Hawaii Public Housing Authority; Common Area Expenses; Hearings
Authorizes the Hawaii public housing authority to assess all the units in a state public housing project for common area expenses; eliminates most procedural requirements to hearings for eviction of tenants from public housing, but requires written notice per federal law; requires evictions from state low-income housing to be conducted by hearings officers appointed by the authority; clarifying that for federal low‑income housing, hearings shall be conducted by eviction board; authorizes an eviction board or hearings officer to consider a tenant's involvement in their child's school in making a determination; prohibits the authority from selling any land developed for any public housing project. (CD1)
TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE HAWAII PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this part is to make the administration of housing projects by the Hawaii public housing authority more efficient by:
(1) Authorizing the Hawaii public housing authority to assess all the units in a state public housing project a fee for the common area expenses of the housing project;
(2) Eliminating most procedural requirements preliminary to hearings for evictions of tenants of public housing projects;
(3) Requiring written notice to delinquent tenants in accordance with federal law;
(4) Requiring evictions from state low-income housing to be conducted by a hearings officer appointed by the Hawaii public housing authority;
(5) Clarifying that for federal low-income housing, hearing shall be conducted by an eviction board;
(6) Authorizing an eviction board or hearings officer to consider a tenant's involvement in their child's school in making a determination; and
(7) Prohibiting the Hawaii public housing authority from selling land developed for any public housing project.
SECTION 2. Chapter 356D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§356D‑ Assessments for common area expenses. (a) In accordance with rules adopted by the authority pursuant to chapter 91, at least one per cent of common area expenses for a state public housing project shall be assessed against all the units in the state public housing project.
(b) If any common area expense is caused by the misconduct of any unit resident, the authority may assess that expense exclusively against the unit resident.
(c) The authority, either directly or through its managing agent or resident manager, shall notify the unit residents of a state public housing project in writing of common area expense assessment increases at least thirty days prior to an increase."
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) 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] in accordance with requirements
imposed under federal law 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) At the meeting described in subsection
(b), the authority or its agent shall: (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), (2), and (3). (d) The authority shall develop a checklist
outlining all of the requirements listed in subsection (c). The authority or
its agent and the tenant shall complete, sign, and date the checklist to
memorialize the meeting. (e) If the tenant fails to attend or
reschedule the meeting provided for in subsection (b), 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 (b); (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) If the
tenant meets with the authority as provided for in subsection (b), 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] and
(1) The tenant has ten business days from receipt of [
the 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 4. Section 356D-93, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§356D-93[ ]] Hearings.
(a) Where the authority proposes to terminate a lease or rental agreement and
evict a tenant under section 356D-92, a hearing shall be held to determine
whether cause exists for the action. The authority shall give written notice
to the person concerned specifying the reason for which the eviction is
proposed and fixing the date and place of hearing. The written notice shall
further inform the tenant of the right to inspect and copy the tenant file at
the tenant's expense before the hearing is held. The notice shall be given at
least five days before the date set for the hearing. At the hearing, before
final action is taken, the person concerned shall be entitled to be heard in
person or through counsel, and shall be accorded a full and fair hearing in
accordance with the requirements of a contested case hearing provided for under
sections 91-9 and 91-10 to 91-13. This full and fair hearing shall be deemed
to be a contested case hearing before the authority that is required pursuant
to chapter 91.
Hearings] For federal
low-income housing, hearings shall be conducted by an eviction board
appointed by the authority. The eviction board shall consist of not fewer than
three persons, of which one member shall be a tenant. At least one eviction
board shall be established in each county of the State. The findings,
conclusions, decision, and order of the eviction board shall be final unless an
appeal is taken as hereinafter provided.
(c) For state low-income housing, hearings shall be conducted by a hearings officer appointed by the authority. At least one hearings officer shall be appointed in each county of the State. The findings, conclusions, decision, and order of the hearings officer shall be final unless an appeal is taken as hereinafter provided.
(d) In a hearing under subsection (a) that involves a tenant who has custody of a school age child or children residing with the tenant, the eviction board or hearings officer shall solicit information regarding the tenant's regular participation in school activities or meetings during the current and previous school year from the school or schools in which the child or children are or were enrolled. This information shall be considered in determining the findings, conclusions, decision, and order.
(c)] (e) The eviction board or
hearings officer shall have the same powers respecting administering oaths,
compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of documentary
evidence, and examining witnesses, as are possessed by circuit courts. In case
of disobedience by any person of any order of the eviction board, hearings
officer, or of any subpoena issued by the eviction board[ ,] or
hearings officer, or the refusal of any witness to testify to any matter
regarding which the witness may lawfully be questioned, any circuit judge, on
application by the eviction board[ ,] or hearings officer, shall
compel obedience as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a
subpoena issued by a circuit court, or a refusal to testify therein."
SECTION 5. Section 356D-94, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) If it is proven to the satisfaction of the eviction board or hearings officer that there is cause to terminate a lease or rental agreement and evict the tenant, the authority shall provide the tenant with a written notice of the authority's decision to terminate the tenancy. The notice shall inform the tenant that a writ of possession may be issued by the authority within ten business days. The notice shall also inform the tenant whether the grounds for eviction are considered curable and, if so, what the tenant must do to remedy the grounds, by when it must be done, and what the tenant must do to document for the authority that the grounds have been remedied."
SECTION 6. Section 356D-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§356D-4[ ]] General
powers of the authority. (a) The authority may:
(1) Sue and be sued;
(2) Have a seal and alter the same at pleasure;
(3) Make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers; and
(4) Adopt bylaws and rules in accordance with chapter 91 for its organization, internal management, and to carry into effect its purposes, powers, and programs.
(b) In addition to other powers conferred upon it, the authority may do all things necessary and convenient to carry out the powers expressly provided in this chapter.
(c) The authority shall not sell any land developed for any public housing project."
SECTION 7. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.
SECTION 8. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.
SECTION 9. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 10. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2009.