Edwards v. Habib is a recent decision from the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, which allows tenants in month-to-month tenancies a defense against summary dispossess actions. Where the tenant had complained to local authorities that his dwelling did not meet the minimal housing standards in that jurisdiction, a landlord had been able to punish the complaining tenant through eviction. The tenant in the District of Columbia after Edwards is now permitted to assert as a defense to eviction the illegal retaliatory purpose of the landlord. The decision is an important judicial attempt to bring landlord-tenant law into conformity with the reality of a continuing domestic-housing shortage and the necessity to enforce municipal housing codes.

Lower Court Proceedings in Edwards v. Habib

The Court of Appeals Opinion in Edwards v. Habib … (a) Disposition of the Grounds of Statutory Interpretation and Public Policy … (b) The Constitutional Discussion

Legislative Responses to Retaliatory Eviction

The Response of the Courts to Retaliatory Evictions