Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Section 8 Admin Plan Ch 13: Termination of Assistance

Section 8 Admin Plan

Chapter 13:Termination of Assistance

13.1 Definitions

13.1.1 Drug Related Criminal Activity

 (a)      The manufacture, sale, distribution, or use, or the possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute a controlled substance, as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 802);
 
(b)      The use or possession (other than with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute) of a controlled substance, except that such use or possession must have occurred within one year before the date that the PHA provides notice to an Applicant to deny Admission pursuant to 24 C.F.R. § 982.553.  

13.1.2  Violent Criminal Activity 

Violent Criminal Activity includes any criminal activity that has as one of its elements the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another. 

13.1.3  Termination Due to Domestic Violence 

See section 1.2.5 for restrictions regarding the termination of a participant who may be a victim of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking. 

13.2     Mandatory Termination 

The following chapter outlines the program violations for which the BHA can terminate a Family’s assistance. Certain program violations allow the BHA to use its discretion in deciding whether or not terminate the Family’s assistance. See section 13.3. The following are list of program violations which require the BHA to terminate the Family’s assistance:   

13.2.1  Eviction for Lease Violations 

The BHA must terminate program assistance for a Family evicted from federally assisted housing for serious violations of the Lease.  The BHA will use its discretion to determine which Lease violations are serious. 

13.2.2  Consent Forms 

The BHA must terminate the assistance of a Participant if any Family member fails to sign the Consent forms as required in 24 C.F.R. part 5, Subparts B and F.  

13.2.3  Evidence of Citizenship 

The BHA must terminate assistance if the Participant has failed to submit evidence of eligible immigration status or a form certifying that a Family member does not wish to claim eligible Citizen or non-Citizen status for each Family member, or because the Applicant or Participant cannot provide evidence of Citizen, National, or Eligible Non-Citizen Status for at least one Family Member pursuant to 24 C.F.R. part 5 (See Chapter 5 section 5.6 for requirements for evidence of Citizenship and immigration status). 

13.2.4  Manufacture of Methamphetamine 

The BHA must terminate assistance if a Participant has ever been convicted of Drug Related Criminal Activity as a result of manufacture or production of methamphetamine on the Premises of federally assisted housing. The Premises includes the dwelling, common areas, and grounds. 

13.3     Discretionary Termination 

The Administrator or his or her designee may use discretion at any time (before or after an informal hearing) to decide whether or not to terminate a Family’s assistance for any of the program violations listed in this section.  

13.3.1  Consideration of Circumstances 

The BHA will use the following non-exhaustive list when using its discretion to decide whether or not to terminate the subsidy:
 
(a)        Consideration of circumstances generally. The BHA has the discretion to consider all of the circumstances in each case including, but not limited to, the seriousness of the offense, the extent of the criminal history, the extent of participation by Family members, and the effects that termination will have on Family members not involved in the alleged activity.  
 
(b)        Reasonable Accommodation. The BHA shall consider a request for Reasonable Accommodation by a Participant who has a disability or handicap, has a record of a disability or handicap, or is perceived as having a disability or handicap. The BHA will follow its Reasonable Accommodation Policy to determine whether or not an Accommodation should be made for a Participant who is a Disabled Person.
 
(c)        Mitigating Circumstances. The BHA shall consider mitigating circumstances such as active participation in, or completion of, a supervised drug treatment program.
 
(d)        Termination of a portion of the Family. The BHA may, in its discretion, terminate only certain members of the Family, if there is sufficient evidence that the Family member who engaged in the alleged activity will not reside in the unit or if the Head of Household certifies that the Family Member who engaged in the alleged activity will not reside in the Unit.
 
(e)        Domestic Violence.  The BHA may consider an incident or incidents directly related to Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking as mitigating circumstances is directly related to the reason for termination. 

13.3.2  Eviction from Federally Assisted Housing 

If any member of the Family has been evicted from federally assisted housing for serious or repeated lease violations in the past five years. 

13.3.3  Termination of Assistance 

If a Public Housing Authority has ever terminated assistance under the program for any member of the Family.

