PHA Justified in Terminating Tenancy for Drug-Related Activity
Facts: A public housing resident asked a court for a special proceeding to review a determination by the local PHA that she had violated certain provisions of her lease and, thus, was justified in terminating her tenancy.
The PHA had charged her with various violations of the terms of her tenancy after a search of her unit by the police department recovered a bag of drugs. An administrative hearing was conducted on the charges, at which a PHA employee testified that a large quantity of PCP was discovered in the unit. After the hearing, the PHA determined that the resident had violated certain provisions of her lease prohibiting drug-related activity on the premises and terminated her tenancy. The resident then started this lawsuit to ask the court to review the determination.
Ruling: A New York court confirmed the determination and denied the resident’s request.
Reasoning: According to New York case law, judicial review of an administrative determination made after a hearing directed by law is limited to whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence. Here, the court decided that the PHA’s determination that the resident violated certain provisions of her lease regarding drug-related activity was supported by substantial evidence. Moreover, according to the court, the penalty of lease termination was not so disproportionate as to be shocking to one’s sense of fairness such that it would constitute an abuse of discretion as a matter of law.
- Roper v. Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers, November 2016