Heard: December 1, 2016.
process. Complaint filed in the Boston Division of the
Housing Court Department on September 15, 2014.
case was heard by MaryLou Muirhead, J.
Stephanie Schuyler (Hoang Nguyen also present) for the
G. Hofmann for the landlord.
Present: Cypher, Maldonado, & Blake, JJ.
Wilkerson appeals from a Housing Court judgment, entered
following a bench trial, that awarded the plaintiff
possession of an apartment in which Wilkerson resided with
her three grandchildren. Wilkerson argues that the judge
erred in concluding that the conduct of her juvenile grandson
constituted criminal activity that materially breached her
lease. In addition, Wilkerson argues that the judge erred by
striking her request for a jury trial after she failed to
comply with a Housing Court pretrial conference order
requiring the submission of a pretrial conference memorandum.
summarize the facts from the judge's findings, reserving
some facts for later discussion. Wilkerson is a resident at the
Harbor Point Apartments in the Dorchester section of Boston
(Harbor Point). CMJ Management Company (CMJ) is Harbor
Point's managing agent. Harbor Point is a housing
development combining market-rate and subsidized units. Of
the 1, 283 units, 400 are subsidized pursuant to the Section
8 Housing Assistance Program of the United States Housing
Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1437 et seq. (Section 8 program).
Wilkerson had custody of her fourteen year old grandson, who,
along with his two adult brothers, were authorized occupants
of her apartment. In July of 2014, while playing with other
children in one of the common areas of the apartment complex,
the juvenile grandson fired a BB gun multiple times, injuring
two juvenile residents. Later that day, a Harbor Point
security guard went to Wilkerson's apartment, spoke with
Wilkerson and the juvenile about the incident, and
confiscated the BB gun. The parents of the injured children
apparently did not pursue criminal charges. The following
week Wilkerson received a notice to quit, terminating her
to the Section 8 program, Wilkerson's tenancy is
subsidized by the United States Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD). As such, the lease she signed is a
"model lease" provided by HUD. Paragraph 13(c) of
Wilkerson's lease provides that Wilkerson "agrees
not to . . . engage in or permit unlawful activities in the
unit, in the common areas or on the project grounds."
Subparagraphs (c) and (d) of paragraph 23 of the lease
provide in relevant part:
"c. The Landlord may terminate [the lease] only for the
"1. the Tenant's material noncompliance with the
terms of this Agreement;
". . .
"6. criminal activity by a tenant, any member of the
tenant's household, a guest or another person under the
"(a) that threatens the health, safety, or right to
peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other residents . . .;
" • • •
"d. . . . The term material noncompliance with the lease
"(1) one or more substantial violations of the