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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37773
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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Can a landlord refuse to renew a lease, essentially causing

Customer Question

Can a landlord refuse to renew a lease, essentially causing the tenant to "involuntarily quit", for ANY reason (in retaliation to tenant complaint against landlord made to City, etc)? Do the courts recognize failure to renew a lease as a possible retaliatory act that tenants can be protected from?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm sorry to hear of your dilemma.

The landlord is not obligated to renew a lease, ever. The court does not recognize a cause of action for failure to renew based on the landlords retaliation. The code section you cite only applies to current leases which are not scheduled to naturally expire.

When the lease is up, it is up. I'm sorry.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so. I do work diligently to provide you with the correct Answer under the law, and because I have no control over what the law is, I ask you not to hold that against me. It has been my pleasure to assist you, and would be greatly appreciated if you would click the green Accept icon so that I can receive credit for having answered your Question. Thank you in advance.

Best regards,

Doug

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I spoke to the city of Davis, and under their municipal code, it states:

(a)If a landlord's dominant purpose is retaliation against a tenant because of the tenant's exercise of rights under this article, and if the tenant is not in default as to the payment of rent, the landlord may not recover possession of the rental unit in any action or proceeding, cause the lessee to quit the premises involuntarily, increase the rent or decrease any services.

City of Davis (in CA) reads this to mean refusal to renew a lease, if that action is undertaken as retaliation
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.

Good evening,

 

I am familiar with the city of Davis, CA. Actually I graduated from UCD and went to McGeorge School of Law. I lived in Davis for almost a decade.

 

Whoever you spoke with at the city was likely not an attorney. In my professional opinion, and in my experience, if your lease has ended and you can not get the landlord to admit that they have violated the law in terms of discriminating against you for reporting a violation of law to the local powers that be--that you are sunk. End of story.

 

Keep in mind that it is not the City of Davis that will be ruling on your defense, but a real live judge with a degree in law and likely 10 to 30 years experience as a practicing attorney and Judicial Officer.

 

I understand that you don't like my analysis, but it is what it is. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so. I do work diligently to provide you with the correct Answer under the law, and because I have no control over what the law is, I ask you not to hold that against me. It has been my pleasure to assist you, and would be greatly appreciated if you would click the green Accept icon so that I can receive credit for having answered your Question. Thank you in advance.

 

Best regards,

 

 

Doug

 

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Not to split hairs, but in your first reply, you stated that a landlord doesn't have to renew a lease, ever.

In your second reply you stated that "if you cannot get the landlord to admit that they have violated the law..."

1. Your second statement implies that in the case of landlord's retaliatory acts in response to tenant's exercising tenant's rights, a landlord's refusal to renew a lease CAN be judged as retaliation, and therefore would be unlawful.

2. You are incorrect in stating that a tenant would need to "get the landlord to admit..." there is no need in court for a plaintiff to extract a confession, in order for a judge to find against the defendant. the plaintiff need only show proof that a court then judges to prove the plaintiff's claim.

in my case, i have substantial written documentation as well as complaints to regulatory agencies, the landlord, etc.

I am sorry but I don't believe your answers are correct.

I will however let you know the resolution of my case, regardless of whether it goes to court, in the hope that future CA tenants might benefit from my experiences.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 7 years ago.

Please do not attempt to put words in my mouth. My position is that there can be no actionable retaliation in failing to accept your attempt to renew a lease which has expired.

 

Enjoy tilting at windmills---that is where I see you going.

 

 

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