Wong v. Markarian

Facts: A residential tenant enters into a rental agreement.  After taking possession, the tenant moves a dependent and an adult into the unit. The landlord asks the tenant’s family to fill out a rental application which the tenant did and returned to the landlord. The landlord did not object to the occupancy. The landlord serves the tenants a notice of rent increase without offering them an option to lease for one-year, as required under a local housing ordinance when serving a notice of rent increase. The tenants refuse to pay the rent increase. The landlord files an unlawful detainer (UD) action to evict the tenants.

Claim: The landlord claims the tenants failed to pay the rent increase and violated the occupancy limit in the rental agreement since the local housing ordinance only allows one dependent child or additional adult, not both.

Counterclaim: The tenants claim the landlord cannot evict them since the landlord knew of the two additional occupants and approved them as tenants by the later service of the notice to increase their rent without offering a one-year lease.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the landlord may not evict the tenants since the landlord failed to give the tenants an option to lease for one year when increasing the rent. [Wong v. Markarian (2022) 78 CA5th 24]

Read Wong v. Markarian.

Related article:

Letter to the editor: Occupancy limitations for rental properties

Related reading:

Property Management

Chapter 58: Residential rent control