NYCHA Legally Terminated Tenancy for Chronic Rent Delinquency
Facts: The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) charged a resident with chronic rent delinquency. At a hearing, the assistant site manager testified that the resident had not paid rent for almost two years.
The resident testified that NYCHA “listed” her as a “move-out” since she transferred to another unit, and she hadn't received any rent statements for several years. She also testified that the management office changed her lock and that she was on disability during the time period when she didn't pay rent.
She also claimed that she sent in her annual income certification papers, but they were never processed. Finally, she testified: “I've been telling them [NYCHA management] for the past two years that I've been willing to pay my rent if I would just get my monthly rent statement.”
The resident was questioned about her claim that she wasn't receiving rent statements and whether she still should have been aware that the rent was due every month. She responded that she didn't know how much she was supposed to pay, since she was on disability and then terminated from her job, and had asked for her rent to be recalculated according to her income.
The hearing officer concluded that the chronic rent delinquency was a sufficient basis on which to determine that the resident was ineligible for continued occupancy and that NYCHA could terminate her tenancy. The resident appealed.
Decision: The court ruled for NYCHA, upholding the termination of tenancy.
Reasoning: The court noted that the resident argued that NYCHA violated its rules and denied her due process by not initially calling her in to discuss the rent delinquencies before notifying her of the hearing.
The court concluded that NYCHA complied with its termination procedures requiring the site manager or his representative to interview the resident to discuss the problem, seek to ascertain the facts involved, and, when appropriate, seek to assist the resident by securing outside help.
Management notified the resident that it was considering terminating her tenancy for chronic rent delinquency and offered to discuss the problem with her. When she failed to appear on the appointed date, NYCHA sent her another notice, giving her a second opportunity to discuss the problem. When she again failed to appear, management sent her a notice that the record of her tenancy was being forwarded for review and preparation of charges.
Therefore, the court concluded, NYCHA acted properly, and the tenancy was properly terminated.
- Devins v. New York City Housing Authority, October 2010