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SAMUELS v. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

November 26, 1986

EUNICE SAMUELS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

 Barrington D. Parker, Senior District Judge:

 Plaintiffs, tenants of federally-funded public housing operated by the District of Columbia, brought this action to compel the District and its public housing officials to implement administrative grievance procedures consistent with the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437 et seq. and its accompanying regulations. *fn1" They have moved for partial judgment on the pleadings on the purely legal question whether the Housing Act empowers the hearing officers of the National Capital Housing Authority ("NCHA") to order non-economic relief to remedy tenants' grievances. They argue that the Housing Act mandates that local public housing authorities ("PHA") establish a comprehensive administrative grievance procedure to resolve all tenant demands. In opposing plaintiffs' motion, the District argues that the PHA hearing officers are only empowered to order rental abatements and cannot require any form of equitable relief.

 After consideration of the parties' supporting memoranda of points and authorities, this Court concludes that the hearing officers are empowered to order all necessary remedies including equitable relief and money damages. Plaintiffs' motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted.

 A. The statute and regulations

 The Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act of 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1437d(k) ("Act") directed the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") to promulgate and maintain regulations requiring local public housing authorities to establish and implement administrative grievance procedures to resolve tenants' disputes. In accordance with Congress' action, HUD promulgated regulations establishing a grievance procedure. 24 C.F.R. § 966.50. *fn2"

 The regulations established a comprehensive grievance procedure and provided that the grievance procedure was applicable to all tenants grievances, 24 C.F.R. § 966.51. Grievances were defined to include "any dispute which a tenant may have with respect to PHA action or failure to act in accordance with the individual tenant's lease." 24 C.F.R. § 966.53(a). Since all PHA leases required that the PHA "maintain the premises and project in safe and sanitary conditions . . . and make necessary repairs to the premises," 24 C.F.R. § 966.4(e), the hearing ...


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