NEW BRUNSWICK HOUSING AUTHORITY
The grievance procedure defined in HUD regulations is applicable
to resident families in public housing who disagree with an action,
decision, or inaction of the New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA).
The grievance procedure describes the policies to be used when families
disagree with an NBHA decision. It is the policy of the NBHA to
ensure that all families have the benefit of all protections due
to them under the law.
Grievance. Any dispute which a resident may
have with respect to an NBHA action or failure to act in accordance
with the individual tenant's lease or NBHA regulations which adversely
affect the individual tenant's rights, duties, welfare, or status.
Complainant. Any tenant whose grievance is
presented to the NBHA.
Hearing Officer. A person selected in accordance
with this grievance procedure to hear grievances and render a decision
with respect thereto.
Resident. A lessee or the remaining head of
household of any tenant family residing in housing accommodations
owned or leased by the NBHA.
Elements of Due Process. An eviction action
or a termination of tenancy in a State or local court in which the
following procedural safeguards are required.
Adequate notice to the tenant of the grounds for terminating
the tenancy and for eviction;
Opportunity for the tenant to examine all relevant documents,
records, and regulations of the PHA prior to the trial for the
purpose of preparing a defense;
Right of the tenant to be represented by counsel;
Opportunity for the tenant to refute the evidence presented by
the NBHA including the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses
and to present any affirmative legal or equitable defense which
the tenant may have;
A decision on the merits of the case.
This Grievance Procedure applies to all individual grievances, except
any grievance concerning a termination of tenancy or eviction that
a) Any criminal activity, that threatens the health, safety,
or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises of other residents
or NBHA employees, or
b) Any violent or drug-related criminal activity on or off such
c) Any criminal activity that resulted in a felony conviction
of a household member.
In addition, the Grievance Procedure does not apply
to disputes between residents not involving the NBHA and grievances
involving a class or group of residents.
Informal Conference Procedures
Any grievance shall be presented orally or in writing
to the NBHA office or to the housing management office who sent
the notice on which the grievance is based. Written grievances must
be signed by the complainant. The grievance must be presented within
a reasonable time, not past the first working day after the 10th
day of the action or failure to act which is the basis for the grievance.
It may be simply stated, but shall specify:
The particular grounds upon which it is based,
The action requested; and
The name, address, and telephone number of the complainant, and
similar information about the complainant's representative, if
The purpose of the initial discussion is to resolve
the grievance without the necessity of a formal hearing.
Within five working days, a summary of this discussion
will be given to the complainant by an NBHA representative. One
copy will be filed in the resident's file.
The summary will include: names of participants, the
date of the meeting, the nature of the proposed disposition, and
the specific reasons for the disposition. The summary will also
specify the steps by which an formal hearing can be obtained.
Dissatisfaction with Informal Conference
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the proposed
disposition of the grievance, s/he shall submit a written request
for a hearing within 10 working days of the date of the summary
of the informal meeting.
The request for a hearing must be presented to the
NBHA's central office.
The request must specify the reason for the grievance
request and the relief sought.
Failure to Request a Formal Hearing
If the complainant does not request a formal hearing
within 10 working days, s/he waives his/her right to a hearing,
and the NBHA's proposed disposition of the grievance will become
final. This section in no way constitutes a waiver of the complainant's
right to contest the NBHA's disposition in an appropriate judicial
Right to a Hearing
After exhausting the informal conference procedures
outlined above, a complainant shall be entitled to a hearing before
a hearing officer.
The head of household or other adult household member
must attend the hearing.
If rescheduling of the hearing is necessary, the hearing
must be rescheduled at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled
hearing time or the complainant waives their right to a hearing.
If the complainant fails to appear within 30 minutes
of the scheduled time, the complainant waives their right to a hearing.
The NBHA will provide reasonable accommodation for
persons with disabilities to participate in the hearing. The NBHA
must be notified within 10 days of the scheduled time if special
accommodations are required.
Selection of Hearing Officer
A grievance hearing shall be conducted by an impartial
person or persons appointed by the NBHA other than the person who
made or approved the NBHA action under review, or a subordinate
of such person.
Procedures to Obtain a Hearing
All grievances must be informally presented as a prerequisite
to a formal hearing.
The hearing officer may waive the prerequisite informal
conference if, and only if, the complainant can show good cause
why s/he failed to proceed informally.
Before a hearing is scheduled in any grievance involving
an amount of rent the NBHA claims is due, except grievances concerning
imputed welfare benefits or the use of minimum rent, the complainant
shall pay an escrow deposit to the NBHA in an amount of all rent
due and payable as of the month preceding the month in which the
act or failure to act took place. Grievances concerning imputed
welfare benefits and minimum rents are exempt from the escrow deposit
The complainant shall thereafter deposit the same
amount of the monthly rent in an escrow account each month until
the complaint is resolved by decision of the hearing official or
The NBHA may waive these escrow requirements in extraordinary
Unless so waived, failure to make the required escrow
payments shall result in termination of the grievance procedure.
