• Sasha Struthers

Los Angeles Nuisance & Waste Evictions: Briefer 2021

Statewide Rent Control with AB 1482 now requires properties subject to AB 1482 to have cause to evict. Local ordinances control except when the rent increase cap is higher than that allowed under AB 1482 and if the local rent control does not require for cause evictions. In those cases AB 1482 is controlling.


Besides failure to pay rent, nuisance and waste and the second most common causes for eviction. Below is a breakdown of what could be grounds for a nuisance or waste eviction, and what is required to initiate an eviction under those grounds. See my other blog here on the 10 details landlords need to document for nuisance cases.


CCP § 1161(4)


A landlord way evict any tenant who is committing waste or causing to be committed, maintaining, committing, or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance upon the demised premises or using the premises for an unlawful purpose, upon service of a 3 Day Notice to Quit.


Under CCP § 3479, nuisance is defined as "[a]nything which is injurious to health, including, but not limited to, the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property..."


Violating neighbor's rights to the "quiet enjoyment" of their premises is a common nuisance. California has the Noise Control Act of 1973. However, a landlord needs to be aware of any local noise control ordinances. Often times landlords are in trouble for failure to provide tenants with quiet enjoyment resulting from other tenants' noise.


A city attorney or prosecutor may under CCP § 3485 (illegal conduct involving an unlawful weapons or ammunition on real property) or CCP § 3486 (illegal conduct involving a controlled substance purpose on real property) issue a letter to the property owner notifying the property owner of tenant's conduct, following a police report being filed against the tenant. Receiving that letter is enough to issue a 3 Day Notice to Quit to the offending tenant.


California & Local Rent Controls


The following shows what defines nuisance under state and Los Angeles local ordinances:


California- CCP § 1161(4)


Los Angeles City- LARSO LAMC, Ch. XV, Art. 1 section 151.09(A)(3)


Under the LARSO nuisance, includes but is not limited to any:

  • Gang-related crime

  • Violent crime

  • Unlawful weapon or ammunition crime or threat of violent crime

  • Illegal drug activity

  • Any documented activity commonly associated with illegal drug dealing, such as complaints of noise, steady traffic day and night to a particular unit, barricaded units, possession of weapons, or drug loitering as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 11532

  • Other drug related circumstances brought to the attention of the landlord by other tenants, persons within the community, law enforcement agencies or prosecution agencies.


Los Angeles County- LA County Rent Control Ordinance Section 8.52.090(D)(3)


Under the LA County nuisance, includes but is not limited to any:

  • Definition of nuisance under CCP § 1161(4)

  • Any crime or act of violence committed by a tenant which involves use of a gun or a deadly weapon, or inflicts serious bodily injury and for which a police report has been filed, but not involving an act against an individual residing in the same unit

  • Any threat of violent crime or violence

  • Tenant has created or is maintaining a dangerous and unsanitary condition and that condition has not been promptly abated or repaired after written notice to the Tenant from the Landlord and the passage of a reasonable cure period


Santa Monica- Santa Monica Rent Control Article XVIII section 1806(a)(3)


Nuisance under Santa Monica's ordinance is defined as: "[t]he tenant has continued, after written notice to cease, to commit or expressly permit a nuisance in, or cause substantial damage to, the controlled rental unit, or to create a substantial interference with the comfort, safety, or enjoyment of the landlord or other occupants or neighbors of the same."


West Hollywood- West Hollywood Rent Control Ordinance Title 17 Art. 5 Ch. 17.52.010(4)


West Hollywood defines nuisance as "[t]he tenant is committing a nuisance or permitting a nuisance in, or is causing damage to, the rental unit or to the appurtenances thereof or to the common areas of the housing complex containing the rental unit. As used herein, a “nuisance” is anything which is injurious to health, including, but not limited to, the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.For the purposes of this paragraph, smoking by a tenant does not in and of itself constitute a nuisance."


Inglewood- Inglewood Rent Control Ordinance Ch. 8 Art. 9 § 8-120(b)(4)


Refers to CCP § 1161(4) for nuisance and waste.


Beverly Hills- Beverly Hills Rent Control Ordinance Title 4 Ch. 5 Art. 4-5-504


Beverly Hills defines nuisance as "committing or permitting to exist a nuisance in, or is causing damage to, the apartment unit or to the appurtenances thereof, or to the common areas of the complex containing the apartment unit, or is creating an unreasonable interference with the comfort, safety, or enjoyment of any of the other residents of the same or any adjacent building."


3 Day Notice to Quit or 3 Day Notice to Perform Covenant or Quit


As discussed above, when a tenant has committed a nuisance it may be deemed incurable and a 3 Day Notice to Quit may be issued without a cure period. The 3 Day Notice to Quit should outline the statute and/or ordinance the tenant is believed to have violated and the acts believed to be a nuisance. However, be careful to check local laws and the lease as some nuisances may be subject to a curable provision in which a tenant has the opportunity to fix their nuisance.


Conclusion


As you can see nuisance is not well defined. What can impeded on another's enjoyment of their unit is very subjective. Clear examples would be blasting music late at night, drug use or selling, brandishing a weapon, threatening other tenants, and breaking things in the unit such as cabinets, windows and doors. It is best to always have photos and written records of the nuisance (date, time, witnesses, description of behavior). At minimum, issue written warnings to tenants who display any behavior believed to be a nuisance.


Nuisance evictions are tricky and potentially impractical. Assuming you must go to trial, you would need to subpoena many witnesses, often other tenants, to appear and testify to the tenant's nuisance. While a 3 Day Notice to Quit based on nuisance is allowed, many times a judge or jury may find that the nuisance should have had at least written warning to cure, such as a 3 Day Notice to Cure or Quit. Some ordinances even require prior written warnings.


Before issuing a 3 Day Notice of any type you should consult an attorney. In light of increasing demands for jury trials by tenants evictions are under severe scrutiny. Consulting with an attorney can give you a realistic insight to the viability of a nuisance eviction before spending money on an unlawful detainer case, which can be a nuisance itself.



The information in this post is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this post should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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