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WILHELMINA DOVER v. PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY (07/22/83)

filed: July 22, 1983.

WILHELMINA DOVER, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY



No. 2033 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Trial Division, Philadelphia County, July Term, 1979, No. 5898.

COUNSEL

Arthur E. Schmidt, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Harold L. Frank, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Johnson, Montemuro and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 462]

Appellant, Wilhelmina Dover, is a tenant at Mantua Hall, a high-rise apartment building operated and maintained by the appellee, Philadelphia Housing Authority [PHA]. At various times during her tenancy Mrs. Dover complained to PHA about defects in her apartment that endangered the health and safety of herself and her minor children. Although Mrs. Dover gave PHA notice of these defects, PHA failed to repair them. Mrs. Dover withheld rent from PHA in the amount of $727.00.

On September 18, 1978, Mrs. Dover filed a grievance pursuant to a stipulation to arbitrate,*fn1 requesting that repairs be made and that she be awarded an abatement of rent. Following a full hearing, the arbitrator, on March 20, 1979, entered the following award in Mrs. Dover's favor.*fn2

[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 463]

The appellant was awarded repairs of all outstanding defects in the apartment; an abatement of the back rent arrearages in the amount of $100.00; and a prospective abatement of future rent until the repairs were completed. In addition, the arbitrator ordered the Mantua Hall Tenants Council to pay to PHA $496.00 it was holding in escrow.

Approximately five months after delivery of the award PHA had not made the repairs ordered by the arbitrator and Mrs. Dover had not paid to PHA the arrearages of $727.00 less the $100.00 abatement in provision three of the award.

On August 3, 1979, Mrs. Dover filed with the Court of Common Pleas a petition to confirm the arbitration award pursuant to Section 9 of the Arbitration Act of 1927.*fn3 On August 21, 1979, Mrs. Dover filed the petition with the Motion Court,*fn4 and PHA filed an Answer with New Matter on the same date. PHA's New Matter alleged, inter alia, that the proposed order included in Mrs. Dover's petition*fn5 omitted the provision ordering the payment of $496.00 to PHA by the Mantua Hall Tenants Council, and that the award of a future abatement of all rent was beyond the jurisdiction of the arbitrator, which was at law and did not extend to the granting of equitable relief. PHA also submitted

[ 318 Pa. Super. Page 464]

    a proposed order which omitted the provision granting a future abatement ...


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