13.3.4  Debt to Housing Authority 

(a)        If the Family currently owes rent or other amounts to the BHA or another Public Housing Authority in connection with Section 8 Program, public housing assistance under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, or any other Publicly Assisted Housing Program.[1]
           
(b)        The Participant as a previous or current Participant in the Section 8 program has not reimbursed the BHA or another Public Housing Authority for amounts paid to an Owner under a Contract for rent or other amounts owed by the Family under the Lease.
 
(c)        If the Family breaches an agreement with the BHA to pay amounts owed to the BHA, or amounts paid to an Owner by the BHA.   

13.3.5  Fraud 

If any member of the Family has committed fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt criminal act in connection with any Federal housing program.
 
(a)        When a participant has failed to accurately report his/her family composition and income information or falsely verifies said information resulting in the BHA overpaying a subsidy on his or her behalf the participant must repay these monies to the BHA. A Section 8 participant is obligated to pay money owed to the BHA as a condition of continued participation in the program. 

(i)         The family must either pay the amount owed in full within thirty (30) days of the BHA determination of debt; or
(ii)        Enter into a repayment agreement and abide by its terms 

(c)        Terms of the Agreement 

(i)         The maximum term of a repayment agreement should not exceed thirty-six (36) months. A waiver of up to twenty-four (24) additional months may be granted by a BHA Leased Housing director or his/her designee for verifiable mitigating circumstances. 
(ii)        Monthly Payments – the monthly payment is set at tthe discretion of the BHA, so that the debt in full will be satisfied within the thirty-six (36) month period, however the monthly payment combined with the participant’s monthly share of his/her rent may not exceed 40% of his/her monthly adjusted income. The participant may make a lump sum payment up front to reduce his/her monthly obligation. .

(d)               Missed Payments

(i)          If a participant misses a total of three payments at any time during the term of the repayment agreement, he/she is in default of the agreement and the BHA will proceed with termination upon notice to the participant.
(ii)        If the participant pays the entire debt in full or the participant becomes current with the repayment agreement, prior to the date of the termination hearing, Leased Housing may decide to withdraw its proposed termination. 

(e)        The BHA is not obligated to enter into a repayment agreement with a participant. The BHA may terminate assistance to a family for reasons including, but not limited to: 1) fraud; 2) refusing to enter into a repayment agreement; and or 3) any violation of family obligations, including fraud.

(f)         If a participant’s assistance is terminated and or a participant has failed to abide by any repayment agreement, the BHA may take all necessary steps to collect monies owed including referring the matter to a third party debt collector, reporting monies owed to EIV and or legal action.
 
(g)        The BHA will not enter into a repayment agreement if there is already a repayment agreement in place with the family or if the amount of debt owed by the family exceeds the Federal or State threshold for criminal prosecution. 

13.3.6  Drug Related Criminal Activity 

The BHA may terminate assistance for a Participant Family if the BHA determines that any Family Member is currently engaged in:
 
(a)      Any illegal use of a drug; or
 
(b)      A pattern of illegal use of a drug which interferes with the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of the Premises by other residents.
 
Note: The BHA may not deny or terminate assistance for past use or possession of a controlled substance by a Family member if the Family member can demonstrate that (s)he has an addiction, has a record of an addiction, or is regarded as having an addiction to a controlled substance, and can demonstrate that (s)he is in recovery from any such addiction, and does not currently use or possess controlled substance. The BHA may require a Family Member who has engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance to submit evidence of participation in, or successful completion of, a treatment program as a condition to being allowed to reside in the Unit. 

13.3.7 Alcohol Abuse 

The Participant’s or a Family member’s abuse or pattern of abuse of alcohol may threaten the health or safety of, or the right to peaceful enjoyment of the Premises by other residents.
 
(a)        A Participant’s dependency on alcohol will not help to mitigate violations of the Participant’s requirement to meet the obligations of the program.
 
