Owner Waited Too Long to Challenge PHA’s Decision
Facts: A PHA sent an owner a letter notifying her that various conditions needed to be repaired, and verified as repaired, within 30 days, or her Section 8 subsidy would terminate. The letter also notified the owner that she might be entitled to reimbursement for some or all of the suspended subsidy if she could establish that the majority of the violations were caused by the resident, or that access for repairs was delayed by the resident. To seek such reimbursement, the letter gave the owner a number to call within 30 days to discuss the policy requirements.
After the owner received the notice, she called the inspection unit to advise them that the resident refused access. She claimed that she took other steps after the “first missed payment in October 2010,” including personally visiting the PHA’s offices to explain that she couldn’t gain access. She also commenced a nonpayment proceeding in 2011, and a settlement was signed providing for access dates.
The owner sued to reverse the PHA’s decision to terminate the Section 8 subsidy for the unit, and recoup $12,535.27 in rental payments for the period of time from October 2010 through August 2011. To bolster her claims of lack of access, the owner provided a notice from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, dated April 19, 2011, addressed to the resident to provide access to correct violations. She also submitted a letter from her home improvement contractor, dated July 12, 2011, stating that he couldn’t gain access to the unit to make repairs. Finally, she submitted a letter dated Oct. 14, 2011, to the PHA reiterating that she hadn’t been able to make repairs because the resident didn’t provide access.
Ruling: A New York court denied the owner’s request.
Reasoning: According to New York state law, a proceeding against a public “body or officer must be commenced within four months after the determination to be reviewed becomes final and binding.” The owner concedes that she received the PHA’s notice warning her of the termination of the subsidy on Oct. 13, 2010. She also referred to the “first missed payment in October 2010” and obviously knew that she didn’t receive payments thereafter. Therefore, since more than four months had passed before filing this court action, the owner’s claim is time-barred.
- Weilders, Inc. v. New York City Housing Authority, August 2012