A residential tenant who leased a unit in an apartment building informed the landlord of his intent to operate a child care business in the unit. The landlord informed the tenant the use would be considered a breach of the lease agreement and result in eviction. The tenant sued to permit the use and the landlord withdrew opposition against use of the unit for the day care business. The landlord and tenant entered into a settlement agreement which the court approved as terminating the litigation without the landlord admitting to any wrongdoing. The tenant then sought to recover substantial attorney fees from the landlord, claiming the landlord’s initial opposition to the day care use of the unit constituted retaliatory action and discrimination against the tenant since the landlord’s threat of litigation interfered with the tenant’s legal right to operate a child care business in the unit. The landlord claimed the tenant was not entitled to attorney fees since the landlord’s initial opposition only expressed an intent to enforce what the landlord initially interpreted as a breach of the lease agreement. A California court of appeals held the landlord was not liable to pay attorney fees to the tenant for initially opposing the tenant’s operation of a child care business on the tenant’s in the unit, since a landlord’s warning to remedy what he initially interprets in good faith will be a tenant’s breach of a lease agreement does not constitute retaliatory eviction or discrimination against the tenant. [Morrison v. Vineyard Creek (2011) 193 CA4th 1254]

Forms – 550 Residential Lease Agreement