(b)      The BHA may require a Family member whose abuse or pattern of abuse of alcohol has threatened the health or safety of, or the right to peaceful enjoyment of the Premises by other residents to submit evidence of participation in, or successful completion of, a treatment program as a condition preceding being allowed to reside in the Unit. 

13.3.8  Behavior towards BHA staff 

If the Family member has engaged in or threatened abusive or violent behavior towards BHA personnel. 

13.3.9  Violation of Family Obligations 

The Participant has violated any Family obligation under the program by action or failure to act as listed in section 13.5.2 or as set forth in 24 C.F.R. § 982.551. 

13.4     Termination of Assistance Due to Lack of Adequate Funding 

13.4.1  Background                       

The BHA is prohibited from assisting Families over either its annual baseline number of Vouchers per its approved Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) with HUD or its Annual Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Budget Authority from HUD.  In the event that the BHA’s Annual HAP Budget Authority is reduced to an amount that will no longer support the number of Families currently participating in the program, the BHA shall determine the number of families that must be terminated from assistance due to the lack of adequate funding from HUD. The BHA shall follow the steps outlined in this section in terminating assistance to families.  

13.4.2  Excluded Families           

A Family in any of the following categories shall be excluded from any termination of assistance due to lack of funding from HUD:
 
(a)        Elderly Family,
 
(b)        Disabled Family, or
 
(c)        Any Family that is under an agreement in the Homeownership program or subject to a BHA relocation agreement. 

(d)        Any Family where the owner, at the request of the BHA, has agreed to an amendment to the HAP Contact which reduced the contract rent. Such amendment must have been executed prior to any HAP terminations due to lack of funding

13.4.3  Determining HAP Contracts to be Terminated

The BHA shall terminate the HAP contract on behalf of a Family based upon the Families date of admittance to the program.  For this purpose, the BHA shall consider the Family’s original Lease date under the BHA’s Section 8 Program to be their date of admittance to the HCVP. The Family that was first admitted to the program, according to their Lease date, shall be the first to have the HAP contract terminated due to the lack of adequate funding from HUD.  The BHA will refer Families where the HAP contract on their behalf has been terminated to appropriate agencies to find available housing.

13.4.4  Referral of Families to other BHA programs 

The BHA may refer families where the HAP has been  terminated due to lack of adequate funding from HUD, to any other BHA programs which may have vacancies in an effort to house these families.

13.4.5 Resumption of Terminated Subsidies

The BHA will reissue a voucher to Families, where the HAP contract has been terminated due to lack of funding only when funding is restored to levels adequate to support the resumption of additional HAP payments. The BHA will do so by the participants admittance dated (original lease date) beginning with the most recent admittance date to oldest admittance date.

13.5     Family Obligations 

13.5.1  Tenants Informed of Family Obligations 

(a)        The BHA will supply the Family with a written description of the Family obligations
 
(b)        The Head of Household will sign the Family obligations at each annual Recertification to certify that he/she understands and will comply with the obligations of the program.  

13.5.2  HCVP Family Obligations 

Participants in the HCVP must follow the Family obligations.  Violation of the Family obligations by an act or a failure to act may result in termination of assistance.
           
This section states the obligations of a Participant Family under the program.
 
(a)             Supplying required information

(1)               The Family must supply any information that the BHA or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines necessary in the administration of the program, including submission of required evidence of Citizenship or eligible immigration status (as provided in section 4.6) as required by federal regulations. “Information” includes any requested certification, release or other documentation.
 
(2)               The Family must supply any information requested by the BHA or HUD for use in a regularly scheduled reexamination of Family income and composition in accordance with HUD requirements. See section 10.1.1 for specific requirements. 
 
(3)               The Family must disclose and verify social security numbers (as provided by part 5, subpart B of 24 C.F.R.) and must sign and submit Consent forms for obtaining information in accordance with part 5, subpart B of 24 C.F.R.  

(b)             HQS Breach Caused by Family. The BHA may terminate a Participant from the Section 8 program for life threatening HQS violations that the Participant does not correct within 24 hours. The BHA may terminate assistance for non life-threatening HQS violations that the Family does not correct the violation within thirty (30) days. The BHA may also terminate a Participant under this provision for one or more of the following reasons. 

