The International Trend Toward Requiring Good Cause for Tenant Eviction: Dangerous Portents for the United States?
Andrea Beauchamp Carroll
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Paul M. Hebert Law Center
May 8, 2009
Seton Hall Law Review, Vol. 38, p. 427, 2008
This article is a first step in an effort to critically examine the invasion of a rather dangerous European property law trend into American law. The view of the right to safe, adequate, and affordable housing as a fundamental right held by all mankind is quickly growing, with more than nine countries now recognizing it. The problem is that the recognition of this fundamental right begs the question of how it is to be assured. The method of assurance chosen by most jurisdictions recognizing a right to housing is a scheme of good cause eviction. Under such a regime, a landlord may not evict a sitting tenant, or even refuse to renew the lease of an expired tenant, absent "good cause."
Good cause limitations are problematic from a theoretical standpoint, given their intrusion upon private property rights. But more importantly, they are a bad idea economically. The evidence surrounding the enactment of good cause eviction schemes in Europe demonstrates that the rules do not remedy housing crises. On the contrary, they tend to exacerbate supply problems, decrease the quality of rental housing, encourage inefficiency in housing allocation, increase litigation, and even push tenancies away from legal regulation and into the black market.
Unfortunately, the European trend toward limiting permissible tenant eviction to good cause is beginning to take hold in the United States. And just as it has abroad, the effect of the imposition of good cause eviction schemes here has been exceptionally undesirable.
This work demonstrates that good cause eviction is a flawed and altogether unacceptable solution to the serious housing crises faced almost worldwide today. We must stave off further encroachment of the doctrine in the United States, or suffer serious economic consequences.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 9, 2009 ; Last revised: April 28, 2010
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