Golden Gate University Law Review


Heidi Lee Cain


This Comment examines the United States Supreme Court's statement in The Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker that a strict liability clause would be enforceable in private leases. The Court accordingly infers that ex-offenders and suspected offenders would encounter obstacles in their attempt to receive and maintain housing leases, both public and private. Part II discusses the "One Strike and You're Out" housing act and the Court's decision in Rucker. The Court upheld the federally mandated public housing strict liability clause in part because the tenant would be treated the same in a private lease. This Comment thus explores the development of both private landlord-tenant law and public housing law. Part III examines a landlord's procedures for tenant selection in private housing leases. Part III compares the legal boundaries in private tenant selection with the Congressional mandates for tenant screening in public housing leases. Part III also displays legal safeguards for the ex-offender who believes she has been denied private housing based on her past. Part IV discusses the grounds, relating to criminality, upon which a private landlord may evict a tenant. Part IV compares judicial interpretations of state statutes regulating private leases providing for strict liability evictions of tenants for criminal acts of guests or third parties, similar to the "One Strike and You're Out" policy in public housing. Part V examines U.S. ideologies and proposes a model of re-integrative housing, using community resources, government, and law, to assist ex-offenders in attaining and maintaining their basic need of shelter.