PHA “One-Strike” Policy Evictions

Kegler Brown Housing Newsletter

Federal law allows PHAs to evict tenants for criminal activity by a tenant or member of the household. The issue that arose in one case was whether this federal provision applies even if the terms of the "one-strike" law are not specifically written into the tenant's lease. The federal court in the District of Columbus ruled that it does not. [Pratt v. Dist. of Columbia Housing Authority, 1993 U.S. App. Lexis 24428 (D.C. Cir. 2008)].

The case involved an eviction because a household member was driving a stolen vehicle. Although the lease permitted eviction for conduct that disturbed the peace, or was unsafe or unsanitary, it did not expressly allow no-fault eviction for one-time criminal activity. The PHA argued that the federal one-strike policy should be read into the lease, even if it wasn't specifically written. The court disagreed. Thus, in order to rely on the federal one-strike eviction policy, those terms must be expressly included in the tenant's lease.

[Source: Housing Development Reporter; 3/3/08 issue.]