McFadden, Presiding Judge.
Gould appeals the superior court's dismissal of her
petition for certiorari in which she sought review of a
hearing officer's decision upholding the decision of the
Housing Authority of the City of Augusta to terminate her
Section 8 voucher benefits. We agree with Gould that the
hearing officer's decision is subject to review on
certiorari because the hearing was quasi-judicial in nature
and the hearing officer exercised judicial powers. Thus, we
reverse the superior court's dismissal of the petition.
question of whether the superior court lacked jurisdiction is
an issue of law that this court reviews de novo. See
Goddard v. City of Albany, 285 Ga. 882, 883 (1) (684
S.E.2d 635) (2009). So viewed, the record reflects that the
Housing Authority of the City of Augusta is the public
housing authority that administers the federal
government's Section 8 housing vouchers program for the
city of Augusta and is governed by federal regulations
codified in 24 CFR § 982, et seq. The United States
Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD")
is the regulatory agency that oversees the voucher program.
24 CFR § 982.1. Under the voucher program, the housing
authority issues vouchers to qualified families, those
families submit the vouchers to participating landlords, and
the landlords, in turn, redeem the vouchers with the housing
authority for payment. The housing authority funds its
regular voucher payments with annual contributions from HUD,
and those contributions are only permitted to be used for
regular voucher payments. See Jones v. Housing Auth. of
Fulton County, 315 Ga.App. 15, 17 n. 2 (726 S.E.2d 484)
(2012). In accordance with HUD requirements, the housing
authority adopted a written administrative plan that
established policies for administration of the program. See
24 CFR § 982.54 (a).
was issued a voucher under federal Section 8 Housing
Assistance Payments Program for Existing Housing (Section 8)
by the housing authority, which she used to rent a home from
her landlord. After an annual inspection, the housing
authority determined that Gould's residence did not meet
the housing quality standards required under federal
regulations, and it gave notice to Gould that the vouchers to
her landlord would be terminated. Gould then sought approval
from the housing authority to move to a new residence.
Pursuant to the housing authority's administrative plan,
before Gould could be issued new vouchers for a new
residence, the housing authority required the submission of a
"zero balance letter" from Gould's current
landlord stating that Gould did not owe the landlord any
money for rent or damages. The landlord refused to issue the
housing authority then terminated Gould's participation
in the Section 8 program for her failure to comply with the
housing authority family obligations and submit the required
documents. The housing authority informed Gould of her right
to contest the decision under the housing authority's
administrative plan. See 24 CFR § 982.555. Gould
requested an informal hearing and was represented by counsel
who recorded the hearing, although neither a copy of the
recording nor a transcript of the informal hearing was
included in the record on appeal. (The housing
authority's counsel of record on appeal was the hearing
officer.) The hearing officer upheld the housing
authority's decision to terminate Gould's
participation in the Section 8 program.
filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in superior court
pursuant to OCGA § 5-4-1 (a) seeking review of the
decision to terminate her rental assistance. After the
superior court initially issued the writ of certiorari, the
housing authority moved to dismiss the petition for lack of
jurisdiction, arguing that the decision was administrative
and not subject to review. Following a hearing, the superior
court granted the housing authority's motion to dismiss
and vacated the writ of certiorari, finding that it lacked
jurisdiction to review the decision. We granted Gould's
application for discretionary appeal to consider whether the
superior court erred in dismissing her petition for writ of
certiorari for lack of jurisdiction.
