Foster v. Britton et al.

Facts: An investor purchases a residential apartment building and serves a 30-day notice of change in rental terms on the existing tenants. Under the change in terms, the landlord may evict a tenant for their failure to comply with any new restrictions. A local regulation prevents a tenant from being evicted for violating tenant rules if those rules are not a part of their original rental agreement and the tenant has not agreed to the change in terms in writing.

Claim: A long-term tenant seeks to avoid the enforcement of the new restrictions, claiming the changes to the rental terms are invalid since the local rental-housing regulation prevents the landlord from imposing new rental terms which the tenant does not agree to that result in an eviction of the tenant if broken.

Counterclaim: The landlord claims a 30-day notice of change in rental terms required under state law is the only condition for amending a rental agreement since local regulations do not supersede state law.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the new unilaterally-imposed rules do not apply to existing tenants since the local government may impose regulations preventing the landlord from evicting a tenant for failing to comply with amended terms to a rental agreement which were not agreed to by the tenant nor present when the original rental agreement was entered into. [Foster v. Britton et al. (December 1, 2015) __CA1st__]

Read the case text.

Editor’s note – See the 30-day Notice of Change in Rental Terms. [See RPI Form 570]