Scott v. Kaiuum

Facts: A landlord and a Section 8 tenant enter into a rental agreement in which the local housing authority pays the bulk of the tenant’s rent. The housing authority inspects the property and determines it fails to meet federal habitability standards. The landlord does not correct the deficiency and the housing authority ceases making Section 8 payments to the landlord. The landlord demands the full rent payment directly from the tenant. The tenant does not comply and remains in possession.

Claim: The landlord seeks to remove the tenant from the property and recover the full rental payment directly from the tenant, claiming the tenant was in violation of the rental agreement since the housing authority ceased making Section 8 payments.

Counter claim: The tenant claims they are not responsible for the full rent payment since the landlord forfeited the Section 8 payments by failing to maintain the property in a habitable condition.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the landlord cannot remove the tenant or collect payment since the landlord is responsible for the substandard habitability of the property and thus for the cessation of the Section 8 payments. [Scott v. Kaiuum (December 7, 2016) _CA4th_]

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