Here’s an odd side effect of South Florida’s foreclosure crisis: Some immense homes with pools and three-car garages in gated communities are being rented out to unlikely tenants — poor people paying with Section 8 aid.
Among the properties are homes with up to 4,500 square feet of space in private communities with guardhouses and regal names such as “Monarch Lakes” and “Bellagio at Vizcaya.”
Some of the owners are teetering on foreclosure and gambling they can earn enough money from the federal housing vouchers to stave off the banks. Others bought the properties cheap in foreclosure auctions and want the guaranteed rental income.
But some neighbors are aghast. The association is threatening eviction. Federal law does not expressly outlaw such bans. But the prohibition can’t be used as a pretext for other illegal acts, such as denying housing to people because of their race, gender, national origin, disability or number of children.
The owner of the Coral Springs house, Henri-Claude Marcellus, has hired a lawyer to challenge the restriction, claiming his mostly white neighbors are discriminating against him because he is Haitian and his tenants are African-American.
Typically, tenants pay about one-third of their income toward the rent and the government pays the rest.