A recent court decision found that a landlord must reasonably withhold approval of an additional in order to evict a tenant for violating a written rental agreement by having an additional adult occupant in the unit. California Valley Properties, LLC v. Berlfein provides the detail required when filing an eviction in Los Angeles for a unit subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

Here, the Landlord filed an eviction based upon a Three Day Notice to Perform or Quit because the rental agreement allowed allowed one adult and one child and there was an additional “female occupant” in the unit. In response, the Tenant filed an Answer. Further, the Tenant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.

The Tenant indicated that currently he and a woman lived in the unit. The female occupant, the Tenant’s wife, had lived in the unit since 1999.

The trial court granted Tenant’s Motion for Summary Judgment meaning the Tenant won the eviction. Landlord appealed.

The appellate court found that the Landlord had not presented any evidence that it had reasonably withheld approval of the additional occupant. Under the Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 151.09(A) provides a reason for an eviction for a breach of a lease term as follows: “The tenant has violated a lawful obligation or covenant of the tenancy and has failed to cure the violation after having received written notice from the landlord, other than a violation based on: [⁋] (b) The obligation to limit occupancy, provided that the additional tenant who joins the occupants of the unit thereby exceeding the limits on occupancy set forth in the rental agreement is either the first or second dependent child to join the existing tenancy of a tenant of record or the sole additional adult tenant. For purposes of this section, multiple births shall be considered as one child. The landlord, however, has the right to approve or disapprove the prospective additional tenant, who is not a minor dependent child, provided that the approval is not unreasonably withheld.”

Here, the appellate court found important that there was no evidence the Landlord had reasonably disapproved the additional occupant. Landlord argued that it was allowed to evict the Tenant based upon the fact of the additional occupant. The appellate court disagreed.

This decision requires all Los Angeles landlords, prior to evicting a tenant for violating the occupancy term of a rental agreement to show evidence the landlord actually reasonably disapproved the additional occupant.

For more information regarding evictions of units subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, please contact Attorney Anthony Marinaccio at 818-839-5220.