Resident's Son Didn't Have Succession Rights
Facts: The son of a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) resident claimed to have succession rights to the resident's Section 8 unit. The son was an original member of the household, but moved out of the unit for a period of time. At a preliminary hearing, he asserted that he never left the unit, and that, due to his mother's deteriorating health, he was always around to take care of her needs.
NYCHA didn't list the individual as a member of the household and had sought to terminate the mother's tenancy for various violations of the lease, including nondesirability. At a proceeding on this issue, the resident was placed on three years' probation, and the son was permanently excluded from the premises. Nevertheless, after the resident died, her son asked the management office for permanent permission to reside in the unit.
NYCHA denied him permission, and he filed a grievance with management seeking remaining family member status. This grievance was denied by the manager, who noted that he had been permanently excluded from household.
A hearing officer then determined that although the son was an original family member, he had vacated the unit and had signed a settlement agreement that banned him from residing in or even visiting the resident in the unit. Before the resident could have sought permission for the son to join her household either permanently or temporarily, she would have first been required to submit an application to set aside that settlement agreement and have the application approved by a hearing officer. The resident died before management had a chance to respond to her application.
The New York City Housing Board approved the hearing officer's decision, and the son sued.
Ruling: The court agreed with the New York City Housing Board's decision and ruled against the son.
Reasoning: The court ruled that the son was properly excluded from the unit, and that even if the permission request submitted by the resident was immediately approved by management, the son would still not be granted succession rights to the unit. That's because the son would not have met the New York City Housing Board's one-year rule, which requires that to get succession rights, an additional occupant must reside in the unit for at least one year after receiving written permission and prior to the resident's death or move from the unit. Since the son didn't meet these requirements, he can't be considered a remaining family member as defined by NYCHA regulations, and the lawsuit by the son must be rejected, the court ruled.
- Catlett v. New York City Housing Authority, March 2011