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In California, can I, as a tenant, sue my landlord in Unlawful Detainer court? Also, can I counter claim OR sue him for damages?

Fairfield, CA |

My landlord is bringing me to court for an unlawful detainer action. I have already won 2 previous U.D. actions brought against me by him. My apt. was deemed uninhabitable and I was ordered to vacate immediately therefore I am entitled to relocation benefits. Also, I need to sue him fir "special damages" due to the fact that he repeatedly demanded rent on an uninhabitable property. I tried to bring him to small claims to collect relocation monies but my case was dismissed because the judge said I should have brought my claims up in U.D. court....HOWEVER....both U.D. judges informed me tgat in an U.D. action, the tenant can ONLY defend the eviction, NOT counter claim ir ask for damages. PLEASE someone give me the correct info, I'm absolutely disheveled over this. Thank you so much =]

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

No. An unlawful detainer is a summary proceeding. As such, an unlawful detainer proceeding is given legal precedence over all other civil actions so that it can be quickly heard and determined. (Code of Civil Procedure §1179a.)

A cross-complaint is not permitted in an unlawful detainer lawsuit. A defendant has no right to file a cross-complaint or counterclaim because possession is the only issue being litigated in an unlawful detainer action. (Vella v. Hudgins (1977) 20 Cal.3d 251, 255.)

You must file a civil lawsuit for damages. The civil lawsuit may be filed as a small claims action, or a limited jurisdiction superior court action, or an unlimited jurisdiction superior court action.

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

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8 comments

Asker

Posted

FRANK!!!!!! Thank you a million times! The small claims judge has dismissed my case WITH prejudice because he said that I HAD TO HAVE asked for my relocation AND damages in U.D.! Is there anything I can do now, because of this judge's ignorance of the law, I have had my case thrown out! He said that relocation and damages were ruled on in ny UD case but I bought the $450 transcript and I NEVER mentioned any of that. All I did was prove uninhabitability as my defense against the action. How can I get this over turned? I've heard about bringing him under judicial review, but I still need to collect my money from the landlord and because of this judge, I can't!

Asker

Posted

FRANK!!!!!! Thank you a million times! The small claims judge has dismissed my case WITH prejudice because he said that I HAD TO HAVE asked for my relocation AND damages in U.D.! Is there anything I can do now, because of this judge's ignorance of the law, I have had my case thrown out! He said that relocation and damages were ruled on in ny UD case but I bought the $450 transcript and I NEVER mentioned any of that. All I did was prove uninhabitability as my defense against the action. How can I get this over turned? I've heard about bringing him under judicial review, but I still need to collect my money from the landlord and because of this judge, I can't!

Asker

Posted

FRANK!!!!!! Thank you a million times! The small claims judge has dismissed my case WITH prejudice because he said that I HAD TO HAVE asked for my relocation AND damages in U.D.! Is there anything I can do now, because of this judge's ignorance of the law, I have had my case thrown out! He said that relocation and damages were ruled on in ny UD case but I bought the $450 transcript and I NEVER mentioned any of that. All I did was prove uninhabitability as my defense against the action. How can I get this over turned? I've heard about bringing him under judicial review, but I still need to collect my money from the landlord and because of this judge, I can't!

Asker

Posted

FRANK!!!!!! Thank you a million times! The small claims judge has dismissed my case WITH prejudice because he said that I HAD TO HAVE asked for my relocation AND damages in U.D.! Is there anything I can do now, because of this judge's ignorance of the law, I have had my case thrown out! He said that relocation and damages were ruled on in ny UD case but I bought the $450 transcript and I NEVER mentioned any of that. All I did was prove uninhabitability as my defense against the action. How can I get this over turned? I've heard about bringing him under judicial review, but I still need to collect my money from the landlord and because of this judge, I can't!

Asker

Posted

FRANK!!!!!! Thank you a million times! The small claims judge has dismissed my case WITH prejudice because he said that I HAD TO HAVE asked for my relocation AND damages in U.D.! Is there anything I can do now, because of this judge's ignorance of the law, I have had my case thrown out! He said that relocation and damages were ruled on in ny UD case but I bought the $450 transcript and I NEVER mentioned any of that. All I did was prove uninhabitability as my defense against the action. How can I get this over turned? I've heard about bringing him under judicial review, but I still need to collect my money from the landlord and because of this judge, I can't!

Asker

Posted

FRANK!!!!!! Thank you a million times! The small claims judge has dismissed my case WITH prejudice because he said that I HAD TO HAVE asked for my relocation AND damages in U.D.! Is there anything I can do now, because of this judge's ignorance of the law, I have had my case thrown out! He said that relocation and damages were ruled on in ny UD case but I bought the $450 transcript and I NEVER mentioned any of that. All I did was prove uninhabitability as my defense against the action. How can I get this over turned? I've heard about bringing him under judicial review, but I still need to collect my money from the landlord and because of this judge, I can't!

Asker

Posted

Wow, something is obviously wrong with my cell phone! I apologize for the over abundance of responses!

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Posted

You can't appeal if you as the plaintiff lost. There is no right to appeal. Judicial review is for misconduct, not for wrong legal rulings. You might be able to file a motion to cancel judgment in small claims court. See: http://courts.ca.gov/documents/sc108.pdf Or you MIGHT be able to file a new superior court lawsuit for damages for breach of lease and other damages if you are able to distinguish the new case from the small claims case.

Posted

you cannot bring a counter claim in a UD proceeding. You would need to bring a separate lawsuit.

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