OCGA § 5-4-1 (a), "[t]he writ of certiorari shall
lie for the correction of errors committed by any inferior
judicatory or any person exercising judicial powers, "
except in certain cases not applicable here. To determine
whether a writ of certiorari is the appropriate method of
we must decide whether the hearing officer whose order is
being reviewed exercised judicial or quasi-judicial powers,
or whether the officer merely exercised administrative or
legislative functions. If the officer exercised judicial
powers, his or her actions are subject to review on
certiorari; if, however, the officer exercised legislative,
executive, or ministerial powers, any error cannot be
corrected by certiorari. . . . The basic distinction between
an administrative and a judicial act by officers other than
judges is that a quasi-judicial action, contrary to an
administrative function, is one in which all parties are as a
matter of right entitled to notice and to a hearing, with the
opportunity afforded to present evidence under judicial forms
of procedure; and that no one deprived of such rights is
bound by the action taken. The test is whether the parties at
interest had a right under the law to demand a trial in
accordance with judicial procedure.
Mack II v. City of Atlanta, 227 Ga.App. 305, 307 (1)
(489 S.E.2d 357) (1997) (citations, punctuation, and emphasis
omitted). In deciding whether the hearing officer exercised
judicial or quasi-judicial powers, "the particular
function performed at the hearing must be evaluated."
Bd. of Commrs. of Effingham County v. Farmer, 228
Ga.App. 819, 822 (1) (493 S.E.2d 21) (1997) (holding that a
hearing authority exercised quasi-judicial power because it
functioned as a civil service board, and that the rulings of
such tribunals are quasi-judicial in nature).
record reflects that the housing authority notified Gould of
her right to request an "informal hearing" in
accordance with federal regulations mandating such notice and
hearing. 24 CFR § 982.555 (a) (2), (c) (2).
Gould submitted such a request. Gould was represented by
counsel at the hearing. See 24 CFR § 982.555 (c) (3).
She was permitted to voice her disagreement with the housing
authority's determination, id. at (c) (2) (ii),
to conduct discovery, id. at (e) (2) (i), to present
evidence and cross-examine witnesses at the hearing,
id. at (e) (5), and, in accordance with the housing
authority's administrative plan, to request that the
housing authority staff be present at the hearing to answer
questions. The hearing officer conducted the hearing in
accordance with the procedures established in the housing
authority's administrative plan. 24 CFR § 982.55 (4)
(ii). Under the federal regulations and the housing
authority's administrative plan, the hearing was not
subject to the strict rules of evidence but the hearing
officer was required to, and did, make findings based upon
the preponderance of the evidence and testimony presented at
the hearing. 24 CFR § 982.555 (e) (5), (6).
record demonstrates that Gould had the right to proper notice
and a fair hearing, that she was afforded the opportunity to
present evidence under judicial forms of procedure, and that
the hearing officer made his decision after determining the
facts under a preponderance of the evidence standard and
applying the appropriate law. Thus the hearing officer's
decision was the result of quasi-judicial action. See
City of Cumming v. Flowers, 300 Ga. 820, 823-824 (3)
(797 S.E.2d 846) (2017); South View Cemetery Assn. v.
Hailey, 199 Ga. 478, 481 (4) (34 S.E.2d 863) (1945).
dissent characterizes our opinion as improperly expanding the
role of the judiciary. That is a mischaracterization. The
issue before us is narrow: whether Georgia law provides
certiorari review in cases like this one.
dissent finds that the hearing was administrative instead of
quasi-judicial primarily for two reasons: because the hearing
officer's actions are subject to the authority granted to
him by the housing authority and because under certain
circumstances the hearing officer's decision is not
binding on the parties. Neither reason supports the
determination that the proceeding was administrative instead
authority and responsibility vested in the hearing officer
under the housing authority's administrative plan
required him to determine "whether the action, inaction
or decision of the Augusta Housing Authority [was] legal in
accordance with HUD regulations and [the] [a]dministrative
[p]lan based upon the evidence and testimony provided at the
hearing." See 24 CFR §§ 982.54, 982.555 (a).
Contrary to the dissent's position, the hearing officer
was charged with exercising his own judgment under the
federal law applicable to the housing authority's
decision. He was required to "determine the facts and
apply the [appropriate] legal standards to them, which is a
decision-making process akin to a judicial act."
City of Cumming, 300 Ga. at 824 ...