Brown vs. Southall Realty Co.: Case Study

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Brown v. Southall Realty Co.,
District of Columbia Court of Appeals, 1968, 237 A.2d.

Parties:
Lillie Brown, Defendant, Appellant
Southall Realty, Plaintiff, Appellee
Mr. Penn, Owner
Judicial History:
The Plaintiff, Southall Realty, filed suit to evict the defendant, Lillie Brown, for unpaid rent. The defendant contested that the rent was unpaid due to an illegal contract that was in violation of sections 2304 and 2501 of the D.C. Housing Regulations. The trial court of the District of Columbia, granted judgment in favor of the Plaintiff. The Defendant appealed.
Facts:
The Defendant entered into a leasing agreement with Southall Realty. However, at the time of the agreement, Southall Realty was aware of Code violations 2304 and 2501 of the D.C. Housing Regulations that rendered the premises unsafe and unsanitary.
The entire basement of the house was deemed unsafe due to a broken railing and obstructed commode as well as insufficient height,
The Defendant, Lillie Brown, failed to pay two hundred and thirty dollars in rent and continued to live on the premises.
The Plaintiff, failed suit to evict the defendant from the premises for unpaid rent.
The owner, Mr. Penn, testified to having submitted a letter the D.C Housing Division stating that the basement was unoccupied and would remain unoccupied until the violations were corrected.
The defendant contested that rent was not due, due to the fact that the lease was illegal. Even though the defendant testified that the premises we habitable in spite of the Housing Regulation violations. She claimed the contract should be void due to the specific language in Section 2304 of the District of Columbia Housing Regulations stating: “No persons shall offer to rent any habitation, or the furnishings thereof, unless such habitation and its furnishings are in a clean, safe and sanitary condition, in repair, and free from rodents and vermin.”
The trial court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff and awarded

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