Tuesday, December 22, 2009

housing - sec. 8 - termination - grounds - notice by T of intent to move to new unit - no HA approval required

Cain v. Allegheny Co. Housing Authority - Cmwlth. Court - December 22, 2009


Sec. 8 tenant properly gave the housing authority notice of the fact that she was moving out of her apartment and moving to another unit, pursuant to the HA's termination notice due to her failure to pay rent and a plumbing bill. The tenant was not required to get the HA's approval to do this and thus the HA's proposed termination of her sec. 8 benefits was not proper.

The applicable regulation, 24 C.F.R. §982.552, provides that:

(b) Requirement to deny admission or terminate assistance (2) The PHA [Public Housing Authority] must terminate program assistance for a family evicted from housing assisted under the program for serious violation of the lease…

(c) Authority to deny admission or terminate assistance. (1) Grounds for denial or termination of assistance. The PHA may at any time deny program assistance for an applicant, or terminate program assistance for a participant, for any of the following grounds: (i) If the family violates any family obligations under the program (see §982.551) See §982.553 concerning denial or termination of assistance for crime by family members…. (Emphasis added).

Also relevant is sec. 982.314, which governs when a tenant can move to a new unit, with continuing sec. 8 assistance. The grounds for denial under this section are the same as those set out in §982.552(c). The failure to obtain approval of a move is not an enumerated basis to terminate assistance.
We agree with Tenant and the decisions of our sister courts that the ACHA cannot expand the basis for terminating assistance by stating that failure to obtain approval prior to a move can result in that consequence. Hill v. Richardson, 740 F.Supp. 1393 (SD Ind. 1990), vacated and remanded, 7 F.3d 656 (7th Cir. Ind. 1993); Holly v. Housing Authority of New Orleans, 684 F.Supp. 1363 (ED La. 1988); Smith v. Hamilton County, 2007 Ohio 1725 (Ohio App. 1 Dist. 2007).