In a recent California Court of Appeals case, the Court considered a matter of first impression: Can a Landlord be held liable to a commercial tenant for damage to a tenants property, resulting from an alleged sewage backup, when the tenant (who had a month to month tenancy after its lease had expired) had stopped paying rent, had been served with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, and had been named in an unlawful detainer action which was filed before the alleged sewer backup occurred?

In Multani v. Knight 2018 DJDAR 5007, the Second District Court of Appeal held that the month to month tenancy was terminated by the tenant’s failure to pay rent coupled with the landlord’s filing of an unlawful detainer action. Thus with the filing of the unlawful detainer action, the tenant was a tenant at sufferance who had no lawful right to possession of the premises. Accordingly, the landlord is not liable for damage to the tenants property left on the premises when the damage was not caused by the landlord’s intentional act or negligence.

For more information on landlord tenant law in California, contact the experienced real estate attorneys at JBB Law today.