Nozzi v. Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles

Facts: A local government intends to cut Section 8 benefits causing a rent increase for Section 8 tenants. The Section 8 program requires the government provide a comprehensible one-year notice to Section 8 tenants before enacting a change in benefits. One year prior to enacting the changes, the government sends a flyer to Section 8 tenants informing them of the change. The flyer explains the changes in the payment standard used to determine the portion of rent to be paid by each tenant, but does not explicitly state rents will rise as a result. Over the course of the next year, public meetings and presentations are held discussing the cuts in Section 8 benefits.

Claim: The Section 8 tenants seek to invalidate the changes to Section 8 benefits, claiming their due process rights were violated since they were not provided comprehensible one-year notice of an increase in rent as the initial flyer sent by the government did not explicitly state the rents would increase and was comprehensible only by someone with a detailed knowledge of Section 8 payment calculations.

Counterclaim: The government claims the cuts in Section 8 benefits are valid since the flyer, public meetings and community outreach programs provided the tenants with proper comprehensible one-year notice of the change in benefits.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the cuts in Section 8 benefits are invalid since the government did not meet the requirements of the due process clause by failing to provide comprehensible one-year notice explicitly notifying the tenants of the impending increase in rents. [Nozzi v. Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (2015) 806 F3d 1178]

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