Superior Court of California, Appellate Division, Fresno
from a judgment of the Superior Court of Fresno County, Lisa
Gamoian, Judge. Reversed.
Central California Legal Services, Inc., Marcos Seguro, for
Defendant and Appellant.
Offices of Daniel A. Bruce, Daniel A. Bruce, for Plaintiff
Gary D. Hoff, Judge
appeal from an unlawful detainer judgment, appellant Candy
Scott (hereinafter “appellant”) contends that the
trial court erroneously granted judgment in favor of
respondent Sheikh Kaiuum (hereinafter
“respondent”). She argues that the respondent was
not allowed to evict her for failure to pay the full amount
due under her rental contract because she was the beneficiary
of subsidized rental payments under 42 U.S.C.A. 1937f,
Section 8. She contends that the Fresno County Housing
Authority had ceased making Section 8 payments on her behalf
due to the respondent's failure to maintain the property
in a habitable condition, and thus respondent should not have
been allowed to declare her in breach of the rental
agree that it was respondent's conduct, not
appellant's, that caused the Housing Authority to cease
making Section 8 payments, and that respondent was not
permitted by law to recover the unpaid amounts from
appellant, or to declare her to be in breach of the lease
when she failed to make the full payments. Therefore, we will
reverse the trial court's judgment.
January 14, 2015, appellant and respondent entered into a
one-year residential rental agreement with rent set at the
market rate of $700 per month. However, a portion of
appellant's rent was subsidized through the Federal
Section 8 program. In accordance with Section 8 regulations,
respondent and the Fresno
Housing Authority entered into a Housing Assistance Payment
Contract (“HAP contract”), which required the
Housing Authority to pay respondent $684 of appellant's
$700 per month rent each month starting on September 1, 2015.
The HAP contract prohibited respondent from charging
appellant more than $16 per month.
October 27, 2015, the Housing Authority sent respondent and
appellant a letter stating that the property had failed a
recent inspection, and listing multiple violations of the
federal habitability standards, all but one of which were
deemed to be caused by the owner. The letter warned that
there would be another inspection on November 17, 2015, and
that, if the defects were not cured by the time of that
inspection, the Housing Authority would abate all further
Section 8 payments effective December 1, 2015, and the HAP
contract would be canceled effective December 17, 2015.
November 18, 2015, the Housing Authority sent respondent
another letter, stating that the property had failed the
second inspection, that the Housing Authority would abate
Section 8 payments to respondent effective December 1, 2015,
and that the HAP contract would be canceled on December 17,
2015 unless repairs were made before the cancelation date.
There was an inspection report attached to the letter that
listed multiple separate violations in appellant's unit
and the common areas of the complex, all of which were all
determined to be the responsibility of respondent owner. The
letter also informed the respondent that it was “not
permitted to recover monies from the resident.”
when rent came due on December 1, 2015, respondent demanded
that appellant pay the entirety of the $700 rent under the
rental agreement. When rent became past due on December 4,
2015, respondent served appellant with a three-day notice to
pay or quit, again demanding the full $700 rental payment.
appellant did not pay rent or leave the premises, respondent
filed his complaint for unlawful detainer on December 16,
2015. Appellant filed her answer on December 21, 2015,
raising defenses based on lack of habitability and violation
of the agreement with the Housing Authority. Trial was set
for January 12, 2016.
trial, Judge Lisa Gamoian found that respondent had failed
inspections due to substandard conditions at the unit, and
that the Housing Authority had given notice that Section 8
rent would not be paid to respondent if the violations were
not cured. However, the court found that, because the
deficiencies were not cured by the deadline, the Section 8
contract had terminated and thus appellant was required to
pay the full amount of rent under the rental agreement.
Therefore, the court granted the unlawful detainer judgment
in favor of respondent and against ...