(1)               The Family fails to pay for any utilities that the Owner is not required to provide, but which are to be paid by the tenant.
 
(2)               The Family fails to provide and maintain any appliances that the Owner is not required to provide, but which are to be provided by the Family.
 
(3)               If any Family member or any guest damages the dwelling Unit or common areas beyond ordinary wear and tear. An action for termination under this provision may be commenced for one or more of the following  reasons: 

i.                        A BHA Inspector determines that the damage was a result of intentional or reckless conduct. For the purpose of this section "reckless conduct" shall be defined as rash, heedless, wanton conduct; acting with indifference and/or disregard to the possibility or probability of causing damage to property of the Section 8 Family or the property of any other residents;
 
ii.                        The damage was of such an extreme nature. The following factors may serve as a guideline to determine whether damage is considered to be extreme: 

1.                  Number of identified areas damaged within the unit;
 
2.                  The degree of damage beyond normal wear and tear. 

Note:   The examples above are not exclusive and a variety of authentic data relating to the damage/incident may be used either together or individually to determine if damage is extreme. 

(c)               Allowing BHA inspection. The Family must allow the BHA to inspect the Unit at reasonable times and after reasonable notice.
 
(d)               Violation of Lease. The Family may not commit any serious or repeated violation of the Lease
 
(e)               Family notice of move or Lease termination. The Family must notify the BHA and the Owner before the Family moves out of the Unit, or terminates the Lease on notice to the Owner.
 
            The Family must give the BHA a copy of the thirty-day notice of termination that the Family gave to the Owner before the Family can move to a new Apartment with assistance.
 
(f)                 Owner eviction notice. The Family must promptly give the BHA a copy of any Owner eviction notice. Promptly means within two weeks of receiving the eviction notice for the purposes of this section. 
 
(g)               Use and occupancy of the Unit.

(1)               The Family must use the assisted Unit for residence by the Family. The assisted Unit must be the Family’s only residence.
 
(2)               All Family members residing in the Unit must be approved by the BHA. The Family must promptly notify (within thirty (30) days) the Housing Authority of the birth, adoption, or court-awarded custody of a child. The Family must request and receive BHA approval before adding any other Family member as an occupant of the Unit. No person other than members of the assisted Family may reside in the Unit, except a foster child[2] or a Personal Care Attendant. 
 
(3)               The Family must promptly notify BHA (within thirty (30) days) that a Family member no longer resides in the Unit.
 
(4)               If the BHA has given approval, a foster child or a Personal Care Attendant may reside in the Unit. See also the definition of Family in Chapter 18: Glossary.
 
(5)               A Family Member may engage in legal profit making activities in the Unit, but only if such activities are incidental to the primary use of the Unit for residence by members of the Family.
 
(6)               The Family must not sublease or let the Unit.
 
(7)               The Family must not assign the Lease or transfer the Unit. 

(h)               Absence from the Unit. The Family must supply any information or certification requested by the BHA to verify that the Family is living in the Unit, or relating to a Family absence of the Unit, including any BHA requested information or certification regarding Family absences. The Family must cooperate with the BHA for this purpose. The Family must promptly notify (within thirty (30) days) the BHA of an absence from the Unit. Absence means that no member of the Family resides in the Unit.  See also section 11.6.
 
(i)                  Interest in the Unit. The Family must not own or have an interest in the Unit.
 
(j)                  Fraud and other program violation. The members of the Family must not commit fraud, bribery, or any other corrupt criminal act in connection with the programs.
 
(k)                Crime by Family Members. The members of the Family may not engage in Drug-Related Criminal Activity or Violent Criminal Activity or other criminal activity that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other residents and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the Premises. 
 
(l)                  Alcohol abuse by Family Members. The members of the Family must not abuse alcohol in a way that threatens the health, safety or right to peaceful enjoyment of other Participants and persons residing in the immediate vicinity of the Premises.
 
