HUD may let tenants remain

November 28, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development may allow five families to stay in a Westminster apartment complex owned by city Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. if moving would be a hardship for them, an official said last week.

The city has asked HUD to allow the tenants -- three of them elderly women -- to stay even though it poses a conflict of interest for the city.

The five families receive help paying their rent from HUD under the Section 8 subsidy program. HUD rules say that the mayor and city council members cannot receive HUD money for rental properties while they are in office and for one year after they leave office.

Mr. Chapin and his son bought Ye Village Green, a 39-unit complex at Sullivan and Schaefer avenues, earlier this month. Mr. Chapin said he did not know about the rental restriction when he bought the property.

Bill Tamburrino, HUD's director of public housing in Baltimore, said his office has asked city housing officials for more information about whether it would be a hardship for the families to move.

If the move does pose a problem, the families will be allowed to stay, but Mr. Chapin will not be allowed to rent to other tenants who receive HUD money, Mr. Tamburrino said.

"If we open the door, it will only be a limited amount," he said.

Mr. Tamburrino said he may make a decision on the waiver this week.

A tenant who receives Section 8 assistance pays about 30 percent of his monthly income for rent and HUD pays the rest. The tenants live in privately owned apartments, and the landlords receive the HUD money for their rents.

The three elderly women who live at Ye Village Green are long-term tenants -- one has lived there for 32 years, said Karen K. Blandford, supervisor of Westminster's Office of Housing, Community Development and Personnel.

Ms. Blandford said it would be a hardship for the three women to move. She said she could not say whether moving would be a hardship for the two other tenants, who have children. Privacy laws prevent her from discussing specifics, she said.

Ms. Blandford said last Wednesday that she had not received Mr. Tamburrino's letter requesting more information.

About 275 families receive HUD money in Westminster each month, but this is the first time the city has asked HUD for a waiver, Ms. Blandford said.

Mr. Chapin said he and his son, Stephen R. Chapin Jr., formed Westminster Real Estate to buy the 3-acre property as an investment. Mr. Chapin said he will manage the property full-time.

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