Howard v. HMK Holdings, LLC

Facts: Three tenants occupy a residential property under a lease agreement. One of the tenants has a medical disability requiring in-person care. On expiration of the lease term, the tenants continue occupying the property on a month-to-month rental basis. Later, the landlord serves a Notice to Quit to terminate the occupancy. The tenants request an extension to accommodate the disabled tenant and present the landlord with a physician’s letter stating the disabled tenant is unable to travel on a long trip, posing an inconvenience. The landlord rejects the extension request, the tenants do not vacate on expiration of the notice, and the landlord files an unlawful detainer (UD) action to recover possession from the tenants.

Claim: The tenant claims they cannot be evicted since the landlord’s Notice to Quit violates the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA), by discriminating against a disabled tenant while knowing it was inconvenient for the disabled tenant to travel.

Counterclaim: The landlord claims the tenants unlawfully detained the property since the tenant’s right to possession terminated on expiration of the Notice to Quit which is not an FHAA violation as the tenants failed to show the requested accommodation is necessary to the tenant’s medical condition.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the unlawful detainer action is proper based on the Notice to Quit and the tenants are to be evicted since the tenants failed to show sufficient evidence an extension of their occupancy was necessary for the tenant’s health and safety as required under an FHAA claim. [Howard v. HMK Holdings, LLC (2021) 988 F3D 1185]

Read the text of the case here