Justia Landlord - Tenant Opinion Summaries

by
In this landlord-tenant dispute, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's denial of Tenant's claim for treble damages under Minn. Stat. 504B.231, holding that remand was required for the court of appeals to address one remaining issue left unaddressed by its decision.Landlord resorted to self-help measures to remove Tenant from a residential premises. Tenant filed a petition for possession of residential rental property following unlawful removal under Minn. Stat. 504B.375 (the lockout petition) and sought treble damages for ouster under section 504B.231. The district court dismissed the lockout petition, concluding that Tenant was not a "residential tenant" and that Landlord did not act in bad faith. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) to recover treble damages under section 504B.231, tenants must established that their landlord removed them from a residential premises unlawfully and in bad faith; and (2) remand was required for the court of appeals to determined whether Tenant was a tenant under section 504B.231(a). View "Reimringer v. Anderson" on Justia Law

by
The County of Sacramento (County) filed an action to abate building and housing code violations at two properties owned or managed by Raj Singh and Kiran Rawat, individually and as trustee of the SitaRam Living Trust dated 2007 and the Sita Ram Trust. The trial court appointed a receiver under Health and Safety Code section 17980.7 to take control of and rehabilitate the properties upon the County’s motion. Singh appealed pro se the trial court’s order approving the receiver’s final account and report and discharging the receiver. The Court of Appeal addressed Singh's claims "as best as [the Court could] discern them." After careful consideration of Singh's claims, the Court found no reversible error and affirmed the trial court. View "County of Sacramento v. Rawat" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court finding Yvonne Martin in unlawful detainer and entering a judgment that included a substantial award, holding that the court of appeals did not err.Upon her divorce from Petter Kristensen, the divorce court awarded Yvonne temporary possession of the marital home - which was owned by Petter's father, Frank - during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. After Yvonne filed for divorce Frank served her with a notice to vacate. Yvonne refused to vacate, and Frank filed an unlawful detainer action against her. A jury concluded that Frank was the rightful owner of the property and that Yvonne was guilty of unlawful detainer starting five days after Frank filed the notice to vacate. On appeal, Yvonne argued that the temporary possession order precluded Frank from seeking the remedies available in an unlawful detainer action. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the possession orders in the divorce proceeding functioned like a temporary possession order in an unlawful detainer proceeding in that they precluded Yvonne's eviction from the property but did not affect the availability of statutory remedies for unlawful detainer. View "Martin v. Kristensen" on Justia Law

by
GSA leased a building from NOAA’s predecessor; the annual rent includes agreed “[b]ase year taxes.” GSA must compensate NOAA for “any increase in real estate taxes during the lease term over the amount established as the base year taxes” and defines “real estate taxes” as “only those taxes, which are assessed against the building and/or the land upon which the building is located, without regard to benefit to the property, for the purpose of funding general Government services. Real estate taxes shall not include, without limitation, general and/or special assessments, business improvement district assessments, or any other present or future taxes or governmental charges that are imposed upon the Lessor or assessed against the building and/or the land upon which the building is located.In 2016, NOAA asked GSA to reimburse it for the Stormwater/Chesapeake Bay Water Quality tax, the Washington Suburban Transit Commission tax, the Clean Water Act Fee, and a Supplemental Education Tax. All four appear on the consolidated tax bill. The clean water tax, effective in 2013, is collected for the Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund, “in the same manner as County real property taxes and [has] the same priority, rights, and bear[s] the same interest and penalties, and [is] enforced in the same manner as County real property taxes.”GSA denied the claim. The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals held that the lease provision excludes all taxes enacted after the date of the lease, even if those taxes meet expressly stated criteria for being a real estate tax. The Federal Circuit reversed. Under ordinary interpretive principles, a real estate tax qualifies under the Lease provision whenever it satisfies the three criteria of the first sentence. View "NOAA Maryland, LLC v. General Services Administration" on Justia Law

