here.
Comptroller Lander stated, “NYCHA tenants repeatedly raised concerns with the calculation of their monthly rent, so our audit team went to investigate. We found issues with the calculations that led to some tenants overpaying and NYCHA losing out on rental income. Our public housing system has a duty to provide decent, affordable housing for New Yorkers, and it can only do that successfully with strong oversight and management that guarantees accuracy and fairness.”
Source: NYCHA Miscalculated One-in-Five Rent Increases, New York City Comptroller’s Review Finds, June 7, 2023.
By: Dylan Shusterman (Dylan is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2025.)