The First Department, over a two-justice dissent, determined the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it denied petitioner succession rights to his mother's apartment. Petitioner had moved in with his mother to care for her when she became unable to care for herself. The NYCHA knew petitioner had moved in to care for his mother but repeatedly denied petitioner's applications to become an occupant of his mother's apartment on “overcrowding” grounds:
Respondent's determination denying petitioner succession rights to his mother's apartment was arbitrary and capricious. Petitioner's mother submitted multiple applications to add petitioner to the lease as required by 24 CFR 966.4(a)(1)(v). The first application was denied on the ground that adding petitioner to the household “will create overcrowding”; the second, not on that basis but allegedly because petitioner signed the application on his disabled mother's behalf. NYCHA never considered evidence of petitioner's mother's disability in denying the applications.
The ground proffered for the denial, i.e., that adding petitioner to the household would result in overcrowding, creates an unacceptable Catch-22 — a request to add an additional family member will almost always result in overcrowding unless NYCHA fails simultaneously to consider transferring the applicant to a larger apartment. NYCHA guidelines provide that an “overcrowded” apartment should not result in a summary denial of the RFM's (remaining family member's) claims; rather, the housing manager should inform the new tenant that he may submit a request to transfer to a new apartment. Matter of Aponte v Olatoye, 2016 NY Slip Op 02708, 1st Dept 4-7-16