New York City Hous. Auth., Edenwald Houses v Ramirez

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[*1] New York City Hous. Auth., Edenwald Houses v Ramirez 2018 NY Slip Op 51281(U) Decided on August 28, 2018 Civil Court Of The City Of New York, Bronx County Sanchez, J. Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law ยง 431. This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.

Decided on August 28, 2018
Civil Court of the City of New York, Bronx County

New York City Housing Authority, Edenwald Houses, Petitioner,

against

Elva Ramirez, Respondent.



808457/17



For Petitioner: NYCHA Law Department

For Respondent: No Appearance
Enedina Pilar Sanchez, J.

This is a holdover proceeding based on termination of the lease. Petitioner, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) seeks to recover the apartment rented to respondent, the tenant of record, for the reasons contained in the "decision and disposition of termination [that] was entered by the Impartial Hearing Officer on April 20, 2017."

The respondent did not appear. An inquest was held on August 21, 2018.



Petitioner's Case

Housing Assistant, Kathy Pacheco, was sworn in and testified. A lease was entered into evidence and showed respondent as the tenant of record. Ms. Pacheco testified that respondent has been a tenant since 2002. Respondent is over 60 years old. During the testimony, the Court was informed that the respondent is a person in receipt of SSI benefits. No further information was known as to respondent's continued status as a recipient of SSI benefits.

Petitioner's witness stated that respondent's tenancy was terminated because she "failed, neglected, or refused to furnish complete income verification information satisfactory to the New York City Housing Authority." Petitioner alleged that respondent was provided with a notice of an administrative hearing but failed to appear. Failure to appear at the administrative hearing resulted in a termination of the tenancy.

The Court notes that the petition alleges a monthly rent of $252.00, which is approximately 30% of the SSI benefits believed to be issued to the respondent.



Discussion:

The evidence presented indicates that petitioner has been on notice that respondent is a person dependent on SSI benefits.

Pursuant to Kelvin Blatch, et.al., v. Tino Hernandez, et. al., USDC, Southern District, 97 Civ.3918 (hereafter the Blatch Consent Decree, filed October 10, 2008), NYCHA "is enjoined [*2]from proceeding with a termination of tenancy hearing. . . with a resident who, as a result of mental disease or defect, is incompetent . . . unless such person is represented by a guardian appointed under Article 81 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law or by an appropriate person acting as a guardian ad litem."

"In proceedings against residential tenants in Housing Court, when the Housing Authority appears before a housing court judge or request a warrant of eviction in cases where there has been no prior appearance before a judge, the Housing Authority will advise the court of information in its possession indicating that the tenant may be incompetent, as defined in paragraph 2."[FN1]

The evidence shows that respondent was not represented by a guardian appointed under Article 81 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Law or by a guardian ad litem at the administrative hearing held on March 30, 2017 or at the Housing Court inquest. Respondent's status as a recipient of SSI benefits was made known to the court on the day of the inquest. An SSI recipient may be a person intended to be included in the class addressed in the Blatch Consent Decree. The Blatch Consent Decree sought to implement reasonable remedial measures to resolve underlying problems of tenants with mental disabilities prior to instituting termination of tenancy proceedings.

Based on the information disclosed at the inquest, petitioner's request for a final judgment of possession cannot be granted at this time.

This matter is adjourned to determine compliance with the Blatch Consent Decree and whether respondent requires a guardian ad litem for this proceeding. This case will appear on the calendar on, October 18, 2018, at 9:30 AM, in Part A, Room B129.

This Decision/Order is being mailed to both sides.

This constitutes the Decision/Order of this Court.



So ordered,

Dated: August 28, 2018

Bronx, New York

_____________________

ENEDINA PILAR SANCHEZ

Judge, Housing Court Footnotes

Footnote 1: The Blatch Consent Decree, at paragraph 2., provides: "A tenant or grievant is incompetent if, as a result of mental disease or defect, the tenant or grievant is unable to (1) understand the nature of the proceedings or (2) adequately protect and assert his/her rights and interests in the tenancy."