An unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit only addresses a very limited issue, generally what is found in the Complaint. A landlord in unlawful detainer generally cannot obtain damages for property damage, breach of lease, late fees, and other charges in an unlawful detainer.

Recently, the California Court of Appeal reviewed a case from a Los Angeles County trial court. Sherman v. Kim reviews what damages can be obtained in an unlawful detainer. Landlord served Tenant a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit for $49,025 in rent owed. The property was a commercial warehouse space. Landlord filed an unlawful detainer action, and Tenant filed an Answer. Tenant failed to show up to the trial date, so a default proceeding was held.

At the default proceeding, the trial court awarded Landlord the rent owed an additional $150,000 for for “future rent” because there was a balance on the lease term still left. The Tenant appealed the decision.

The Court found that the Landlord was only entitled to damages through the period that the Tenant moved out. At the time of the default proceeding, the Landlord would only be entitled to damages through to the date of the trial. The only option for Landlord would be to file a separate lawsuit for breach of lease for rent owed under the Lease.

Please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio to start an unlawful detainer or lawsuit for breach of lease at 818-839-5220.