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Coyne's San Francisco property includes a building with three apartments and a free-standing, three-bedroom cottage. De Leo, age 81, had resided in the cottage since 1989. In 2012, Coyne decided to move into the cottage. Martin asked De Leo to move to the lower unit for a reduced rent. De Leo initially agreed. Martin paid that tenant $10,000 to vacate and painted the lower unit. De Leo’s son expressed concerns that no caregiver would have a place to stay if De Leo moved to the lower unit. Martin explained that he could invoke the Ellis Act to evict the tenants. De Leo refused to vacate. Martin transferred ownership to trusts, executed a tenancy in common agreement, and filed a “Notice of Intent to Withdraw Residential Units from the Rental Market” with the Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board, listing himself as the occupant of the upper unit, although he did not then reside there. Esclamado, a Coyne employee, was listed as the lower unit occupant, but no rent was listed; lower and upper units the as “owner-occupied.” After extensions, the Board recorded notices that the units would be withdrawn from the rental market (Gov. Code, 7060.2). Ultimately, Coyne obtained a judgment of possession. The court of appeal reversed. The trial court abused its discretion excluding De Leo’s evidence on the key factual issue of whether Martin had a bona fide intent to withdraw the Property from the residential rental market--evidence that Martin sold Esclamado a sham ownership interest. View "Coyne v. De Leo" on Justia Law

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Brittany Creech appealed her eviction from her from property in Williams County, North Dakota owned by Louis Tornabeni. Creech argued: (1) Tornabeni's notice of intent to evict was deficient; (2) the summary eviction proceeding violated her right to due process; (3) the district court abused its discretion in excluding certain exhibits; (4) the court's findings of fact were clearly erroneous; and (5) the delivery of the deed was defective and prevented Tornabeni from obtaining ownership of the property. Finding no reversible error, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed. View "Tornabeni v. Creech" on Justia Law

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Within months of her arrival at St. Andrew, a residential community for older adults, Wetzel physical and verbal abuse from other residents because she is openly lesbian. She repeatedly asked St. Andrew’s staff to help her. The staff limited her use of facilities and built a case for her eviction. Wetzel sued St. Andrew, alleging that it failed to provide her with non‐discriminatory housing and that it retaliated against her because of her complaints, citing the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601–3619. The district court dismissed Wetzel’s suit. The Seventh Circuit reversed, reading the FHA “more broadly.” Not only does the FHA create liability when a landlord intentionally discriminates against a tenant based on a protected characteristic; it also creates liability against a landlord that has actual notice of tenant‐on‐tenant harassment based on a protected status, yet chooses not to take any reasonable steps within its control to stop that harassment. View "Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community, LLC" on Justia Law

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Some of KVG’s commercial tenants got caught growing marijuana in their rental units and caused substantial damage to the premises before the police caught them. KVG speedily evicted the tenants and sought coverage from its insurers for nearly $500,000 in related losses. Westfield denied the claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for Westfield, reasoning that the damage was excluded by the policy, which is the Building and Personal Property Coverage Form. Under this Form, Westfield agreed to pay for “direct physical loss of or damage to Covered Property . . . caused by or resulting from any Covered Cause of Loss.” A “Covered Cause of Loss” is any “Risk[] Of Direct Physical Loss,” with several exclusions, including that Westfield “will not pay for loss or damage caused by or resulting from” any “[d]ishonest or criminal act by you, any of your partners, members, officers, managers, employees (including leased employees), directors, trustees, authorized representatives or anyone to whom you entrust the property for any purpose.” While cultivating marijuana is a crime under federal law, it is protected by Michigan law under certain conditions but no reasonable jury could find that KVG’s tenants complied with Michigan law. View "K.V.G. Properties, Inc. v. Westfield Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1996 (FCIA) does not limit injunctive relief against an executive branch officer enforcing a court order, and the Sheriff in this case was not entitled to immunity from plaintiffs' request for declaratory and injunctive relief. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of a class action challenging the constitutionality of Washington Revised Code 59.18.375, which allows tenants to be evicted from their homes without a court hearing. The panel held that original plaintiffs had standing to sue at the time they filed this action, which was the relevant time frame for analyzing Article III standing; plaintiffs who were subsequently added to the action did not have standing to sue because their circumstances left their prospects of injury too speculative to support Article III standing; and, even after original plaintiffs settled their dispute with their landlord, the action was not moot because the dispute was capable of repetition, yet evading review. On the merits, the panel held that the district court misread the statute and that the text of section 375 makes clear that a hearing was not mandatory; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not apply because plaintiffs were not asking the district court to review and reject the judgment entered against them in state court; the Sheriff's two alternative arguments for affirmance of the district court's judgment -- that the action must be brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and that the Sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity -- lacked merit; and the Sheriff's remaining arguments were without merit. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Moore v. Urquhart" on Justia Law

