Multani v. Knight

Facts: A landlord leases a commercial property to a tenant. After the lease expires, the landlord rents the property to the tenant on a month-to-month basis under the same terms as the expired lease. The tenant stops paying rent and is served with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. The tenant fails to comply and the landlord files an unlawful detainer (UD) action. The tenant does not attempt to recover their personal property from the premises. The tenant’s personal property is damaged in a sewage spill on the premises during the tenant’s holdover of the property.

Claim: The tenant seeks money losses for the damaged personal property, claiming the landlord is liable for its cost since the tenant’s legal rights from the previous lease were carried over to the month-to-month agreement and remain valid as a holdover tenant.

Counterclaim: The landlord seeks to keep the cost of the damaged personal property, claiming the tenant abandoned it and had no right to possession of the premises when the sewage spill occurred.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the landlord is not liable for the cost of the damaged personal property since the tenant had no right to possession of the premises when the sewage spill occurred. [Multani v. Knight (May 24, 2018)_CA5th_]

Editor’s note — The landlord properly demanded the tenant pay delinquent rent or vacate and surrender possession of the property by serving a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. See the Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit form published by RPI (Realty Publications, Inc.). [See RPI Form 575 and 575-1]

Read the case text.