by
Appeals consolidated for the Delaware Supreme Court’s review centered on the Rent Increase Justification Act, which governed rent increases in manufactured home communities. The Rehoboth Bay Manufactured Home Community (the “Community”) was owned/managed by Hometown Rehoboth Bay, LLC (“Hometown”). The Appellant in Case No. 139, 2020 was Rehoboth Bay Homeowners’ Association (the “HOA”), the homeowners’ association. The Appellants in Case No. 296, 2020 were two individual tenants, John Iacona and Robert Weymouth. Hometown sought to raise the rents in both cases: in case No. 296, 2020, rents would be raised an amount in excess of the Consumer Price Index for this area (the “CPI-U”), for the calendar year 2017; in case No. 139, 2020, for the calendar year 2018. Under the Act, proposed rent increases that exceed the CPI-U must be justified by certain factors. Separate arbitrators in both cases found that a Bulkhead Stabilization project performed by Hometown in phases over more than one year was a capital improvement or rehabilitation work, which, along with other capital improvements and other expenses, justified rent increases in excess of the CPI-U in both years. The Appellants claimed the Superior Court erred by affirming the arbitrators’ decisions that the Bulkhead Stabilization project was a “capital improvement or rehabilitation work” and not “ordinary repair, replacement, and maintenance.” They also claimed the Superior Court should have ruled that the Act did not permit Hometown to incorporate the capital improvement component of the rent increases into each lot’s base rent so as to carry those increases forward into ensuing years. The Delaware Supreme Court concluded the Superior Court’s rulings on the Bulkhead Stabilization project as a capital improvement or rehabilitation work was correct, however, the Act did not permit Hometown to incorporate the capital improvement component of the 2017 and 2018 rent increases into a lot’s base rent for succeeding years after recovering that lot’s full, proportionate share of those costs in those years. Therefore, the Superior Court’s judgment was affirmed in part, reversed in part, and the cases remanded for further proceedings. View "Rehoboth Bay Homeowners' Assoc, et al. v. Hometown Rehoboth Bay" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court held that a motion to quash service of summons is not the proper remedy to test whether a complaint states a cause of action for unlawful detainer.Landlord, the City of Redwood City, filed a complaint in unlawful detainer against Tenant. In response, Tenant filed a motion to quash service of summons, relying on Delta Imports Inc. v. Municipal Court, 146 Cal.App.3d 1033 (1983) to argue that a motion to quash service is the only method by which the defendant can test whether the complaint states a cause of action for unlawful detainer. The superior court concluded that Tenant improperly lodged his motion to quash. Tenant filed a petition for writ of mandate and prohibition challenging the superior court's order. The court of appeal denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the superior court correctly found that Tenant's motion to quash was not the proper procedure to argue that the City was not a proper plaintiff. View "Stancil v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the court of special appeals dismissing an amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, holding that Petitioners' amended complaint adequately set forth a cause of action under Md. Code Real Prop. (RP) 7-113.Petitioners, occupants of residential property that they owned or leased, brought this action against Respondents, a mortgage servicer and a real estate broker, after Respondents posted eviction notices on Petitioners' properties in an attempt to gain possession of the properties without a court order. Petitioners claimed that Respondents violated RP 7-113 and the Maryland Consumer Protection Act (MCPA), Md. Code Comm. Law 13-101 et seq. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed in part, holding (1) Petitioners set forth a cause of action under RP 7-113; and (2) this Court has not established a more demanding standard for pleading damages in private actions brought under the MCPA. View "Wheeling v. Selene Finance LP" on Justia Law

by
This case involved a premises liability claim brought by a visitor against landlords for an injury caused by the tenants’ dog. The question was whether the landlords, Ernesto and Teri Hernandez, owed a duty to petitioner Maria Saralegui Blanco. The tenants, David Gonzalez Sandoval, Alexandra Barajas Gonzalez, and Elvia Sandoval, rented single family home owned by the landlords. While visiting the home, Saralegui Blanco was attacked and bitten by the tenants’ dog. Saralegui Blanco sued, alleging the tenants and landlords were negligent and liable for her injuries. The trial court dismissed the claims against the landlords on summary judgment. The Washington Supreme Court granted direct review and affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, dismissing Saralegui Blanco’s premises liability claim against the landlords: petitioner failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact that the landlords possessed the land, retained control over the premises or the dog, or created a dangerous condition. View "Saralegui Blanco v. Gonzalez Sandoval" on Justia Law

by
A residential landlord withheld a tenant’s security deposit after the termination of the tenancy, demanding a large sum of money for alleged excessive wear and tear to the premises. Two years and two months later, the tenant filed suit, alleging that the landlord failed to comply with the RLTA and sought to recover his security deposit. The tenant claimed he was entitled to recover his security deposit because the landlord failed to return it or to provide a full and specific statement of the basis for retaining it within the time period required by RCW 59.18.280(1). The issue this case presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review was what the applicable statute of limitations was for such an action. The Supreme Court held that a tenant’s action under RCW 59.18.280 was an action to recover the tenant’s personal property and subject to the three-year statute of limitations under RCW 4.16.080(2). Therefore, the tenant’s complaint was timely, and the trial court erred in dismissing it. View "Silver v. Rudeen Mgmt. Co., Inc." on Justia Law

by
Biron D. Baker Family Medicine, PC and Biron D. Baker, M.D. (collectively, "Baker Medicine") appealed a district court judgment awarding Big Pines, LLC attorney’s fees and costs. In 2011, Baker Medicine signed an agreement to lease commercial property from Phoenix M.D., L.L.C. Baker executed the lease personally and for Baker Medicine as its president. Baker Medicine allegedly vacated the premises several months prior to the end of the lease and in a damaged condition. Phoenix subsequently sold the building to Big Pines, and assigned its interest in the lease to Big Pines as part of the sale. Big Pines sued alleging breach of the lease by Baker Medicine and breach of the personal guaranty by Baker. A jury found Baker Medicine and Baker breached the lease and awarded Big Pines $18,750 in damages. Big Pines later moved for an award of attorney’s fees under the personal guaranty. The district court denied Big Pines’ request, concluding the personal guaranty was not assigned to Big Pines. The district court's judgment with respect to the fees was reversed by the North Dakota Supreme Court on Big Pines' appeal. On remand, Big Pines again moved for attorney's fees, "as well as any future fees and costs until the case is “fully and finally dismissed." This motion was granted, and Baker Medicine appealed, arguing the district court erred in calculating the recoverable amount of attorney's fees incurred by Big Pines. Concluding the district court provided it with a discernible basis for the fee award, the Supreme Court found the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing its judgment on fees. Accordingly, judgment was affirmed. View "Big Pines, LLC v. Baker, et al." on Justia Law