April 23, 2024
Property

May a property owner maintain an unlawful detainer (UD) action against an occupant under a license agreement which waives all landlord-tenant eviction rights on a default?


Castaic Studios LLC v. Wonderland Studios LLC

Facts: A property owner enters a license agreement with a user granting them occupancy of a portion of their property. The agreement states the owner retains the legal right to possession and the occupancy is governed by contract law, not landlord-tenant law. The occupant defaults and the owner files an unlawful detainer (UD) action to prevent the user from occupying the property.

Claim: The occupant claims the owner may not maintain a UD action since by agreement the owner is not a landlord, the occupant is not a tenant and the occupancy is not to be governed by landlord-tenant law.

Counterclaim: The owner claims they may maintain a UD action against the occupant since the owner did not waive their right to pursue a UD action.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the owner may not maintain a UD action against the occupant since they waived their right to pursue such an action by entering a license agreement which stated it was not a lease agreement governed by landlord-tenant laws. [Castaic Studios LLC v. Wonderland Studios LLC (2023) 97 CA5th 209]

Castaic Studios LLC v. Wonderland Studios LLC

Related RCD:

May a landlord maintain an unlawful detainer (UD) action against a tenant who temporarily leaves the property while an unnamed occupant continues in possession?

May a landlord maintain an unlawful detainer (UD) action against a month-to-month tenant who remains in possession following expiration of a notice of intent to vacate when the unit is subject to a rent control ordinance?

Related Reading:

Real Estate Principles: Chapter 81: Notices to vacate — Rent control limitations on eviction



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