North 7th Street Associates v. Constante

Court Prohibits Three (3) Day Notice on Unpermitted Residential Unit


In North 7th Street Associates v. Constante, the Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court recently held that a three (3) day notice to pay or quit could not be used to initiate an unlawful detainer action on an unpermitted property where rent could not lawfully be collected.    In this case, plaintiff owned a residential unit and rented it to the defendant.  When the defendant failed to pay rent, plaintiff served him with a three (3) day notice to pay or quit.  The defendant moved for summary judgment alleging that the unit was unpermitted and lacked a certificate of occupancy.  Therefore, it could not lawfully be leased.  The Court agreed with the defendant and granted summary judgment.  Plaintiff appealed arguing that although it was not entitled to past due rent, it should be permitted to recover possession of the property.  The Appellate Division affirmed finding that the procedure was incorrect because the three (3) day notice was served, but was inappropriate given that the unit was illegal.


Shannon B. Jones, Partner