Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in California

I have an issue with mold and was informed the apartment was inhabitable, in turn I wrote the managment that I am withholding rent until they abate the mold. Then I was served with a 3-day notice to pay or quit. By the advice of 3 doctors I was moved out by the time alotted.Several months later I see that they won an unlawful detainer against me and I was never served or knew about it. I was served the 3 day notice on the 6th and they filed the unlawful detainer on the 28th. Is there other paper work I can file besides to quash? Is there a time limit on filing a motion to quash/

Asked on 6/22/13, 5:11 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Christie Asselin Christie Asselin
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I see three issues here. First, is the unlawful detainer proceedings. The second is any personal or property injury you may have suffered as a result of the mold in the unit. Third, the timing of the eviction procedures suggests the possibility of retaliatory eviction.

I do not know when the judgment from the unlawful retainer proceedings was entered but there are procedures available to set aside the judgment. You can move to set aside the default judgment and request a new trial. There are time limits on the procedures available for this motion. So do not delay this. A motion to quash would be brought before judgment. But the grounds for the motion to set aside default could include the service of process issue.

On a related note: here is some additional info on termination of tenancy: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/terminations.shtml.

Second, you may have legal recourse available for any personal or property damage suffered as a result of the mold. Your landlord had the legal obligation to maintain the property in a habitable state. If there was mold and there was notice to the landlord of the mold, this obligation may have been breached.

Third, I see the possibility of retaliatory eviction. Note that the courts do not encourage people to engage in self-help by not paying rent. But the timing is suspect.

These are some technical issues that are raised here. As always, I'd suggest you speak to an attorney who handles mold/landlord-tenant issues. Many will provide free or low cost consultations. Best of luck to you.

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Answered on 6/24/13, 10:38 am

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