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Requesting an Informal Hearing
To ensure fairness, Home Forward has an informal hearing procedure for you to dispute certain decisions about your rent assistance benefit.
You may request an informal hearing to consider whether a Home Forward decision about your circumstances was made in accordance with the law, HUD regulation, and Home Forward policies.
An informal hearing may be requested for the following types of Home Forward decisions:
- Determination of the household’s annual or adjusted income, and the use of such income to compute the housing assistance payment
- Determination of the appropriate utility allowance (if any) for the tenant-paid utilities from Home Forward’s utility allowance schedule
- Determination of the family’s unit size under Home Forward's Subsidy Standards
- Determination that a participant is residing in a unit with a larger number of bedrooms than appropriate for the household size under Home Forward’s Subsidy Standards, or a determination to deny the participant's request for an exception from the standards
- Determination to terminate assistance to a participant because of a participant's action or failure to act
- Determination to terminate assistance because the participant has been absent from the assisted unit for longer than the maximum period permitted under Home Forward policy and HUD rules
Home Forward is NOT required to provide an opportunity for an informal hearing in the following instances:
- Discretionary administrative determinations by Home Forward
- General policy issues or class grievances
- Establishment of Home Forward's schedule of utility allowances for participants in the program
- Determination not to approve an extension or suspension of a voucher
- Determination not to approve a rental unit or lease
- Determination that an assisted rental unit is not in compliance with Housing Quality Standards (however, if Home Forward decides to terminate assistance for a breach of Housing Quality Standards caused by the participant, the opportunity for an informal hearing must be provided)
- Determination that a rental unit is not in compliance with Housing Quality Standards because of household size
- Determination not to exercise any right to remedy against the landlord under a Home Forward contract
Notifications and Procedures
If Home Forward makes a decision regarding your rent assistance benefits that qualifies for an informal hearing opportunity, Home Forward will notify you. The notice will include a statement that the explanation and hearing must be requested within a specified time period. The participant must request the informal hearing within this time period.
If the informal hearing is requested within the specified time period, the Section 8 office will schedule the time, date, and place that the hearing will take place. A confirmation notice will be sent to the participant. The notice will also include the following information:
- At his/her own expense, the participant may be represented by a lawyer or other representative
- The person conducting the informal hearing may regulate conduct at the meeting according to Home Forward's established procedures
- Both Home Forward and the participant shall be given the opportunity to present evidence, and may question any witnesses, but the rules of evidence for judicial proceedings are not applicable
- The person conducting the review shall issue a written decision stating briefly the reasons for the decision. Factual determinations relating to the individual circumstances of the tenant shall be based on evidence presented at the hearing. A copy of the decision shall be furnished promptly to the participant.