Informal Hearing Process
Please understand this is your only opportunity to present evidence and to defend your actions or inactions. You will not have an opportunity for another informal hearing. If you disagree with the final decision of the hearing officer, it must be appealed through the court system.
An informal hearing is a request for a Hearing Officer to consider whether the THA's decision to terminate the family's participation in the Housing Choice Voucher program is in accordance with THA's policies outlined in the Administrative plan and HUD regulations.
The hearing officer is a non-biased position appointed by the Compliance Officer or the Director of Assisted Housing and is neither involved in any of the day-to-day operations of the Housing Choice Voucher Program nor in any part of decision rendered of the intent to terminate rental assistance. The Hearing Officer, in making his or her decision, must do so based on the preponderance of credible evidence. This is defined as evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. The intent is not to prove criminal liability, but to establish that the act(s) occurred. Preponderance of evidence may not be determined by the number of witnesses, but by the greater weight of all evidence.
Preparing for The Hearing
- You have the right to review your file with a 24-hour written notice.
- You have the right to make copies of any documents in the file that relates to the termination of your assistance at 25 cents a copy.
- You have the right to seek legal assistance at your own expense to assist you through this process. Bay Area Legal Services provides legal representation to those who qualify. You may contact Bay Area Legal Services if you so choose at 813 232-1222. If either party chooses to seek legal counsel, both parties must be notified prior to the hearing.
- You have the right to bring any witnesses or evidence that will assist you in your defense.
At the Informal Hearing
- FIRST: The Hearing Officer will explain the procedures under which the hearing is conducted. All parties at the hearing will be required to sign a form of attendance and record a correct address.
- SECOND: The THA designated personnel will present the reason for the termination as well as define the regulation or procedure that was violated, and present all documentation and witnesses.
- THIRD: The participant or legal representative will present the defense for the termination and will present all evidence and witnesses.
- FOURTH: Both parties have the right to question all witnesses and review any documents presented. Documents review again should be done prior to the hearing in order to prepare for the defense.
- FINALLY: The Hearing Officer will close the meeting after all parties have had a chance to make his or her presentation. The Hearing Officer will attempt to render the written decision within 10 days.
The hearing officer's decision is the final decision of the Housing Authority of the City of Tampa. After the decision is rendered, there is no further opportunity for recourse through the Tampa Housing Authority. If the final decision is not in your favor, you have the right to hire legal counsel at your own cost.
If you are a person with a disability and require reasonable accommodations to access or participate in this hearing, please contact the THA Compliance Department via email with your request in writing at least 48 hours prior to the informal hearing.