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Landlord’s Action For Rent And Other Damages

A tenant who stops paying rent before expiration of the lease term, without lawful excuse, has breached the lease. The fact the tenant has vacated the unit or has been evicted, does not relieve the tenant of the rental obligation for the balance of the term. This is so even if an unlawful detainer judgment against the breaching tenant adjudicated a forfeiture of the lease. The landlord may pursue a damages claim for all rent owing through the remainder of the term of the lease, less any rent losses that could have been avoided by the landlord’s reasonable, good faith efforts to re-let the premises, plus the cost to repair any damage caused by the tenant above ordinary wear and tear, plus leasing commissions, and any other losses incurred by the landlord from the tenant’s breach including court costs and, if the lease so provides, attorney fees. If a tenant breaches a lease, our attorneys are here to assist and, when necessary, to file a lawsuit against the tenant to recover rent and other amounts owed.

Enforcement of Judgment

After obtaining a judgment against a tenant, we can assist with enforcement of the judgment. Landlord options to enforce a judgment include, but are not limited to, the following:

Judgment Debtor Exam. A judgment debtor examination is the post-judgment equivalent of a deposition. An examination can be used to identify property in the possession or control of the tenant or a third person, to learn about property the tenant may obtain in the future, and to require the tenant or third person to turn over property to the levying officer.

Bank Levy. The landlord may direct the Sheriff to levy on the tenant’s bank deposits or property in safe deposit boxes.

Wage Garnishment. By using the procedures of the Wage Garnishment Law, a landlord may compel a tenant’s employer to withhold the nonexempt portion of the tenant’s disposable earnings for payment directly to the levying officer, to be applied to satisfy the judgment.

Assignment Order. If a tenant has a right to any future payment, a court may order an assignment of all or part of such right to the landlord.

Judgment Lien. A judgment lien on real property may be created by recording an abstract of the judgment with the County Recorder’s office. The abstract will lien all real property owned by the tenant in the County where the abstract is recorded. The abstract may be recorded in multiple counties.

Keeper. If the landlord so instructs, the levying officer will place a keeper at the tenant’s business for the period requested by the landlord. This permits the business to continue to operate in the ordinary course provided all sales are final and for cash or its equivalent (i.e., checks). The keeper takes custody of all sales proceeds unless otherwise directed by the landlord. If there are multiple business locations (e.g., several retail stores), a keeper may be installed at any or all of them