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Omaha Housing Authority faces class-action lawsuit alleging rent violations

Posted at 11:08 PM, Jun 28, 2024

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

The class action lawsuit alleges that tenants at properties within the Omaha housing authority were overcharged for rent, denied due-process and in some cases were evicted.

"They've all said… 'I've talk to somebody at the OHA…I don't understand how I can pay this and they're told…you just gave to do it.. or in some instances they're told you can move' …wrong answer." said Mahern.

Kate Mahern is one of the seven attorneys on the case. Her partner at the Milton R. Abrahams Legal Clinic at Creighton University School of Law, Diane Uchimiya says they hope this lawsuit brings change.

"We want the tenants to have notice..and want them to have the opportunity… for what the law actually provides," said Mahern.

The lawsuit focuses on two-groups of people one group of residents who they say had their rent raised without being notified and another group of residents who they say did not receive information or given the opportunity to apply for hardship exemption which would have allowed them to pay zero dollars in rent depending on situation.

"There policy says they are supposed to get people notice and opportunity to dispute… that is the law. That is in their policy… and that is not what they did," said Mahern.

It is not often class action lawsuits happen but according to Uchimiya.

"What came to light… were system issues.. and the thing that makes it right for a class action is that it affects the rights of so many people," said Uchimiya.

The lawsuit also alleges that for the last seven years OHA has not been up-front with their leasing agreement .and that parts of it violate the United States Housing Act.

We called and emailed the OHA to give it the opportunity to comment on this story and have not received a response.