Requesting relief from lease forfeiture in California is the topic of this blog post.
Requesting relief from the lease forfeiture in California requires filing a motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1179 on the grounds of hardship. The motion can be used to obtain relief against any forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement, whether written or oral.
California Code of Civil Procedure section 1179 states in pertinent part that, “The court may relieve a tenant against a forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement, whether written or oral, and whether or not the tenancy has terminated, and restore him or her to his or her former estate or tenancy, in case of hardship, as provided in Section 1174. The court has the discretion to relieve any person against forfeiture on its own motion.”
If you want to file a motion for relief from forfeiture of a lease under Code of Civil Procedure section 1179 you should be sure to submit a declaration with detailed facts supporting your claim of hardship, and your claim that any breach was not willful or in bad faith.
For example if you had failed to pay your rent on time due to losing your job but you now have the money to pay all of the back rent and all other damages and costs included in any judgment you have a good argument for relief from forfeiture, particularly if you can show that you had always paid the rent on time before losing their job and that you are now employed again and plan to pay your rent on time from now on.
A noticed motion for relief from a forfeiture of a lease or rental agreement must be served and filed at least five (5) calendar days before the hearing. Note that if you serve the motion by mail you will have to give ten (10) calendar days notice of the hearing.
A California Court of Appeal has ruled in a published case that courts have broad equitable discretion to relieve a tenant from forfeiture and restore them to their former tenancy in cases of hardship. The Court must impose statutory conditions such as full payment of the rent that is due or full performance of all conditions and covenants of the lease or rental agreement.
The law abhors forfeitures. Reed v. South Shore Foods, Inc. (1964) 229 Cal. App. 2d 705, 713.
Relief from forfeiture is more likely to be granted if the lessor can be placed in the same position as if the breach had not occurred. The principal reason for this is that the penalty of forfeiture is essentially designed to secure the payment of a certain sum of money. If that money is paid with interest, the true purpose of the forfeiture is satisfied.
Courts can also exercise their equitable powers and balance the equities allowing them to take into account all of the relevant circumstances such as whether the breach by the tenant was willful or in bad faith, whether the landlord has acted in good or bad faith, etc.
Any tenant who would suffer grave hardship if you were forced to move should consider filing a motion for relief from forfeiture under section 1179.
Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample motion for relief from forfeiture of a lease containing a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, sample declaration and proof of service sold by the author can use the link shown below.
Attorneys or parties in California who would like more information on an eviction litigation document package containing over 30 sample documents including a sample motion for relief from forfeiture of a lease sold by the author can use the link shown below.
The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.
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Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.
The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.