Complaints About Maintenance Can't Trigger Eviction Notices
Facts: A resident of a Boise city housing complex claimed that after he made a complaint to the management about maintenance, the city retaliated against him by filing eviction notices.
Specifically, the resident claimed that he was served with a copy of an eviction notice by mail, which also was posted on his door, indicating that he had three days to pay his rent or give up possession of the property. He further asserted that the city had routinely filed eviction proceedings within three days to two weeks of serving an eviction notice, in direct violation of the mandatory 30-day period specified under HUD regulations.
The resident claimed that his civil rights were violated and sought monetary damages from the City of Boise in the millions of dollars. The City of Boise filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Decision: The federal district court sided with the resident and allowed the case against the City of Boise to proceed.
Reasoning: The allegations made by the resident are sufficient to allow the case to go on, the court reasoned. Complaints about maintenance in housing units can't automatically trigger eviction notices, the court stated. Therefore, the case should be allowed to proceed to determine if, in fact, the eviction notices were in retaliation for the resident's complaints about maintenance, the court decided. However, the court also ruled that the resident could not seek criminal penalties against the City of Boise.
- Smogonovich v. City of Boise, October 2009