HNRK Wins Summary Judgment on Behalf of the New York State Housing Finance Agency
On March 23, 2016, Senior Judge Norman A. Mordue of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York granted summary judgment to our client New York State Housing Finance Agency (“NYSHFA”), along with two other defendants, dismissing with prejudice all of plaintiffs’ claims in Onondoga Hilltop Homes, Inc. et al v. Syracuse Housing Authority et al, 5:12-CV-626 (NAM/ATB). Plaintiffs had sued under Section 8 of the Housing Act claiming that under they were entitled to automatic annual rent increases, and that defendants’ failure to provide them was a breach of the Housing Assistance Payments Contract (“HAP Contract”) between them and NYSHFA. Judge Mordue also denied plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. Judge Mordue ruled that NYSHFA did not breach the HAP Contract by failing to provide annual adjustments in contract rents because plaintiffs failed to request such adjustments, which were required by a rider to the HAP Contract. Judge Mordue held that the rider was a part of the HAP Contract and that its requirement for a request created a condition precedent to any obligation of NYSHFA. Finally, Judge Mordue ruled that enforcing this condition precedent did not result in a disproportionate forfeiture because the contract rents that plaintiffs received were always greater than the fair market rents published by HUD.