Inspections show deterioration of US-funded housing for poor

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — Living conditions are deteriorating in taxpayer-funded apartments for the poor, but landlords can still count on payments from the federal government.

An Associated Press analysis of federal data shows that inspection scores have been declining for years at apartments assigned to low-income tenants. Meanwhile, few owners face serious consequences.

Most failing inspections involved urgent health or safety violations, which can range from electrical hazards to rats.

Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest inspection failure rates for rent-subsidized private apartments since 1999. Maryland and the District of Columbia fared worst in public housing.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman Brian Sullivan says the agency is making inspections tougher, which lowers scores. He also acknowledges that older properties do not always get the repairs they need.