Failure to make such payments does not constitute
a waiver of any right the complainant may have to contest the NBHA's
disposition of the grievance in any appropriate judicial proceeding.
If the complainant complies with the procedures outlined
above, a hearing shall be scheduled by the hearing officer promptly
within 10 working days at a time and place reasonably convenient
to the complainant and the NBHA.
A written notification of the date, time, place, and
procedures governing the hearing shall be delivered to the complainant
and the appropriate NBHA official.
The hearing shall be held before a hearing officer.
The complainant shall be afforded a fair hearing and
be provided the basic safeguards of due process to include:
The opportunity to examine and to copy before the hearing all
documents, records and regulations of the NBHA that are relevant
to the hearing with at least a 24 hour notice to the legal department
prior to the hearing. Any document not so made available after
request by the complainant may not be relied upon by the NBHA
at the hearing.
The NBHA shall also have the opportunity to examine and to copy
all documents, records and statements that the family plans to
submit during the hearing to refute the NBHA's inaction or proposed
action. Any documents not so made available to the NBHA may not
be relied upon at the hearing.
The right to a private hearing unless otherwise requested by
The right to be represented by counsel or other person chosen
as a representative.
The right to present evidence and arguments in support of the
complaint, to controvert evidence presented by the NBHA , and
to confront and cross-examine all witnesses upon whose testimony
or information the NBHA relies, limited to the issues for which
the complainant has received the opportunity for a formal hearing;
The right to a decision based solely and exclusively upon the
facts presented at the hearing.
If the hearing officer determines that the issue has
been previously decided in another proceeding, a decision may be
rendered without proceeding with the hearing.
If the complainant or NBHA fail to appear at the scheduled
hearing, the hearing officer may make a determination that the party
has waived his/her right to a hearing.
Such a determination in no way waives the complainant's
right to appropriate judicial proceedings in another forum.
At the hearing, the complainant must first make a
showing of an entitlement to the relief sought and thereafter the
NBHA must sustain the burden of justifying the NBHA action or failure
to act against which the complaint is directed.
The hearing shall be conducted by the hearing officer
Oral and documentary evidence pertinent to the facts and issues
raised by the complaint may be received without regard to admissibility
under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings;
The hearing officer shall require the NBHA, complainant, counsel,
and other participants and spectators to conduct themselves in
an orderly manner. The failure to comply with the directions of
the hearing official/panel to maintain order will result in the
exclusion from the proceedings, or a decision adverse to the interests
of the disorderly party and granting or denial of the relief sought,
The NBHA arranges, in advance, in writing, for a transcript
or audiotape of the hearing. Any interested party may purchase a
copy of such transcript.
Decisions of the Hearing Officer/Panel
The hearing officer shall give the NBHA and the complainant
a written decision, including the reasons for the decision, within
10 working days following the hearing. The NBHA will place one copy
in the tenant files. The written decision will be sent to the address
provided at the hearing.
The decision of the hearing officer shall be binding
on the NBHA which shall take all actions necessary to carry out
the decision, unless the NBHA Board of Commissioners determines
within 10 working days of the next Board meeting following the decision
of the hearing officer and so notifies the complainant that:
The grievance does not concern the NBHA action or failure to
act in accordance with or involving the complainant's lease or
NBHA regulations which adversely affect the complainant's rights,
duties, welfare or status;
The decision of the hearing officer is contrary to applicable
Federal, State, or local law, HUD regulations or requirements
of the Annual Contributions Contract between HUD and the NBHA.
A decision by the hearing officer or NBHA Commissioners
in favor of the NBHA or which denies the relief requested by the
complainant in whole or part shall not constitute a waiver of, nor
affect in any manner whatever, the rights of the complainant to
a trial or judicial review in any proceedings which may thereafter
be brought in the matter.
Housing Authority Eviction Actions
If a tenant has requested a hearing in accordance
with these duly adopted Grievance Procedures on a complaint involving
a NBHA notice of termination of tenancy, and the hearing officer
upholds the NBHA action, the NBHA shall not commence an eviction
action until it has served a notice to vacate on the tenant.
In no event shall the notice to vacate be issued prior
to the decision of the hearing officer having been mailed or delivered
to the complainant.
Such notice to vacate must be in writing and specify
that if the tenant fails to quit the premises within the applicable
statutory period, or on the termination date as stated in the notice
of termination, whichever is later, appropriate action will be brought
against the complainant. The complainant may be required to pay
court costs and attorney fees.
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