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Winslett sued her former landlord after he failed to make repairs to her apartment and filed an unlawful detainer action against her. Landlord responded with an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, Code of Civil Procedure 425.16) motion to strike the claims for retaliation and retaliatory eviction (Civil Code section 1942.5) and under the Oakland Just Cause For Eviction Ordinance. The court granted the motion, awarding Landlord attorney fees and costs. The court of appeal reversed. Because the section 1942.5 scheme of retaliatory eviction remedies would be rendered significantly inoperative if the litigation privilege were to apply, section 1942.5, subdivisions (d) and (h) create an exception to that privilege. Winslett’s “Just Cause Ordinance” claim was not rooted in the unlawful detainer action, in the notice to quit, or in any other protected free speech or petitioning activity, but rather lies in the broader circumstances surrounding the eviction: the alleged pressure tactics designed to force Winslett to abandon her apartment and cease making complaints about tenantability. Because that claim does not arise out of protected activity, there were no grounds for striking it under the anti-SLAPP statute. View "Winslett v. 1811 27th Avenue, LLC" on Justia Law

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At issue before the Vermont Supreme Court in this case was whether a landlord and a social guest of a tenant may be held liable for injuries caused by the tenant’s dogs to a third person outside of the landlord’s property. The Supreme Court concluded plaintiffs failed to establish that either defendant owed a duty of care to the injured plaintiff in this case, and therefore affirmed. View "Gross v. Turner" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a general appearance after the entry of a final judgment that is void ab initio because of the absence of personal jurisdiction does not, by itself, convert the prior void judgment into a valid one. A landlord obtained a default judgment against a commercial tenant and its guarantor for unpaid rent. The judgment was void as to the guarantor because the landlord failed properly to serve the complaint on him. The circuit court, however, found that the guarantor had entered a general appearance during post-judgment enforcement proceedings and thereby waived any objection to the validity of the default judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in denying the guarantor’s motion to vacate the default judgment because the judgment was void as to the guarantor. View "McCulley v. Brooks & Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court entered in favor of Kohner Properties, Inc. in this rent-and-possession action, holding that circuit courts may exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis to determine whether an in custodia legis procedure is appropriate in a particular case. On appeal, Johnson argued that the circuit court erred in barring her from asserting the implied warranty of habitability as an affirmative defense and counterclaim because she remained in possession of the premises without depositing her unpaid rent to the circuit court in custodia legis. In making its ruling, the circuit court relied on the in custodia legis procedure in King v. Moorehead, 495 S.W.2d 65 (Mo. App. 1973). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that although the in custodia legis procedure in King was dicta, that was immaterial because such dicta has been “dutifully followed by our circuit courts for almost five decades” and therefore constituted the status quo in Missouri. The Court went on to hold that, given the absence of contrary authority from the Court or contrary legislation from the General Assembly, the circuit court could not be faulted for relying on King when it barred Johnson’s affirmative defense and counterclaim. View "Kohner Properties, Inc. v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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A landlord can not be held liable to a commercial tenant for damage to the tenant's property resulting from an alleged sewer backup when the tenant (who had a month-to-month tenancy in the premises after her lease expired) had stopped paying rent, had been served (but failed to comply) with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, and had been named in an unlawful detainer action filed before the alleged sewer backup occurred. In this case, the month-to-month tenancy was terminated by the tenant's failure to pay rent coupled with the landlord's filing of the wrongful detainer action. Therefore, as of the filing of the wrongful detainer action, the Court of Appeal held that the tenant was a tenant at sufferance who had no lawful right to possession of the premises. The court held that the landlord was not liable for damage to the tenant's property left on the premises when that damage was not caused by the landlord's intentional act or negligence. The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. View "Multani v. Knight" on Justia Law