Recent Court Rulings

Not Unconscionable to Make Defaulting Tenant Pay Costs of Remodeling Premises

November 28, 2023    

What Happened: Eighteen months after signing a five-year lease, a rug store went into liquidation, stopped paying rent, and abandoned the premises. The landlord then divided the space into two separate units, leasing one to another rug store and the other to a bath floor décor...

Blaming Business Losses on Landlord’s Failure to Plow Snow Is ‘Mere Speculation’

November 28, 2023    

What Happened: A tenant leased property on a pair of shopping center outlots to operate restaurants. The ground lease required the tenant to pay a pro-rata share of the CAM costs the landlord incurred to keep the common areas in good repair. The landlord sold the property to a...

Licensor Can't Bring Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit Against Licensee in Breach

November 28, 2023    

What Happened: A studio owner entered into a “License Agreement” giving a production company “the exclusive,” but “non-possessory” right to use the property. The production company defaulted on its rent payment and the owner brought an “...

Commercial Landlord Can Go to Court to Challenge COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium

October 24, 2023    

What Happened: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles County imposed a temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions. A commercial landlord that had leased property to an auto repair tenant that was no longer paying rent due to COVID sued the county, claiming...

Lease Clause Waiver of Jury Trial Rights Is Enforceable

October 24, 2023    

What Happened: A restaurant tenant sold its business to another operator and her brother, the Marcials, who signed a 10-year lease with the landlord to continue operating the restaurant and bar from its current location at the mall. Problems with the transaction arose, and the...

Violation of Tenant’s Non-Compete Is Material Breach Justifying Eviction

October 24, 2023    

What Happened: A landlord bound by a no-compete clause with Verizon Wireless leased retail property to a vape shop for the “sole purpose of a vape, tobacco, clothing, computer repair” operation. The lease also required the tenant to refrain from competing with...

Defaulting Tenant Not Liable for Unpaid Rent Beyond Lease Term

September 27, 2023    

What Happened: A construction materials tenant that admitted to not paying rent and abandoning the premises had no problem with the default judgment entered in the landlord’s favor but claimed that the sought-after award of 47 months’ rent was excessive, noting that...

Tenant Can't Keep Paying Reduced Rent After Lease Modification Agreement Expires

September 27, 2023    

What Happened: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a landlord agreed to reduce a retail tenant’s rent from $7,147 to $3,500. Signed in November 2020, the agreement was retroactive to May 2020 to March 2021, at which time rent would revert back to the original amount....

Lease Clause Doesn't Eliminate Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate Damages

September 27, 2023    

What Happened: A restaurant subtenant admitted to defaulting on its obligation to pay rent and vacating the premises. But it objected to the $689,554.94 that the trial court awarded because the landlord didn’t mitigate its damages by seeking to relet the space to another...

City Tenant’s Ban on Guns at the Property ≠ Second Amendment Violation

August 29, 2023    

What Happened: A nonprofit ran a multi-day music festival on recreational space it leased from the city. Two attendees who purchased tickets to the event were denied entry because they were carrying guns in violation of music festival rules banning attendees from having weapons...

Absentee Landlord Liable for Hazards on Adjacent Property

August 29, 2023    

What Happened: A call center employee who stopped by the office to pick up her paycheck after sunset got run over by a city bus and died. Her estate sued the call center and landlord for negligence. The defendants denied owing the victim a duty of care because the accident...

Landlord Must Indemnify Tenant for Costs of Defending Common Area Negligence Lawsuit

July 27, 2023    

What Happened: A national retail chain insisted that its shopping center lease include a clause requiring the landlord to indemnify it against losses arising out of things that happened in the common areas. The exact language: