Public Housing; Enforcement
Requires mandatory reporting for criminal property damage, drug dealing or drug use, and terroristic threatening. Requires the housing authority to evict tenants who violate rules.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to public housing.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Chapter 356D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding two new sections to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§356D- Adoption of project house rules. (a) The authority shall require each public housing project to adopt house rules pursuant to chapter 91 including rules that:
(1) Specify penalties and consequences for violations of rental agreements, project house rules, and rental agreements;
(2) Require mandatory reporting to the proper county police department of any activity that may constitute an offense of criminal property damage under chapter 708; and
(3) Require mandatory reporting to the proper county police department of any activity that may constitute an offense of terroristic threatening under chapter 707;
(4) Require project managers to report to the authority any findings of violations under paragraphs (2) and (3).
§356- Zero tolerance for drug dealing or drug use. Any suspected drug dealing or drug use by a tenant, visitor, or guest in any public housing project shall be reported by the authority to the proper county police department. Suspected drug activity that leads to a conviction under part IV of chapter 712 shall be grounds for eviction under section 356D-92(b)."
SECTION 2. Section 356D-46, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) The authority may:
(1) Investigate living, dwelling, and housing conditions and the means and methods of improving those conditions;
(2) Enter upon any building or property to conduct investigations or to make surveys or soundings;
(3) Conduct unannounced visits to verify that the proper tenant is occupying the unit and complying with authority rules;
(3)] (4) Conduct examinations and
investigations, and hear testimony and take proof under oath at public or
private hearings on any matter material for its information;
(4)] (5) Issue subpoenas requiring the
attendance of witnesses or the production of books and papers, and order the
examination of witnesses who are unable to attend before the authority, are
excused from attendance, or by leave of courts as provided by chapter 624, are
out of the State; and
(5)] (6) Make available to any
government agency charged with the duty of abating or requiring the correction
of nuisances or like conditions, or of demolishing unsafe or unsanitary
structures within its jurisdictional limits, its findings and recommendations
with regard to any building or property where conditions exist that are
dangerous to the public health, safety, or welfare."
SECTION 3. Section 356D-92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§356D-92 Termination and eviction. (a) Except as otherwise provided, the authority may terminate any lease, rental agreement, permit, or license covering the use and occupation of any dwelling unit or other premises located within a public housing project and evict from any premises any tenant, licensee, or other occupant for any of the following reasons:
(1) Failure to pay rent when due;
(2) Violation of any of the provisions of a lease, rental agreement, permit, or license;
(3) Violation of any of the rules of the authority;
(4) Failure to maintain the dwelling unit in a clean, sanitary, and habitable condition; or
(5) The existence of any other circumstances giving rise to an immediate right to possession by the authority.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the authority shall terminate any lease, rental agreement, permit, or license covering the use and occupation of any dwelling unit or other premises located within a public housing project and evict from any premises any tenant, licensee, or other occupant upon:
(1) Three or more felony criminal convictions;
(2) Any conviction under part IV of chapter 712; or
(3) The third violation of a public housing project's house rules.
(b)] (c) When any tenant has
been delinquent in payment of rent, the authority, either directly or through
its managing agent, shall provide the tenant with a written notice no later
than forty-five days from the date of delinquency that shall inform the tenant
of the delinquency and schedule a meeting between the tenant and the authority
or its agent. The written notice shall:
(1) Inform the tenant that continued delinquency shall result in the tenant's eviction;
(2) Inform the tenant of the tenant's right to apply for an interim adjustment in rent;
(3) Explain to the tenant the steps of the grievance and eviction processes and how the processes protect the tenant;
(4) Provide the tenant with a sample letter for demanding a grievance hearing;
(5) Set forth the location, date, and time, which shall be no earlier than fourteen days from the date of the written notice, at which the tenant may meet with the authority or its agent to discuss the delinquency in rent; and
(6) Inform the tenant that the tenant shall either attend the meeting or, if applicable, contact the authority or the authority's agent before the meeting time to reschedule the meeting.
(c)] (d) At the meeting
described in subsection [ (b),] (c), the authority or its agent
(1) Inquire into the cause of the tenant's delinquency and offer suggestions, if any, that the authority may feel appropriate to address the causes of delinquency;
(2) Consider whether a reasonable payment plan is appropriate for the tenant's situation and, if appropriate, offer a payment plan to the tenant; and
(3) Inform the tenant of and explain the issues as
required under subsection [
(b)(1),] (c)(1), (2), and (3).
(d)] (e) The authority shall
develop a checklist outlining all of the requirements listed in subsection [ (c).]
(d). The authority or its agent and the tenant shall complete, sign,
and date the checklist to memorialize the meeting.
(e)] (f) If the tenant fails to
attend or reschedule the meeting provided for in subsection [ (b),] (c),
the authority shall provide the tenant with a second written notice. The
notice shall inform the tenant that:
(1) The authority shall proceed to terminate the
tenant's tenancy because of the tenant's outstanding rent delinquency and the
tenant's failure to respond to the authority's written notice issued pursuant
to subsection [
(2) The tenant has ten business days from receipt of the second written notice to request a grievance hearing; and
(3) If the tenant fails to request a grievance hearing within ten business days, the authority has the right to proceed with the eviction hearing pursuant to section 356D-93.
(f)] (g) If the tenant meets with the authority as
provided for in subsection [ (b),] (c), the authority shall
decide, based upon the facts discussed at the meeting, what action is
appropriate to address the tenant’s case. The authority shall notify the
tenant of its decision in writing. If the authority decides to proceed with an
action to terminate the tenancy, the authority shall further inform the tenant
in the same written notice that:
(1) The tenant has ten business days from receipt of this notice to request a grievance hearing; and
(2) If the tenant fails to request a grievance hearing within ten business days, the authority has the right to proceed with the eviction hearing pursuant to section 356D-93."
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.