Housing

Everyone, regardless of race or income, deserves access to safe and affordable housing.

 

CJP helps to ensure access to housing by litigating important issues affecting housing, both private and public. We represent people who have been denied housing due to race, sex, national origin, family size, and other reasons.  

 

Our recent work includes:

Mobile Home Park Residents Have Special Legal Protections 

Mobile homes are a major source of affordable housing in rural Pennsylvania. People who own their mobile home but rent the ground lot from a park owner are vulnerable to losing their equity due to the practices of their landlords. To protect these residents, the Manufactured Home Community Rights Act requires advance written notice of rent and fees, relocation assistance in the event of park closure, and other unique protections.

Knox et al. v. M&N Mobile Home Park (C.P. Fayette Co.)

Salazar v. Horizon Land Company (C.P. Allegheny Co.)

HUD’s Obligations When it Forecloses on Property it Subsidizes

 

When HUD forecloses on property it is helping to support, often it must provide relocation assistance to people who lose their housing and often it must continue its housing subsidies in the area.  

 

Massie et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of HUD, 620 F.3d 340 (3d Cir. 2010).

 

The Duty to Reasonably Accommodate a Tenant's Disability

 

Public Housing Authorities, like all landlords, are required by federal law to reasonably accommodate their residents’ disabilities, physical or emotional, even when the disabilities cause tenants to behave in ways that may violate their leases.

 

Brooker v. Altoona Housing Authority et al., No. 3:11-00095 (W.D. Pa. 2011).

Relocation Help When Displacing People During Federally-Funded Projects

 

The Federal Uniform Relocation Act requires agencies that displace people from their housing while engaging in projects that use federal funding to consult the people in the process, attempt to minimize displacement, provide options for places to live while displaced, and provide financial assistance, among other things.

 

Holton et al. v. Harrisburg Housing Authority, No. 10-2675 (M.D. Pa. 2011)

Corby et al. v. Scranton Housing Authority et al., No. 04-2523 (M.D. Pa. 2006)

 

 

Obligation of the Government Not to Segregate People by Race

 

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prevent a state or local government and the federal government from discriminating against racial minority groups in their housing, including acting to segregate persons on the basis of race.

 

Sanders v. HUD, 872 F. Supp. 216 (W.D. Pa. 1994)

Township of  Fayette v. ACHA, 185 F. 3d 863 (3d Cir. 1999)

 

Federal laws, such as the Uniform Relocation Assistance Act and Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (fair housing), prevent a city from displacing residents in such a way that they are resettled in racially-concentrated, high poverty areas.

 

Sims et al. v. Urban Redevel. Auth. of Pittsburgh et al. No. 03-1181 (W.D. Pa. 2003).

Public Housing Tenants’ Right to Hearings

 

The United States Housing Act and the Constitution require a Housing Authority to give its tenants written notice of their right to a grievance hearing to dispute allegations that the tenant is behind in rent and subject to eviction.

 

An applicant for federal housing benefits may not be denied help, based on evidence against the applicant, without giving the applicant an opportunity to challenge the evidence at an informal hearing

 

When a Public Housing Authority decides to terminate a tenant’s section 8 subsidy, it must provide the tenant with advance notice in writing that includes the reasons for termination and an opportunity for the tenant to challenge these reasons.

 

Harris-Allen et al. v. Scranton Housing Authority et al., No. 05-477 (M.D. Pa. 2005)

Phillips v. Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, No. 11-126 (W.D. Pa. 2011)

Rivera v. Reading Housing Authority, No. 09-527 (E.D. Pa. 2009)

Thompson et al. v. Altoona Housing Authority et al., No. 3:10-00312 (W.D. Pa. 2011)

 

Limits on How Housing Authorities Determine Eligibility for Housing Subsidies

 

Applicants for federal housing subsidies have the right to be eligible for benefits that cannot be denied by the use of arbitrary disqualification rules.

 

Davis et al. v. McKeesport Housing Authority, No. 07-198 (W.D. Pa. 2008)

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