Hiona v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
In 2018, Landlord served Tenants with a Notice of Termination of Tenancy “in furtherance of [Landlord’s] withdrawal of the Property from residential rental use.” After the withdrawal date, Landlord filed unlawful detainer (UD) actions against Tenants under the Ellis Act. (Gov. Code, 7060) as unlimited civil cases. Landlord brought summary judgment motions for restitution of the premises based on Tenants’ holdover under the Ellis Act and the San Francisco rent ordinance. Landlord waived damages, estimated at $92-105 per day. After those motions were granted, Tenants moved to reclassify the actions as limited civil cases, arguing Landlord waived all unlawful detainer damages and that it was impossible for Landlord to meet the $25,000 minimum judgment amount for an unlimited civil matter.
The trial court denied the motions for reclassification and entered judgments for possession in favor of Landlord. The court of appeal denied Tenants’ petition for a writ of mandate. Under the plain language of Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040(e), a UD action, filed as an unlimited civil case, need not be reclassified as a limited civil case if the landlord waives its claim to damages for the purpose of obtaining a judgment for possession by way of a motion for summary judgment.