Monday, February 23, 2015

OHA Lied About Damage Claims

After taking over the management of my building in 2009, I discovered that Kier Property  Management had not placed the ideal tenants in my building.  Not to sound unkind, but the extent of their approval criteria was apparently, "anyone with a heartbeat... and a sledge hammer."

After my first eviction, I photographically documented the enormous amount of damages to the unit and building, and the cost to repair them ($12,000+). and then contacted the Ogden Housing Authority to inquire about how to file a claim for damages that were above normal wear and tear. 

Robeka Sessions at Ogden Housing informed me that while there used to be a provision for filing a damage claim under the Moderate Rehabilitation Program, that provision was taken away after the Program ended in 1991 and no longer existed. 

Nevertheless, since I had already documented the damages, I sent the documentation to the Ogden Housing Authority along with a list of the damages and the cost to repair them, which became my regular habit after every eviction where excessive unit damages, if for no other reason than to show Ogden Housing what their clients had done to my property.

For more than 2-years and through 5-evictions, the Ogden Housing Authority repeatedly told me the same thing....
"There is no provision for filing a damage claim..."


...But with my sixth eviction, suddenly the story changed.

As had been my regular practice for more than 2-years and through 6-heavily damaged units, I documented the damages and sent the information to Robeka at Ogden Housing, and posed the question again, as though I had never asked it before.

Only this time, I got a different answer!

Maybe she was busy that day, or maybe she didn't realize who was asking, or maybe it was because I included the information I had found on  HUD's website? Whatever the reason, Robeka responded to me, stating that she would mail me a damage claim form and the went on to outline the procedure for me.

That was the day I found out that the Ogden Housing Authority had been lying to me for over 2 years, and the last day that I ever trusted them again.  It doesn't matter whether they lied to stay on budget, or whether they did it maliciously. The point is, they did it. while I spent thousands on unit repairs.  


I contacted HUD's Denver Field Office, who was less than pleased.  In turn, HUD contacted the Ogden Housing Authority to fnd out what they were doing and why.  Days later, I received a letter in the mail from Special Programs Manager, Lin Fulcher at the Ogden Housing Authority.  In the letter, that was cc'd to HUD also, Ms. Fulcher was very apologetic and generously offered to review my prior damage claims.

Obviously, the offer was made for no other purpose than to appease HUD, because at the end of the day, reviewing my prior claims was just about all the Ogden Housing Authority did, as they significantly reduced or disallowed the claims. 

Of the 6-claims, the Ogden Housing Authority rejected 3, because I had failed to follow damage claim procedure when the tenants moved out.  I question why the Ogden Housing Authority would expect me to follow procedure for a contract provision they spent over 2-years telling me no longer existed. 

Of the remaining 3-claims, the Ogden Housing Authority significantly devalued or disallowed many of the items claimed. 

Ms. Fulcher advised in her letter that the claims would be limited to the lesser of either the actual damage amount, or two months contract rent. However, the documentation included with the claim forms they sent me, specified actual damage or one month's rent  



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