Applicant May Not Take Over Mother's Lease
Facts: After a resident passed away, her son asked the PHA to consider him as a “remaining family member.” According to the PHA's policy, a remaining family member is a member of the original tenant family and may succeed to a former resident's lease if he or she is otherwise eligible for public housing in accordance with the admissions standards for applicants.
Under the PHA's Standards for Admission, a person convicted of a class B felony is ineligible until he has served his sentence, including probation, parole, and the payment of a fine, and six years have elapsed without further convictions or pending charges. The same rule applies to a person convicted of a class A misdemeanor, except that he's eligible after four years without further convictions or charges.
In this case, after performing a criminal background check, the manager determined that the applicant was ineligible for public housing and denied his remaining family member claim.
At the applicant's request, a hearing was held at which the PHA offered evidence demonstrating that the applicant had pleaded guilty to the criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class B felony, and was sentenced to three years' imprisonment, a six-month license suspension, and two years of parole.
The applicant explained that he was arrested in 2009 because he was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time” and claimed that, as he had “paid his dues,” worked for the same company for three years without incident, and engendered no community complaints, he has been rehabilitated. The hearing officer found that the applicant's two arrests show a pattern of his drug-related conduct and that he's ineligible for public housing until 2017. The applicant then asked the court to overturn the hearing officer's decision on the grounds that it was arbitrary.
Ruling: A New York trial court denied the applicant's request.
Reasoning: The court ruled that the hearing officer's decision wasn't arbitrary. The decision was reasonably based on the facts. The applicant's criminal histories render him ineligible for public housing pursuant to the PHA's policy. The applicant committed multiple drug offenses, and he failed to address the issue beyond denying criminal responsibility.
- Baum v. New York City Housing Authority, April 2012