Is it legal for my landlord to submit twice for income details and ask to tell my boss to say I make less in tips?

My friend and I leased an apartment in a low income complex. We need to get out of our lease for personal unforeseen circumstances. When we applied for the apartment we originally made too much money and the landlord asked my roomate to tell his boss to say he made less money in tips so we would be under the income restriction. is this illegal and an OK reason to break our lease?

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal: it is a violation of the regulations governing low income housing and is fraud against HUD. On the other hand, since your roommate participated in the fraud, you cannot use your own illegal action to your benefit, to get out of your obligations; and bear in mind that if this comes to the attention of the housing authorities (such as in a lawsuit by or against your landlord), they may choose to in turn take legal action against you. You could also find yourself ineligible for public housing in the future.

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