(m)             Other housing assistance. An assisted Family, or any member of the Family, may not receive Section 8 tenant-based assistance while receiving another housing subsidy, for the same Unit or for a different Unit, under any duplicative (as determined by HUD or in accordance with HUD requirements) federal, State or local housing assistance program.     

13.6     Procedure for Terminating Assistance

13.6.1  Consideration of Circumstances 

In determining whether to terminate assistance because of action or failure to act by members of the Family:
                       
(a)        The BHA may consider all relevant circumstances, such as the seriousness of the violation, the extent of participation or culpability of individual Family members, mitigating circumstances related to the Disability of a Family member, the role of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking, and the effects of the termination of assistance on other Family members who were not involved in the violation(s). 
 
(b)        The BHA may impose, as a condition of continued assistance for other Family members, a requirement that Family members who participated in or were culpable for the action or failure to act will not continue to reside in the Unit.  The BHA will impose this requirement by removing the Family member from the Family Composition and having the Head of Household sign an agreement stating that the person who violated the program rules will not visit or reside in the assisted Unit or visit in the assisted Unit. A failure to keep this agreement may result in termination.
 
(c)        If the Family includes a Disabled Person, the BHA decision to terminate may be subject to consideration of a request for Reasonable Accommodation. The BHA will inform every Family subject to termination of their right to request a Reasonable Accommodation under the BHA’s Reasonable Accommodation policy.          

13.6.2  Proposed Termination Notice 

The Leasing Officer will send the Family a notice of proposed termination (by first class and certified mail).  The notice will contain a brief statement with the reason for the proposed termination. The notice will also explain the Family’s right to request an informal hearing if they disagree with the BHA basis for termination.
 
If the Certified Mail is returned to the BHA with a return receipt indicating that delivery was attempted by the USPS but that the addressee failed to pick up the certified mail, AND the first class mail is NOT returned, the notice will be considered received. 

13.6.3  Failure to Respond to Termination Notice 

If the Family fails to respond within twenty (20) days (thirty (30) days under HUD’s non-citizen rule), the BHA will send the Participant a thirty (30) day notice of termination (by first class and certified mail). The BHA will also send a copy of the letter to the Owner.  The BHA will grant a request for a hearing when a Participant submits a late request, together with evidence of compelling circumstances that prevented the Participant from requesting a hearing within twenty (20) days.  
 
Compelling Circumstances – when analyzing whether or not a participant’s reasons for requesting a late hearing are compelling, the hearing officer will consider the following when determining whether or not the participant has good cause for requesting a late hearing: (1) the written facts or circumstances submitted by the participant which show that the participant is not willful (a willful act is a deliberate, intentional or voluntary act) or culpable (culpable is to be responsible or liable) in making the late request, which would require more than mere action or inaction (for example the participant’s reason for not requesting a hearing timely should not due be to something the participant did or failed to do); (2) the swiftness with which the participant has attempted to remedy the default; (3) the existence of any meritorious defense to the underlying allegations; as well as, other equitable criteria such as: (a) whether the default resulted from a good faith mistake in following a rule or procedure; (b) the nature of the participant’s explanation for not requesting a timely hearing; (c) the availability of other alternative sanctions; (d) whether not granting a late hearing would produce a harsh or unfair result.

13.6.4  Reinstatement after Failure to Request a Hearing 

If the failure to request a hearing within twenty (20) days is due to a documented disability, the BHA will reinstate the subsidy. See also BHA Reasonable Accommodation in Rental Assistance Policies and Procedures).  

13.6.5  Private Conference 

The BHA will use its discretion to schedule a private conference with a Family in an attempt to the alleged violation(s). The BHA has no obligation to schedule a private conference before the informal hearing. 

