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Chicago Housing Auth. v. Stewart

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 26, 1969.

CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, APPELLEE,

v.

LINDSEY STEWART, APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN W. NAVIN, Judge, presiding.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE UNDERWOOD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The sole question in this case is whether the plaintiff has given the defendant notification of reasons for the termination of his tenancy and an opportunity to reply to those reasons, as required by a regulation issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, prior to giving him notice to vacate.

On January 31, 1958, the defendant entered into a month-to-month tenancy for an apartment in a federally assisted, low-rent housing project owned and operated by the Chicago Housing Authority. On January 17, 1967, the manager addressed to him the following communication:

"You are hereby notified that because of your repeated rent delinquency, you have been placed on a special list of CHRONIC DELINQUENT tenants.

Beginning next month, you will be required to pay your rent on or before the first of each month. In the past your rent has been accepted after Five Days' Notices demanding rent had been served on you and had expired. On these occasions, when your rent was paid, eviction action was stopped.

IN THE FUTURE, FAILURE TO PAY YOUR RENT ON OR BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH WILL RESULT IN FINAL TERMINATION OF YOUR TENANCY AND YOU WILL BE EVICTED REGARDLESS OF ANY SUBSEQUENT OFFERS TO PAY."

On March 10, defendant was served with a termination notice requesting him to surrender his apartment by the end of the month. The notice was in accordance with the terms of the written lease, under which either party had the right to terminate by giving the other at least 15 days notice. Defendant refused to vacate, and forcible entry and detainer proceedings were begun the following month, culminating in a judgment for possession.

The defendant appealed to this court and we affirmed, holding that absent a showing that the tenant was being evicted for exercising some constitutionally protected right neither due process nor the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation required the plaintiff to furnish the defendant, prior to giving notice to vacate, the reasons for his eviction. (Chicago Housing Authority v. Stewart, 40 Ill.2d 23.) Following our decision, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari. That court vacated the judgment (Stewart v. Chicago Housing Authority, 393 U.S. 482, 21 L.Ed.2d 689, 89 S.Ct. 708, and remanded the case to this court for further consideration in light of Thorpe v. Housing Authority, 393 U.S. 268, 21 L.Ed.2d 474, 89 S.Ct. 518.

In Thorpe the court held that "housing authorities of federally assisted public housing projects must apply the February 7, 1967, HUD circular before evicting any tenant still residing in such projects on the date of this decision." (393 U.S. 268, 21 L.Ed.2d at 479, 89 S.Ct. at 522.) We were advised at the time of oral argument on remand of this case that the defendant, at the time Thorpe was decided, was still residing in the housing project. Accordingly, under Thorpe the action of the plaintiff must meet the requirements of the HUD circular.

The full text of that circular is as follows:

"DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

Washington, D.C. 20410

Circular 2-7-67

Office of the Assistant Secretary For Renewal and ...


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