PHA Not Liable for Discrimination
Facts: A resident had lived at an assisted site for approximately 17 years when, in late 2014, the PHA sent him a “notice to move” from the building. The resident asked to rent another specific apartment in the building, but that request was denied. The resident sued the PHA, claiming that the “notice to move” and the denial of his request to rent the other apartment was “clear discrimination” in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also claimed that the PHA had retaliated against him “because of a complaint.”
The PHA asked the court to rule in its favor without going to trial. In support of its request, the PHA submitted an affidavit from the property manager of the building in question. The manager testified that, in December 2014, she served the resident with a notice to vacate his apartment “because from March 2014 to the time the notice was issued, he breached his lease on numerous and repeated occasions by creating and permitting a disturbance at the apartment building and by conducting himself in a manner that disturbed his neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.” The manager further stated that contrary to the resident’s allegation, he never requested to move to the other apartment and that specific apartment wasn’t available, for it had been occupied since July 2013. The court granted the PHA’s request, and the resident appealed.
Ruling: The Third Circuit Appeals Court agreed with the lower court’s decision.
Reasoning: The PHA provided evidence that the resident was directed to vacate his apartment solely because he had breached his lease by disturbing others in the building. The court found the resident’s filings didn’t put forth any evidence that would enable a jury to reasonably find that the PHA discriminated or retaliated against him. Therefore, there was no basis to reverse the lower court’s judgment.
- Tilli v. Lehigh County Housing Authority, June 2016