New York State’s highest court ruled today that the embattled New York City Housing Authority can evict tenants for lying about their incomes, the Associated Press reported. The Court of Appeals decision overturns a ruling from a lower court that claimed the punishment would leave a family homeless.
The case focuses on NYCHA resident Jacqueline Perez, a mother of three, who lied about her income and was evicted. Despite having a job, she claimed in affidavits from 1999 to 2005 that she was unemployed, which kept her rent at a lower rate.
In 2006, she was charged with grand larceny for failing to report her earnings and for allegedly defrauding the public housing authority of $27,000 in rent payments. She pleaded guilty to a petty larceny charge, was sentenced to conditional discharge and consented to pay a sum of $20,000 in restitution.
The court said the enforcement of income rules at NYCHA housing forms “a vital public interest.”
“Absent from the [lower court’s] analysis,” wrote Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. in the ruling, “is any estimate of how probable it is that petitioner’s eviction would result in homelessness.”
Perez has income, he asserted, and didn’t previously claim that she would become homeless.
Perez’s attorney and NYCHA did not return the AP’s calls seeking comment. [AP via NYP] –Zachary Kussin