13.7     Informal Hearings for Participant Families 

13.7.1  When an Informal Hearing must be offered to a Family 

The BHA will offer a Family participating in the program an informal hearing for the following reasons:
 
(a)        A determination of the Family’s annual or adjusted income, and the use of such income to compute the Housing Assistance Payment;
 
(b)        A determination of the appropriate Utility Allowance (if any) for tenant-paid utilities from BHA allowance schedule; 
 
(c)        A determination of the Family Unit Size under the BHA Subsidy Standards;
 
(d)        A determination to terminate assistance for a Participant Family because of the Family’s action or failure to act;
 
(e)        A determination to terminate assistance because the Family has been absent from the assisted Unit for longer than maximum period permitted under BHA policy and HUD rules.  See section 13.5.2(h); 
 
(f)         A determination to deny a Reasonable Accommodation;
 
(g)        A determination to deny assistance under the BHA's Residual Family policy. 

13.7.2  When an informal hearing is not required 

The BHA is not required to provide a Participant Family an opportunity for an informal hearing for any of the following:
 
(a)        Discretionary administrative determinations by the BHA;
 
(b)        General policy issues or class grievances;
 
(c)        Establishment of the BHA schedule of Utility Allowances for families in the program;
 
(d)        A BHA decision not to approve an extension or suspension of a Voucher term;
 
(e)        A BHA determination not to approve a Unit or tenancy;
 
(f)         A BHA determination that an assisted Unit is not in compliance with HQS;
 
(g)        A BHA determination that the Unit is not in accordance with HQS because of the Family size;
 
(h)        A BHA determination to exercise or not to exercise any right or remedy against the Owner under a HAP Contract. 

13.7.3  Notice to the Family to Request an Informal Hearing

(a)        In the cases described in sections 13.7.1(a), (b), and (c), the BHA will notify the Family of the basis for the BHA determination. The BHA will attempt to schedule a private conference in accordance with section 13.6.5 and section 8.6 in these situations.  If a resolution cannot be reached at the Private Conference, the BHA will notify the Family in writing that the Family may request an informal hearing within twenty (20) days.
 
(b)        In the cases described in sections 13.7.1(d), (e), (f), and (g), the BHA will notify the Participant as explained in section 13.6.2. 

13.7.4  Expeditious Hearing Process 

The BHA will hold a hearing and issue a decision promptly.  The Family will continue receive assistance while a decision is pending.
 
Pursuant to Sections 11.3, 11.3.1 and/or 11.3.2., the BHA may deny relocation with continued assistance where there are grounds for denial or termination of assistance.

13.7.5  Hearing Procedures

 
(a)               Time to request a hearing. The Participant has twenty (20) days from the date of the proposed termination letter, except in Non-Citizen Rule cases where the time period shall be 30 days from the date of the notice of termination of assistance for any Family member.
 
(b)               Scheduling. The BHA Department of Grievances and Appeals will schedule an informal hearing upon the receipt of a Participant's written request.  The Participant will be given at least fourteen (14) days notice prior to the hearing date.
 
(c)               Discovery.

(1)               The BHA will give the Family the opportunity to examine before the hearing, any documents in BHA’s possession that are directly relevant to the hearing. The BHA will allow the Family to make copies of the relevant documents before the hearing at the Family’s expense. The BHA will also allow a representative of the Family with an authorized release may have access to the file. If the BHA does not make the document available to the Family for examination upon request, then the BHA may not rely on the document at the hearing. 
 
(2)               The Family must allow the BHA to examine any Family documents that are directly relevant to the hearing before the hearing upon request. The Family must allow the BHA to examine the relevant documents at the BHA and the Family will allow the BHA to copy the relevant documents at the BHA’s expense. If the Family does not make the document available to the BHA for examination upon request, then the Family may not rely on the document at the hearing. 
 
(3)               Either party may request an extension if required to rebut documents that were not provided to the opposing party prior to the hearing.  Extensions will be granted at the discretion of the hearing officer.

 
(d)        Amendments to Proposed Terminations. If the BHA wishes to amend the grounds for the proposed termination, the BHA must notify the Participant of the amendment in writing, not less than fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing date. The amendment will be sent by regular and certified mail to the Participant’s address of record.  When sending out an amended proposed termination notice, the amended notice shall contain all violations. If the Participant has already requested a hearing due to the original proposed termination, a request for a hearing due to the amended notice is not required.  
 
