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Burien, LLC v. Wiley

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fifth Division

October 22, 2014

BURIEN, LLC, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
JAMES A. WILEY, Defendant and Respondent.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. SC114545 Gerald Rosenberg, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Dennis P. Block & Associates, Dennis P. Block and Daniel Costas, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Campbell & Farahani, Frances M. Campbell and Nima Farahani, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

KRIEGLER, J.

A landlord converted a rent-controlled apartment building to condominiums, obtained a new certificate of occupancy in 2009 based on the change in use, and raised the rent. When a tenant objected, the landlord sought a declaration from the court that the unit was exempt from local rent control ordinances under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Civ. Code, § 1954.50, et seq.).[1] The trial court found the unit was not exempt and entered judgment in favor of the tenant. On appeal, the landlord contends the unit is exempt from rent control under section 1954.52, subdivision (a)(1), which provides an exemption for units that have a certificate of occupancy issued after 1995. We conclude section 1954.52, subdivision (a)(1), refers to certificates of occupancy issued prior to residential use of the unit. We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A certificate of occupancy was issued in 1972 for the apartment building at issue on Sawtelle Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Defendant and respondent James A. Wiley (Tenant) leased a unit in the building in 1981. Tenant’s rent was controlled by the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance (Los Angeles Mun. Code, § 151.00 et seq.) (LARSO). The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, effective January 1, 1996, exempted certain units from local rent control ...


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