PHA Not Liable for Inspection Delay, Including Son’s Income
Facts: A resident sued the local PHA for allegedly depriving her of her due process rights by failing to give her an informal hearing to challenge: (1) the PHA’s calculation of her 2010 housing subsidy; (2) the PHA’s use of an inflated estimate of her income; and (3) the PHA’s failure to exclude her son and his income from the household promptly. The resident argued that the PHA didn’t conduct a timely inspection of her residence, in violation of HUD regulations and the administrative plan. She claimed $77,000 in damages as a result of the inspection delay.
A district court ordered judgment for the resident in the amount of $25. Of the award, $24 was for failing to credit her properly for her medical expenses and a $1 nominal award for not providing an informal hearing. On the other issues, the district court ruled for the PHA. The resident appealed.
Ruling: The Fourth Circuit appeals court agreed with the district court’s decision.
Reasoning: HUD regulations don’t provide a time limit within which a PHA must conduct the required inspection, though they do require that the resident’s unit pass the inspection before the issuance of a Section 8 subsidy. The resident began receiving payments once the inspection requirement was satisfied. Accordingly, the court concluded that the resident’s challenge to the timeliness of the inspection lacks merit, as does her claim for $77,000 in damages that she asserts were caused by the delayed inspection.
Also, on the issue of excluding her son’s income from the calculation of her subsidy after he moved out of the residence, the court ruled that the PHA acted reasonably in requiring a specific type of proof of change in residence. If an adult family member who was formerly a member of the household is reported to be permanently absent, the family must provide evidence to support that the person is no longer a member of the family (such as a lease or utility bill with another address at which the person resides). In addition, her assertion that the PHA didn’t adjust her monthly subsidy for over a year was contradicted by the record.
- Daniels v. Housing Authority of Prince George’s County, December 2013