The Tenant Prevails in Unlawful Detainer Action, Now What?

When the Landlord/Tenant relationship deteriorates, it can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. The tenant can no longer enjoy the place he/she calls home, while the Landlord resents the fact that the tenant is occupying their space. In California, when a Landlord is seeking to repossess the property they have to seek court intervention (Unlawful Detainer). The Landlord is not permitted to u

Tiffany Travillion
May 02, 2018

Going to trial is always a risk.  Rarely does the Landlord or Tenant have a risk-free case which is why settlement is often encouraged.  In those cases where the Tenant prevails, the Landlord is prevented from taking back possession of the property.  Now that the Tenant has won the right to remain on the property, how will this affect an already deteriorated relationship?

Generally speaking, the Landlord can terminate the lease agreement for any reason.  For instance, on a month-to-month lease the Landlord can send a 60 day Notice terminating the lease for any reason and without justification. But in cases where the Landlord previously lost at trial, he better make sure any subsequent efforts to evict are based on solid ground lest he be accused of retaliatory eviction.  

Unless the Tenant fails to pay rent or violates an express term of the Lease Agreement, the Landlord will likely be accused of retaliation if he/she tries to terminate the lease following the Tenant's victory at trial.  

But is the Tenant's win a true victory?  While the Tenant may have prevailed at trial, how comfortable will it be for him or her to stay there knowing the Landlord is likely "lying in wait" for him to mess up.  The Tenant will have to "walk on egg shells," so to speak, knowing that the Landlord is hoping they make a mistake giving new grounds to evict.

In situations like these, its hard to say that there is a "true" victor.  When the Landlord/ Tenant relationship is no longer reconcilable, its wiser to consider how to best part ways.

About The Author

Tiffany N. Travillion (Romine) has spent her legal career aiming to give voice to those seeking fairness and justice. While studying at Moritz College of Law, Tiffany was a judicial extern for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Mark R. Abel of the United States District Court, Southern District of ...

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