Long Term Tenant Eviction in California

In Clark v. Mazgani (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1281, "a landlord successfully evicted a long-term tenant from a rent-controlled apartment, ostensibly to free the unit for occupancy by the landlord's daughter. The landlord's daughter never moved in, and the tenant sued the landlord for fraud and unlawful eviction, and failure to pay relocation expenses." (Clark, supra, 170 Cal.App.4th at p. 1284.) The landlord filed an anti-SLAPP motion, contending the tenant's complaint arose from protected activity, including privileged communications in the course of proceedings before the Los Angeles City Housing Department and in the unlawful detainer action, and from the acts of filing and serving the eviction notice. (Id. at p. 1285.) The appellate court disagreed, explaining: "There is no question that the prosecution of an unlawful detainer action is indisputably protected activity within the meaning of section 425.16. " (Id. at p. 1286.) However, the tenant's "complaint against the landlord is not based on the landlord's filing or service of the notices of intent to evict, it is not based on anything the landlord said in court or a public proceeding, and it is not based on the fact that the landlord prosecuted an unlawful detainer action against the tenant. The complaint is based on the landlord's allegedly unlawful eviction, in that she fraudulently invoked the rent stabilization ordinance to evict the tenant from her rent-controlled apartment as a ruse to provide housing for her daughter, but never installed her daughter in the apartment as required by that ordinance, and also that she failed to pay the tenant's relocation fee." (Id. at p. 1288.) The tenant's lawsuit "was unquestionably 'triggered by' the landlord's statements and the documents she filed in connection with the unlawful detainer. But the suit is not based on those statements or filings. It is based on the tenant's claim that the landlord fraudulently invoked the family occupancy exemption of the rent stabilization ordinance to effect the tenant's eviction, and failed to fulfill her obligations under that ordinance to install her daughter in the apartment or to pay the tenant's relocation expenses. The landlord's eviction notices and the unlawful detainer action are merely cited as evidence and background to illustrate the landlord's subsequent violation of the rent stabilization ordinance and Civil Code section 1947.10, subdivision (a)." (Clark, supra, 170 Cal.App.4th at p. 1290.)