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Can i sue my landlord for violating my quiet enjoyment?

San Jose, CA |

I lived in my studio for 11 months and around the 7th month being their my landlord has been harrasing me about my girlfriend living with me, when she doesnt. I have proof of him writing me a letter telling me to add her on the lease, I responded telling that she does not live with me and that if he wants to, i will let him into my studio to prove to him. I also have phone calls of him telling me he seen me walk out of the building with her, and his boss seen it too etc. My lease states that someone cannot stay in my studio for 21 days out of year, but it doesnt state that I can be harrassed and accused of this. If he really believed she lived with me, he should have attempted to avict me instead of bothering me. I Broke my lease because i was fed up with him. Do you think i have a case?

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Attorney answers 2


Based upon your explanation of the facts, it does not appear you have a viable lawsuit against the landlord for breach of quiet enjoyment (California Civil Code, § 1927).

Substantial interference is required to establish a breach of quiet enjoyment. An interference by the landlord "by which the tenant is deprived of the beneficial enjoyment of the premises amounts to a constructive eviction if the tenant so elects and surrenders possession, and the tenant will not be liable for rentals for the portion of the term following his eviction." (Kulawitz v. Pacific Paper Co. (1944) 25 Cal.2d 664, 670.)

Minor inconveniences and annoyances are not actionable breaches of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment. To be actionable, the landlord's act or omission must substantially interfere with a tenant's right to use and enjoy the premises for the purposes contemplated by the tenancy. (Petroleum Collections Inc. v. Swords (1975) 48 Cal.App.3d 841, 846.)

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.


No case, and in fact, landlord may have a case against you for any unpaid rent when you admittedly broke the lease. If you are unsure and/or if the landlord has commenced an action, you might seek local legal counsel to review the lease, listen to the facts, and review your evidence just in case you do have a case.

NOTE: (1) I may be guessing and/or not even licensed in your state; (2) We have not established an attorney-client relationship; (3) Sometimes you get what you pay for; and (4) If you want to send me a gift, my favorite color is orange.