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MARY ELLEN BRAUER v. PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY (07/22/85)

decided: July 22, 1985.

MARY ELLEN BRAUER, APPELLANT
v.
PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Mary Ellen Brauer v. The Philadelphia Housing Authority, No. 4721 September Term, 1983.

COUNSEL

Arthur Edgar Schmidt, with him, Eric L. Frank, for appellant.

Terri A. Woodard, with her, Fincourt B. Shelton, for appellee.

Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 504]

This is an appeal by Mary Ellen Brauer (Appellant) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia (trial court) which upheld an order of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) terminating Appellant's housing assistance. We affirm.

In 1978 Appellant applied for and was granted a certificate of family participation for a federally funded housing subsidy pursuant to Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. § 1437(f) (Section 8), and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 24 C.F.R. §§ 882.101-882.606. Under the Section

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 5058]

program, Appellant leased an apartment from a private landlord. The $225.00 per month rental payments were made in part by Appellant, who paid $2.00 per month, and in part by PHA which paid $223.00 per month. The private landlord and Appellant signed a written agreement whereby they agreed to submit to the federal regulations governing the Section 8 program.

In 1982 PHA inspected Appellant's rented apartment and discovered that an entire wall had been removed and the back door and other walls had been damaged. Because these conditions rendered the apartment beneath the quality standards required by the federal regulations, PHA terminated the apartment from the program. In 1983, after the private landlord had sued Appellant for possession and non-payment of rent, PHA notified Appellant that it would not issue a new certificate of family participation to enable Appellant to move to another subsidized apartment because she was no longer eligible to participate in the program. PHA's reason for finding Appellant no longer eligible was its determination that the damage to the apartment was caused by Appellant.

Appellant requested and received an administrative arbitration hearing on August 3, 1983, at which the private landlord presented evidence of the extensive damages to the apartment. Appellant admitted that she had intentionally removed the wall and was responsible for the majority of the other damages to the apartment. The arbitrator concluded, in a written opinion issued on August 29, 1983, that Appellant was responsible for the damages and was, therefore, ineligible for further Section 8 housing assistance. Appellant appealed the PHA arbitrator's decision to the trial court which upheld the PHA determination and dismissed the appeal. Appellant now appeals to this Court.

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 506]

The only question which Appellant properly raises in this appeal is whether PHA can legally terminate her participation in the Section 8 program based upon a finding that Appellant damaged the apartment, if PHA does not specify the dollar amount of her liability for the damages and give Appellant an ...


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