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BETTY J. FROMAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/25/87)

decided: March 25, 1987.

BETTY J. FROMAN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, in case of Betty J. Froman, dated January 8, 1986.

COUNSEL

Michelle DeBord, for petitioner.

Rebecca L. Peace, for respondent.

Judges Barry and Palladino (p), and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 74]

Betty J. Froman (Petitioner) petitions for review of an order of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (Agency) denying Petitioner emergency mortgage assistance under The Pennsylvania Homeowner's Emergency Assistance Act*fn1 (Act 91).

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 75]

In 1979, Petitioner obtained a residence in Mount Union, Pennsylvania, pursuant to a divorce settlement on which she placed a mortgage. In November, 1981, Petitioner moved to Florida to seek employment without selling or renting her Pennsylvania property. While in Florida, Petitioner rented an apartment and attempted to maintain the $156 per month mortgage payment on the Pennsylvania residence. Petitioner was injured in December, 1984, in a work-related accident and returned to her residence in Mount Union, Pennsylvania but remained unemployed.

Petitioner was issued an "Act 91 notice"*fn2 in February, 1985, indicating that her Pennsylvania mortgage was four months in arrears. The last full mortgage payment was made in January, 1985 and was applied to the October, 1984 payment due. Petitioner then applied to the Agency for emergency mortgage assistance benefits. The Agency rejected the application in a letter dated May 7, 1985, from which Petitioner appealed. The hearing examiner affirmed the Agency's denial of assistance on the following grounds:

     the Appellant was attempting to maintain two households and having difficulty with the mortgage on the vacant property in Pennsylvania prior to the loss of employment in December, 1984. Accordingly, the Mortgagor is not suffering financial hardship due to circumstances beyond the Mortgagor's control. (Act 91, Section 404-C(A))

Moreover, as a consequence of the fact that the property was vacant while the Appellant lived in Florida for three years, assistance should also be denied due to the fact that 'the property securing

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 76]

    the mortgage is not owner-occupied.' and that 'property securing the mortgage is not the principal residence of the Applicant.' (Act ...


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