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Bad Tenant Troubles
by Ron Davis

The eviction of a difficult tenant from a California shopping center has been a journey of frustration for the centerís owners. A series of rent-payment delays, lease concessions, unreasonable demands, and, finally, court battles has plagued the owners throughout the lengthy ordeal.

The shopping center, located in Los Angeles, had leased space to the tenant for the operation of a dry-cleaning business. From the onset of the arrangement, the tenant was continually late in paying rent. In response, the centerís owners repeatedly warned the tenant of possible legal action.

Eventually, the tenantís violation of the lease forced the owners to sue. A California court subsequently ruled in favor of the owners and ordered the tenant to pay them $7,846. Rather than evict the tenant, however, the owners renegotiated the lease and allowed the tenant to continue in business at the center.

Despite that concession, the tenant again fell behind in paying rent. The centerís owners then began eviction efforts. But the tenant refused to move out, and five months later, none of the tenantís personal property, customersí clothing, fixtures and equipment had been removed.

The owners and the tenant then agreed to a settlement: The owners said that if the tenant would move out, they would not only waive the $7,846 that the tenant owed, but also return the tenantís $4,600 security deposit that was paid at lease signing.

The tenant readily accepted that proposal, but nevertheless did not vacate the premises by the agreed moving date. The centerís owners then posted a notice at the door of the tenantís premises warning of a public sale if the tenant did not remove any ďabandoned property.Ē

The tenant apparently ignored the notice, and the centerís owners received from the court the authority to sell or remove all goods and equipment from the tenantís premises.

In response, the tenant posted a notice at the center stating that the business was never abandoned and that the centerís owners were discarding customersí clothing and the tenantís personal property. The tenant then sued the centerís owners, claiming they were guilty of ďfraud and deceit, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and unfair business practices.Ē

A California court ruled in favor of the centerís owners. The tenant then appealed, arguing that the judge rejected certain crucial evidence and testimony.

A California appellate court upheld the lower court ruling. (Holder v. Jun, 2006 WL 44436 [Cal.App. 2 Dist.])

Decision: January 2006
Published: March 2006



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