Anti- SLAPP Statute in Landlord-tenant Disputes Cases

In Feldman v. 1100 Park Lane Associates (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1467, after plaintiffs subleased a rent-controlled apartment and took possession, landlord defendant informed them they were unapproved subtenants and demanded they pay higher market rent. Landlord then commenced an unlawful detainer action but dismissed it when tenants vacated the premises. (Id. at p. 1475.) Tenants sued landlord for retaliatory and wrongful eviction, negligence, breach of contract, and unfair business practices. The appellate court concluded that with one minor exception, tenants' complaint was "based upon the filing of the unlawful detainer, service of the three-day notice, and landlord's statements in connection with the threatened unlawful detainer. These activities are not merely cited as evidence of wrongdoing or activities 'triggering' the filing of an action that arises out of some other independent activity. These are the challenged activities and the bases for all causes of action . . . ." (Id. at p. 1483.) In Wallace v. McCubbin (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1169, the court considered only whether the allegations pertaining to only two of the complaint's 13 causes of action arose from protected activity. Those two causes of action explicitly cited the "three-day notice to quit and the filing of the unlawful detainer action" as wrongdoing in and of themselves, and thus the allegations made sufficient reference to such activity to make it more than "incidental" to the two claims at issue, bringing them within the ambit of the anti-SLAPP statute. (Id. at pp. 1178, 1182-1184, 1194.)