982.555 Informal hearing for participant.§ 982.555 Informal hearing for participant.
(a) When hearing is required. (1) A PHA must give a participant family an opportunity for an informal hearing to consider whether the following PHA decisions relating to the individual circumstances of a participant family are in accordance with the law, HUD regulations and PHA policies:
(i) A determination of the family's annual or adjusted income, and the use of such income to compute the housing assistance payment.
(ii) A determination of the appropriate utility allowance (if any) for tenant-paid utilities from the PHA utility allowance schedule.
(iii) A determination of the family unit size under the PHA subsidy standards.
(iv) A determination to terminate assistance for a participant family because of the family's action or failure to act (see § 982.552).
(v) A determination to terminate assistance because the participant family has been absent from the assisted unit for longer than the maximum period permitted under PHA policy and HUD rules.
(2) In the cases described in paragraphs (a)(1) (iv), (v) and (vi) of this section, the PHA must give the opportunity for an informal hearing before the PHA terminates housing assistance payments for the family under an outstanding HAP contract.
(b) When hearing is not required. The PHA is not required to provide a participant family an opportunity for an informal hearing for any of the following:
(1) Discretionary administrative determinations by the PHA.
(2) General policy issues or class grievances.
(3) Establishment of the PHA schedule of utility allowances for families in the program.
(4) A PHA determination not to approve an extension of the voucher term.
(5) A PHA determination not to approve a unit or tenancy.
(6) A PHA determination that an assisted unit is not in compliance with HQS. (However, the PHA must provide the opportunity for an informal hearing for a decision to terminate assistance for a breach of the HQS caused by the family as described in § 982.551(c).)
(7) A PHA determination that the unit is not in accordance with HQS because of the family size.
(8) A determination by the PHA to exercise or not to exercise any right or remedy against the owner under a HAP contract.
(c) Notice to family. (1) In the cases described in paragraphs (a)(1) (i), (ii) and (iii) of this section, the PHA must notify the family that the family may ask for an explanation of the basis of the PHA determination, and that if the family does not agree with the determination, the family may request an informal hearing on the decision.
(2) In the cases described in paragraphs (a)(1) (iv), (v) and (vi) of this section, the PHA must give the family prompt written notice that the family may request a hearing. The notice must:
(i) Contain a brief statement of reasons for the decision,
(ii) State that if the family does not agree with the decision, the family may request an informal hearing on the decision, and
(iii) State the deadline for the family to request an informal hearing.
(d) Expeditious hearing process. Where a hearing for a participant family is required under this section, the PHA must proceed with the hearing in a reasonably expeditious manner upon the request of the family.
(e) Hearing procedures - (1) Administrative plan. The administrative plan must state the PHA procedures for conducting informal hearings for participants.
(2) Discovery - (i) By family. The family must be given the opportunity to examine before the PHA hearing any PHA documents that are directly relevant to the hearing. The family must be allowed to copy any such document at the family's expense. If the PHA does not make the document available for examination on request of the family, the PHA may not rely on the document at the hearing.
(ii) By PHA. The PHA hearing procedures may provide that the PHA must be given the opportunity to examine at PHA offices before the PHA hearing any family documents that are directly relevant to the hearing. The PHA must be allowed to copy any such document at the PHA's expense. If the family does not make the document available for examination on request of the PHA, the family may not rely on the document at the hearing.
(iii) Documents. The term “documents” includes records and regulations.
(3) Representation of family. At its own expense, the family may be represented by a lawyer or other representative.
(4) Hearing officer: Appointment and authority. (i) The hearing may be conducted by any person or persons designated by the PHA, other than a person who made or approved the decision under review or a subordinate of this person.
(ii) The person who conducts the hearing may regulate the conduct of the hearing in accordance with the PHA hearing procedures.
(5) Evidence. The PHA and the family must be given the opportunity to present evidence, and may question any witnesses. Evidence may be considered without regard to admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings.
(6) Issuance of decision. The person who conducts the hearing must issue a written decision, stating briefly the reasons for the decision. Factual determinations relating to the individual circumstances of the family shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing. A copy of the hearing decision shall be furnished promptly to the family.
(f) Effect of decision. The PHA is not bound by a hearing decision:
(1) Concerning a matter for which the PHA is not required to provide an opportunity for an informal hearing under this section, or that otherwise exceeds the authority of the person conducting the hearing under the PHA hearing procedures.
(2) Contrary to HUD regulations or requirements, or otherwise contrary to federal, State, or local law.
(3) If the PHA determines that it is not bound by a hearing decision, the PHA must promptly notify the family of the determination, and of the reasons for the determination.
(g) Restrictions on assistance to noncitizens. The informal hearing provisions for the denial of assistance on the basis of ineligible immigration status are contained in 24 CFR part 5.(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2577-0169) [60 FR 34695, July 3, 1995, as amended at 60 FR 45661, Sept. 1, 1995; 61 FR 13627, Mar. 27, 1996; 64 FR 26650, May 14, 1999; 65 FR 16823, Mar. 30, 2000; 80 FR 8247, Feb. 17, 2015; 80 FR 50575, Aug. 20, 2015]