Hong Sang Market, Inc. vs. Peng

Facts: A tenant enters into a sublease for a commercial property. After the master tenant departs, the subtenant pays no rent for several months. The landlord sues the tenant for back rent. While the action is pending, the landlord files an unlawful detainer (UD) action, demanding the tenant vacate the premises and pay one month’s overdue rent. The tenant pays the month’s rent and vacates.

Claim: The landlord seeks the remaining overdue rent for the months preceding the UD action, claiming their UD award does not prohibit their collection of additional rent since their present action is a civil lawsuit and legally permissible alongside the UD action.

Counterclaim: The tenant seeks to avoid paying the back rent, claiming the landlord can recover only the month’s overdue rent specified in the UD filing.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the landlord may seek to recover the past rent since the suit and UD demand are not mutually exclusive. [Hong Sang Market, Inc. vs. Peng (February 13th, 2018)_CA4th__]

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