If a Los Angeles tenant is successful in their claim that the landlord breached the warranty of habitability, this will serve as a defense to an eviction case that was filed based on non-payment of rent. Even if the defense of the warranty of habitability in Los Angeles county is raised following an eviction based on a 30/60 day notice (not claiming unpaid rent), a successful warranty of habitability defense may limit the amount of damages that the landlord can recover. A tenant who “wins” an eviction case based on the warranty of habitability in Los Angeles county may be entitled to attorney fees.
If you settle a case before trial, and the tenant has raised the defense of the warranty of habitability in their Answer, the settlement should include wording that all claims relating to the tenancy by either party, including the alleged breach of the warranty of habitability, are included in the settlement, thereby barring the tenant from later alleging the breach in a different case.
If your tenant raises the defense of the warranty of habitability in their unlawful detainer answer in Los Angeles county, you should hire an attorney.
It is important to note that a commercial tenant may not raise a breach of the warranty of habitability as a defense to an eviction. The warranty of habitability defense exists only in the context of residential tenancies.
The defense of the breach of warranty of habitability is an important one. Landlords should use the search feature on this blog to search for other warranty of habitability articles. This blog includes several tips and information on the warranty of habitability.
Read Attorney Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book.
The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.
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