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This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.

Lease Termination for Uninhabitable Housing

  • Habitability of housing

A remedy for uninhabitable or substandard housing is lease termination

A very common remedy for uninhabitable or substandard housing is lease termination. Tenants have the option to end their lease and move out of the uninhabitable housing. However, this isn’t an option that is readily available to people without the means to immediately obtain alternative housing. Another common remedy is tenant repair and deduct, where tenants have the option to remedy the habitability violation themselves, and deduct the cost of doing so from their rent. Again, this remedy is not particularly helpful for young people without the resources to find a contractor and pay upfront for repairs.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
0.5 Harm Reduction Lease termination is an option for addressing uninhabitable housing
0.0 Status Quo No law found

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. "State Index on Youth Homelessness, Lease Termination for Uninhabitable Housing" https://youthstateindex.com/maps/lease-termination-for-uninhabitable-housing/. Accessed: February 24, 2024.

Habitability of housing

A habitable dwelling is one that is safe, clean, and suitable for living in. It is an essential component of the right to housing. In general, landlords have a legal obligation to maintain habitability in their rental properties, including working heat, hot water and electricity, and addressing issues like broken locks or infestations. However, jurisdictions vary in how much power renters have to hold landlords responsible to fix unsafe or unlivable conditions.

“It’s one thing to get housing, it’s another to have to feel uncomfortable in that housing. NYCHA supportive housing can be dangerous, too many repairs, infestations. People going through housing insecurity are expected to deal with these things. Housing is often seen as a profit maker and not a basic right. Landlords and property managers should care more and keep up on their buildings.”– Kemi Adebisi-Oke