U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Oakland Housing Authority v. Rucker

If you are being watched, leave now!

Determined the right to an innocent tenant defense in public housing to protect innocent tenants from eviction for crimes committed by family or persons known to them.

Full Case Titile: 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker and Oakland Housing Authority v. Rucker, 535 U.S. 125 (2002)
  • Fairness in the Courts


  • Public Benefits and Poverty
  • Authored Amicus Brief


Public housing tenants sued the local and federal housing authority, stating that federal law did not authorize evictions from public housing for drug-related activity which was unknown to the tenant. Legal Momentum contributed an amicus brief with Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP and the Brennan Center for Justice, arguing that Public Housing Authorities routinely use one-strike rules (such as the one in this case) to evict tenants who are victims of crimes in their homes, perpetrated by uninvited guests.

The Supreme Court did not agree. The Court ruled that federal law gives local public housing agencies discretion to evict tenants for drug-related activity, whether or not the tenant was aware of the activity.