(e)        Representation of Family. At its own expense, the Family may be represented by a lawyer or other representative of the Family’s choice.
 
(f)               Evidence. The BHA and the Family will each be given the opportunity to present evidence and question any witnesses. The Hearing Officer may consider evidence without regard to admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings.
 
(g)        Hearing File.  The hearing file shall consist of all documents submitted by either party in relation to the subject of termination.  The BHA shall maintain audio recordings of all termination hearings. 
 
(h)        Hearing Officer. Any designated BHA employee may conduct the informal hearing, other than a person who made the decision under review or his or her subordinate. The person who conducts the hearing may regulate the conduct of the hearing in accordance with the BHA’s hearing procedures.
 
(i)         Extensions.  The hearing officer may use discretion to grant an extension or continue the hearing to hear additional evidence or testimony. 
 
(j)         Issuance of Decision. The hearing officer shall make a factual determination relating to the individual circumstances of the Participant based on a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing. The hearing officer shall take into consideration all relevant circumstances and any mitigating circumstances presented by the Participant. The hearing officer shall promptly render a written decision stating briefly the reasons for the decision. The hearing officer will send a copy of the decision to the Family by certified and first class regular mail. The hearing officer will also forward a copy of the decision to the Leased Housing Division and the Leasing Officer.
 
(k)        Failure to attend the hearing.  The BHA may terminate the subsidy, if the Participant does not attend the hearing and does not attempt to reschedule within twenty-four (24) hours prior to hearing., or appears for the hearing thirty (30) or more minutes late. The BHA will reschedule hearing when a Participant submits evidence of compelling circumstances that prevented the Participant attending the hearing on the scheduled date. If the Participant does not attend the hearing because the scheduling notice was not received due to the Participant’s failure to give the BHA the correct and most current address the BHA may terminate the subsidy. If the scheduling notice was sent via certified mail and first class mail and is returned to the BHA with a return receipt indicating that delivery was attempted by USPS but that the addressee failed to pick up the certified mail AND the first class mail is NOT returned as undeliverable, the hearing notice will be considered received.
 
(l)         Effect of Decision. 

(1)        If the decision to terminate the Family’s assistance is upheld, the Family will no longer receive assistance under the section 8 program. The Leased Housing Division will promptly send the Owner and the Participant a 30-day notice of termination. There is no additional opportunity within the BHA to appeal the hearing officer’s decision. 
 
(2)        If the decision to terminate the Family’s subsidy is reversed, the Family will continue to receive assistance under the Section 8 program and will be considered a tenant in good standing.
 
(3)        The Administrator or his or her designee may find that the BHA is not bound by an informal hearing decision: 

(i)         Concerning a matter for which the BHA is not required to provide an opportunity for an informal hearing, or that exceeds the authority of the person conducting the hearing, or
 
(ii)        Is contrary to HUD regulations or requirements, or otherwise contrary to federal, State or local law.
 
Under such circumstances, the Administrator or his or her designee will make the determination to continue or terminate Participant’s assistance. The BHA will promptly notify the Participant of the determination, and of the reasons for the determination.  There will be no further opportunity within the BHA to appeal the decision.  

(4)        The BHA may use its discretion to overturn a hearing that was “upheld” if the reason for termination was discretionary.  If the BHA overturns an “upheld” hearing, it does not have to meet the requirements listed in section l(3) above.  
 


[1] Other Publicly Assisted Housing Program – means residence in any housing program assisted under M.G.L. Chapter 121B (such as state-assisted public housing for families, Elderly or disabled persons), or Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program or assisted under the United States Housing Act of 1937 as amended (42 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq.) (such as federally-assisted public housing for families, Elderly or disabled persons, Section 8 certificate/voucher, project-based certificate, moderate rehabilitation, loan management/property disposition leased housing program, Indian housing, or tenant-based assistance under the HOME program)

[2] See definition of Family in the Glossary for BHA’s policy on foster children.