Ruddler v. United States, No. 1429.

Docket NºNo. 1429.
Citation105 A.2d 741
Case DateJune 09, 1954
CourtCourt of Appeals of Columbia District
105 A.2d 741
RUDDER et al.
v.
UNITED STATES.
No. 1429.
Municipal Court of Appeals. District of Columbia.
Argued April 26, 1954.
Decided June 9, 1954.
Rehearing Denied July 2, 1954.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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David Rein, Washington, D. C., for appellants.

Carl W. Belcher, Asst. U. S. Atty., Washington, D. C., with whom Leo A. Rover, U. S. Atty., Lewis A. Carroll, and Joseph A. Rafferty, Jr., Asst. U. S. Attys., Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for appellee.

Before CAYTON, Chief Judge, and HOOD and QUINN, Associate Judges.

CAYTON, Chief Judge.


The United States Government sued in the Landlord and Tenant Branch of the Municipal Court to recover possession of an apartment in Lincoln Heights Dwellings, a low-rent housing project constructed under the United States Housing Act of 1937.1 The property is owned by the United States and managed by the National Capital Housing Authority. Appellants, Mr. and Mrs. Rudder, obtained possession of the apartment under a written month-to-month agreement in June 1952. In July 1952 Congress passed the Gwinn Amendment, providing that "no housing unit constructed under the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended, shall be occupied by a person who is a member of an organization designated as subversive by the Attorney General".2 Seeking to effectuate the Congressional intent, the Housing Authority sent to all of its tenants for signature a Certificate of Non-Membership in Subversive Organizations, accompanied by a copy of the Attorney General's list. The Rudders received the certificate but did not sign it, and then the United States, through the Housing Authority, caused to be served upon them a notice to quit. This notice contained the following statement: "You are no longer eligible for occupancy because of your refusal or failure to execute the required Certificate of Non-Membership in Subversive Organization." After expiration of the notice period the United States brought this action for possession. The complaint for possession recited no reason except that defendants were wrongfully holding over after the expiration of the notice.

In the trial court the Rudders contended that the Gwinn Amendment is unconstitutional and that the United States could not evict them upon the authority of an invalid act. They offered as evidence the form on which they had been asked to certify their non-membership in subversive organizations, together with the Attorney General's list of such organizations. These the trial judge rejected as immaterial, and refused to consider. He also refused to consider the constitutionality of the Gwinn Amendment and the Government's reason for giving the notice to quit. He held that the "gravamen of the possessory action is the

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wrongful holding over by the tenants after the expiration of the notice to quit," that the reason for issuing the notice was not material, and that plaintiff was entitled to possession.

From that ruling the Rudders appeal. They argue that the United States, unlike a private landlord, cannot evict a tenant by serving a thirty days' notice to quit if the notice is based on an unconstitutional ground, and contend that the Gwinn Amendment is unconstitutional.

The Government contends that the rights of both parties under the lease are not affected by the fact that the United States is the landlord, that it must be treated as any other landlord, and that the reason for issuing the notice to quit should not be considered.

There is no dispute as to the type of tenancy here involved and its general characteristics. Both parties agree that it is one from month to month. Such a tenancy is a "`periodic tenancy' as opposed to a tenancy for a certain period on the one hand and a tenancy at will on the other. It is a tenancy for a month certain plus an expectancy or possibility of continuation for one or more similar periods."3 In this jurisdiction such a tenancy "may be terminated by a thirty days' notice in writing from the landlord to the tenant to quit * * *." Code 1951, 45-902. This court has held that no reason need be given in the notice to quit.4 Code 1951, 45-910, provides that a landlord may bring an action in the Municipal Court to recover possession whenever "any tenancy shall be terminated by notice as aforesaid, and the tenant shall fail or refuse to surrender possession of the leased premises * * *." And Code 1951, 11-735, as amended by Act of June 18, 1953, c. 130, 67 Stat. 66, provides: "Whenever any person shall detain possession of real property without right, or after his right to possession shall have ceased, it shall be lawful for the municipal court * * * to issue a summons...

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5 practice notes
  • Lawson v. Housing Authority of City of Milwaukee
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • June 1, 1955
    ...Appeals in Peters v. New York City Housing Authority, 1954, 307 N.Y. 519, 121 N.E.2d 529; and Rudder v. United States, D.C.Mun.App., 1954, 105 A.2d 741. The case of Chicago Housing Authority v. Blackman, supra, is readily distinguishable from the case at bar upon its facts. The certificate ......
  • Atkins v. United States, No. 5786.
    • United States
    • November 5, 1971
    ...by the principle of res judicata all other matters at issue between the two parties. 3. See Rudder v. United States, D.C.Mun. App., 105 A.2d 741 (1954), rev'd on other grounds, 96 U.S.App.D.C. 329, 226 F.2d 51 (1955). The United States has already relet the apartments of these appellants, a......
  • Bell v. Tsintolas Realty Company, No. 24141
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 18, 1970
    ...the landlords, usually because the tenant paid up after the suit was filed. * * *" 15 See, e. g., Rudder v. United States, D.C. Mun.App., 105 A.2d 741 (1954), reversed on other grounds, 96 U.S.App.D.C. 329, 226 F.2d 51 (1955). Rudder construed 11 D.C.Code § 735 (1951), the statutory predece......
  • Rudder v. United States, No. 12313.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 21, 1955
    ...shall be enforced by the local housing authority * * *." 66 Stat. 403, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1411c. 3 Rudder v. United States, D.C.Mun.App., 105 A.2d 741. 4 D.C.Code 1951, §§ 45-902, 45-910, 31 Stat. 1382, 35 Stat. 623. 5 Supra note 2. 6 Some other courts have recognized this. Peters v. New York Ci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Lawson v. Housing Authority of City of Milwaukee
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • June 1, 1955
    ...Appeals in Peters v. New York City Housing Authority, 1954, 307 N.Y. 519, 121 N.E.2d 529; and Rudder v. United States, D.C.Mun.App., 1954, 105 A.2d 741. The case of Chicago Housing Authority v. Blackman, supra, is readily distinguishable from the case at bar upon its facts. The certificate ......
  • Atkins v. United States, No. 5786.
    • United States
    • November 5, 1971
    ...by the principle of res judicata all other matters at issue between the two parties. 3. See Rudder v. United States, D.C.Mun. App., 105 A.2d 741 (1954), rev'd on other grounds, 96 U.S.App.D.C. 329, 226 F.2d 51 (1955). The United States has already relet the apartments of these appellants, a......
  • Bell v. Tsintolas Realty Company, No. 24141
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 18, 1970
    ...the landlords, usually because the tenant paid up after the suit was filed. * * *" 15 See, e. g., Rudder v. United States, D.C. Mun.App., 105 A.2d 741 (1954), reversed on other grounds, 96 U.S.App.D.C. 329, 226 F.2d 51 (1955). Rudder construed 11 D.C.Code § 735 (1951), the statutory predece......
  • Rudder v. United States, No. 12313.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 21, 1955
    ...shall be enforced by the local housing authority * * *." 66 Stat. 403, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1411c. 3 Rudder v. United States, D.C.Mun.App., 105 A.2d 741. 4 D.C.Code 1951, §§ 45-902, 45-910, 31 Stat. 1382, 35 Stat. 623. 5 Supra note 2. 6 Some other courts have recognized this. Peters v. New York Ci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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