PHA Not Required to Add Non-Resident to Household
Facts: In March 13, 2009, a site’s management office received a “Request for Permanent Permission” on behalf of a resident to allow her grandson to permanently join her household. The reason for the request was that he “recently moved in with me to care for me and help me in my old age. He is helping me every day with my companionship from which I suffer lately. Since I live alone I have been experiencing depression and loneliness. He is also helping me administering medications.”
The manager neither granted nor denied that request in writing. And neither the resident nor her grandson followed up with management on the request. The resident didn’t list her grandson as an occupant on her income affidavits in the subsequent years before her death in 2013.
Following the resident’s death, the grandson asked to succeed the lease of the unit as a remaining family member. The manager denied the request. At a subsequent hearing, the hearing officer stated the resident’s request wasn’t acted upon by management. And according to PHA regulations, this inaction didn’t result in the grandson being authorized to reside in the unit. Furthermore, PHA regulations prohibited, due to overcrowding, the addition of an adult male grandchild to the resident’s family composition since she lived in a one-bedroom apartment.
The grandson asked a court to overturn the PHA’s decision. The grandson argued that the PHA’s decision was improper because he was granted de facto permanent permission to reside at the unit, as the management neither acted upon his grandmother’s request to add him as an occupant, nor took any action to remove him.
Ruling: A New York trial court upheld the PHA’s decision.
Reasoning: The court found that the hearing officer’s decision was rational. To permanently add a non-tenant to the household, a tenant in current occupancy must first request and obtain the written consent of the manager. The PHA’s manual states that a family member isn’t entitled to permanent permission if his or her occupancy would render the household overcrowded based on the total number of people in the household and the apartment size. The manual further states that where management neither grants nor denies a permanent permission request within 60 days, it is deemed denied. Courts have repeatedly enforced the PHA’s written permission requirement and have upheld as rational the determinations denying remaining family member status based upon the tenant’s failure to obtain permanent residency permission for the family member.
- Matter of Bergman v. New York City Hous. Auth., September 2018