California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161.1 Interpretation

Is Section 1161.1 Applicable If a Landlord's Notice Demanding Rent and Various Maintenance Charges Does Not State That the Amount Claimed Is An Estimate ? In Bevill v. Zoura (1994) 27 Cal. App. 4th 694 32 Cal. Rptr. 2d 635, Zoura leased space in a shopping center from Bevill under a written agreement. When Zoura fell behind in rent payments, Bevill served a three-day notice, demanding rent and various common area maintenance charges totaling $ 40,033.28. Included in that figure was rent in the sum of $ 17,932.70, unpaid for more than one year before the three-day notice was served. When Zoura neither paid nor quit the premises, Bevill sued for unlawful detainer. The trial court found in Bevill's favor. The judgment awarded Bevill possession and damages, including rent payments for a one-year period prior to the three-day notice. ( Bevill, supra, 27 Cal. App. 4th at p. 696.) On appeal, Zoura argued that the three-day notice was invalid because Bevill's notice included rent due for more than one year prior to the notice. Bevill conceded that point on appeal. The only argument advanced by Bevill was that Zoura waived his right to assert defects in the notice by failing to raise issues relating to that notice as an affirmative defense--an argument rejected by the Court of Appeal. ( Bevill, supra, 27 Cal. App. 4th at pp. 697-698.) The Court of Appeal observed that section 1161.1 permits a landlord in a commercial context to estimate the rent due. However, the court noted that Bevill did not claim that he was entitled to employ section 1161.1 in his case; the court also stated that section 1161.1 was "inapplicable" because Bevill's notice did not state that the amount claimed was an "estimate." ( Bevill, supra, 27 Cal. App. 4th at p. 697, fn. 2.)