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Housing Authority of the City of Danville, Illinois v. Love

August 13, 2007

THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF DANVILLE, ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BECKY LOVE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Vermilion County No. 06LM781 Honorable Joseph P. Skowronski, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Appleton

Published opinion

Defendant, Becky Love, is a tenant of plaintiff, the Danville Housing Authority. In an action for forcible entry and detainer, the trial court awarded possession to plaintiff. Defendant appeals, arguing that plaintiff failed to provide her the grievance procedure required by federal statutory law. We agree and, therefore, reverse the trial court's judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

The lease agreement provides as follows:

"III. Informal settlement of a grievance

Any grievance must be personally presented, either orally or in writing, to the [public housing authority's] central office or the management office of the development in which the complainant resides[,] within [10] days after the grievable event.

*** [T]he complainant will be contacted to arrange a mutually convenient time within [10] working days to meet so the grievance may be discussed informally and settled without a hearing. ***

Within five working days following the informal discussion, the [public housing authority] shall prepare and either hand-deliver or mail to [the] [t]enant a summary of the discussion ***.

***

IV. Formal Grievance Hearing

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the settlement arrived at in the informal hearing, the complainant must submit a written request for a hearing to the management office of the development where [the] [t]enant resides[,] no later than five working days after the summary of the informal hearing is received." (Emphases in original.)

On September 13, 2006, plaintiff served upon defendant a 30-day notice of termination of the lease. The grounds for termination were twofold: (1) defendant failed to keep the apartment clean and free of trash; and (2) the apartment was infested with mice, in violation of the prohibition against harboring animals.

On September 27, 2006, defendant hand-delivered a grievance to plaintiff, contesting the termination of the lease. Plaintiff never responded because it considered the grievance to be untimely. Under the lease, the deadline for submitting a grievance was September 23, 2006 (10 days after the "grievable ...


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