Matter of Oliver v. Cestero

Landlord/Tenant Law

New York Law Journal


Justice Doris Ling-Cohan

Tenant Oliver sought to annul the Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) decision terminating her Section 8 subsidy. She alleged she was a disabled, single mother of two disabled minors, and argued the decision was arbitrary and capricious. HPD claimed it noted a discrepancy between income reported by Oliver in 2009 and 2010, and income reported for her by the HUD Enterprise Income Verification. The court found, contrary to HPD's conclusory argument, the instant proceeding did not need to be transferred to the Appellate Division finding HPD failed to support the argument that issues of substantial evidence were raised. Also, it stated while Oliver admitted her income was not accurately reported, she claimed it was an unintentional failure partially due to her confusion, mental disabilities, and minor daughter. HPD conceded there were "many mitigating" factors, yet a hearing officer ruled the fact the family may be displaced did not outweigh the harm to the agency. The court disagreed, finding the outcome shocked its conscience, ruling the decision to terminate Oliver's Section 8 subsidy was disproportionate to the offense, and must be vacated, remanding the matter to HPD for imposition of a lesser penalty.

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