How to Request an Informal Review if Your Application for Public Housing is Denied

How to Request an Informal Review if Your Application for Public Housing is Denied
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Last updated: January 2009

If you apply for public housing and are denied, you have the right to ask for an informal hearing.

When you are applying for public housing, make sure to provide all information and papers asked for by the Housing Authority. If you do not provide them with the information they request, they can deny your application because of this reason.

Make Sure You Get Certain Documents from the Housing Authority

You have the right to get from the Housing Authority office, a copy of:

  • The Admission and Occupancy Policy, which explains the rules for applying for housing, and
  • The Grievance Procedures, which explain the rules for filing a complaint
  • All of the documents in your Housing Authority file including criminal background checks, credit reports and interview and application forms

Please be aware that the Housing Authority can charge you a reasonable amount for the costs of copying. The Housing Authority CANNOT charge you for a copy of your criminal record or the criminal records of any other household member listed on your application.

You Have the Right To

  • Get a copy of the Admission Policies
  • Apply for housing
  • Fair evaluation of your application
  • A decision based on the Admission Policies
  • The right to an informal review about the Housing Authority's denial of your public housing application

If the Housing Authority Decides that You Qualify for Public Housing

You have the right to written notice that you qualify, the date that you should be able to move into public housing, and a place on the waiting list.

If the Housing Authority Decides that You Do Not Qualify for Public Housing

You have the right to prompt written notice with the exact reasons for the Housing Authority's decision that you don't qualify for public housing.

You Have Right To An Informal Review Challenging the Housing Authority's Decision to Deny Your Application

If you have applied for public housing and the Housing Authority denies your application, you should receive a letter from the Housing Authority telling you why your application was denied. The letter should also say that you have the right to an informal review. The letter will tell you that you must request the informal review within a certain number of days of the date of the letter. Make sure that you file your request for informal review within that time period.

Before the Informal Review:

After you request an informal review, you should receive a letter from the Housing Authority with the date and time of your informal review. You should prepare for your meeting by doing the following:

  • Look at the denial letter that you received from the Housing Authority; what reasons does it give for denying your application?
  • Some common reasons are: criminal record, history of evictions, poor credit history, and lying on your application
  • If the letter lists criminal record as one of the reasons, the Housing Authority must provide you with a copy of the record; go through the record to make sure that it is accurate. You cannot be denied public housing because of arrests or charges, only convictions. How long ago were the convictions? Have you kept your record clean since then? Have you participated in any community service projects or programs? If so, bring evidence of this to the hearing.
  • If the letter lists evictions as a reason for denial, look at your file to see how much time has past since the eviction; did you receive notice of the eviction? have you had a good rental history since then?
  • If the letter lists criminal activity such as drug possession or use, have you completed a rehabilitation program? If so, get a certificate of completion from the program and give a copy of this to the Housing Authority.
  • If you are accused of lying on your application, look at your Housing Authority file to see what they think you lied about on your application. Did you intentionally leave out a past eviction or conviction from your application or did you forget to include it because so much time has passed or because you never received notice of it? Do you have a disability or are you on any medications that make you more forgetful, tired, or unable to focus?

During the Informal Review:

You have the following rights at the hearing:

  • The right to bring witnesses that support your case
  • The right to show papers including letters of recommendation, medical records, proof of community service participation, completition of educational or rehabilitation programs and court documents that support your case
  • The right to ask questions of the witnesses against you

After the Informal Review:

You have the right to receive a written decision that must include:

  • The names of everyone who was at the conference
  • The date of the conference
  • The nature of the proposed decision (uphold denial or reverse denial)
  • The specific reasons for the Housing Authority's decision, and
  • Information on how to get a formal hearing if you are not satisfied
  • If the person making the public housing decision decides that you were correct in your challenge, you have the right to have a spot on the waiting list as if your application was not denied

How Do I Request an Informal Review with the Housing Authority?

Fill out and file a request for an informal review with the Housing Authority if you think that your application has been treated unfairly. To get instructions for filing and a copy of the request, click on the link below:

Letter Request for an Informal Review with the Housing Authority (A2J Guided Interview)

It is best to hand-deliver a copy of your request to the Housing Authority. Bring two copies so that you can keep one for yourself. Do not leave the office until you see that your request is stamped by the Housing Authority staff. If your request is not accepted when you try to file it, send it certified mail/return receipt requested (the post office can explain how to do this).

If the Housing Authority does not give you a conference time/day within a fair amount of time or you are not satisfied with the results of the hearing, please talk to a lawyer. You can search the "Helpful Organizations" section below to find free legal help. 

Helpful Organizations
The following organizations may be able to help you with

For a list of organizations in your area that may be able to help you, enter your zip code.



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