Facts: A tenant and their child move into a residential rental unit. The unit is subject to a local rent control ordinance which limits the rental rate increases as long as the original occupants remain in the unit. The rental agreement entered into by the tenant and landlord only names the tenant as a party to the agreement, and not their child. Several years later, the tenant moves out, but their child (now an adult) continues to occupy the unit. Upon the tenant’s leave, the landlord increases the amount of the monthly rental fee beyond the rental rate permitted by the local rent control ordinance. The tenant’s child refuses to pay the increased rental fee.
Claim: The landlord seeks to enforce the increased rental fee, claiming the tenant’s child is not protected by the rent control ordinance since they are not an original occupant as they were not a party to the original rental agreement.
Counter claim: The tenant’s child claims they are not obligated to pay the increased rental fee and are entitled to continued rent control since they were an original occupant along with their parent when the rental agreement was entered into, even though they were not a party to the agreement.
Holding: A California court of appeals holds the tenant’s child is entitled to continued rent control even though the parent alone was a party to the rental agreement since the child is considered an original lawful occupant due to their continued occupancy in the unit from the start of the tenancy subject to the rental agreement. [Mosser Companies v. San Francisco Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board (January 21, 2015)_CA4th_]