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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Didn't mean to click on you. Just checking out retaliatory eviction friend

Customer Question

Hi, didn't mean to click on you. Just checking out retaliatory eviction for a friend.
She leased a unit beginning in 2011. In 2014 it sold, and new owner has not kept it up. In 2-2015 she was advised that her lease, to end 4-30-15 would not be renewed and they would not entertain a month to month. Going backward from the 2-27-2015 notice to 8-2014, she has made multiple complaints to the landlord and manager about lots of things like rats, outside lighting, guest parking not available, septic system odors, roof problems. Sometimes the issues were fixed, but never timely. Also, sometimes fixed without permits, etc.
She is a THORN in their side, for certain, and they want her out. She is very aggressive, and while she is willing to leave, its impossible in this area to find something similar until after summer is over.
She wants damages, too.
Yesterday they filed an Unlawful Detainer. I am trying to figure out procedurally, what she has to file in response.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Her lease is ending officially correct? So she is being asked to leave based on the lease ending and their refusal to renew the lease even month to month? There is no evidence that they are filing the UD only because of her complaining about habitability issues, since the lease has indeed expired and there is no mandate for them to renew the lease?
You want to know what she needs to file to answer the UD complaint? Please specify your exact questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The lease expired 4-30-15. She wanted to go month to month. They refused. The lease can only continue if both parties agree. The UD was filed 5-5-2015. They advised her in February 2015 they did not intend to renew her lease.
She has a plethora of documentary evidence (emails, letters and photographs) that she has been regularly complaining about the LL's failure to keep the unit and common areas up. She has also made complaints for the same issues to the City, County and State. While the complaints have been going on for a long time (beginning in 2013), just using the window of August 2014 to 2-2015, there are many written complaints.
Now that they have filed the UD, what should she file? An Answer? A cross-complaint? Thanks!
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
So legally she has no retaliation claim if they refuse to renew her lease as they are asking her to leave now because the lease is expired and she should have moved out on her own on 4/30/15 as she was informed that she would not be renewed back in February.
However, she needs to file the UD -105, www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ud105.pdfhttp://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/ud105.pdf
Also, if she wants to file a claim for breach of the warranty of habitability, she can file that in a separate small claims action against them in small claims court and can see the money damages for the amount of rent for the time the premises was not habitable. She would file the SC-100, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc100.pdf
also the SC -104 proof of service, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/sc104.pdf
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there a statute or case law to support no case for retaliation? She has been allowed to renew her lease for three years in a row. After all of her complaints, they refuse to renew her lease. Does the burden of proof now fall on the LL to show it was not retaliation? Further, also in February, before being told they would not renew her lease, they wrote her two emails threatening to evict her based on an allegation by neighbors that she was photographing them. (She was actually taking pictures of the trash they regularly leave in the parking area, from running a business selling herbs in their unit, which brought the rats to the complex.)
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I am afraid that it is impossible, contrary to the belief of many non-attorneys, to prove a negative. Case law does not exist on everything and these cases hinge on individual facts specific to each case. However, it is not retaliation to decide not to renew a lease when the lease leaves renewal to the discretion of the parties. The burden actually is on your friend to prove retaliation, not the landlord. All the landlord has to say is that the lease leaves renewal to their discretion and they exercised that discretion to not renew.
There are other claims your friend has and they need to focus on those claims for the breach of the lease and warranty of habitability issues which is where her real strong claims are.

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