Landlord Tenant Law for the California Bar Exam


  1. Nature of the leasehold

    1. Tenancy for years

    2. Periodic tenancy

    3. Tenancy at will

    4. Tenancy at sufferance

  2. Assignment or sublease:

    1. By tenant: absent an express restriction in the lease, a tenant may freely transfer his leasehold interest.

      1. Assignment – An assignment occurs when the assignor assigns his entire interest under the lease to another. The assignee stands in the shoes of the original tenant in a direct relationship with the landlord. The LL and T2 are in privity of estate, and each is liable to the other on all lease covenants that run with the land. But, LL and T1 remain in privity of contract, thus T1 remains liable for all unpaid rent.

        1. Covenants run w/ the land: If the original parties to the lease intended that the covenants run with the land, and if the covenant “touches and concerns” the land, each will be liable to the other for those covenants. A covenant touches and concerns the land when the agreement burdens one party while benefiting the other, respecting their interests in the property.

      2. Sublease – A sublease occurs when the subleasor moves out of the premises, and allows the subleasee to move into the premises as the subleasor’s tenant. A subleasee is only in privity with the subleasor, and is not personally liable to the landlord for rent or for the performance of any of the covenants in the main lease unless the subleassee expressly assumes the covenants.

        1. Subleassee cannot enforce any covenants made by the LL in the original lease, except a residential subleassee may be able to enforce the implied warranty of habitability against the LL.

    2. By LL: A LL may assignee the rents and reversion interest he owns.

      1. The tenant’s consent is NOT required.

      2. Once the tenants are given reasonable notice of assignment, they must recognize and pay rent to the new owner as their LL.

      3. All tenant covenants that touch and concern the land will run with the land.

      4. Plus, the original LL also remains liable on all the covenants he made in the lease.

  3. Tenant’s Duties

    1. Duty to repair

      1. T must maintain the premises and make ordinary repairs

      2. T must not commit waste (voluntary, permissive, or ameliorative)

      3. Fixtures pass with ownership of the land.

      4. Defenses:

        1. Lease shifted burden of repair to the LL

        2. Tenant must promptly report deficiencies to the LL

    2. Duty to pay rent

      1. If breached and T leaves, LL may SIR

        1. Surrender – treat the abandonment as an offer of surrender

        2. Ignore – hold T responsible for unpaid rent

        3. Re-let

      2. If breached and T remains, LL may

        1. Evict through the courts

        2. Continue the relationship and sue for damages

        3. No self-help

    3. Duty to not use premises for illegal purpose

  4. Landlord’s Duties

    1. Duty to deliver possession

    2. Implied warranty of quiet enjoyment

      1. Breached by wrongful eviction

      2. Breached by constructive eviction (SING)

        1. Substantial interference

        2. T provides LL notice of the problem, but LL fails to respond

        3. T gets out

    3. Implied warranty of habitability (residential leases only)

      1. Standard: fit for basic human habitation

      2. When breached, T may: move, repair, reduce, or remain.

    4. Tort Liability

      1. Generally, LL is under no duty to make the premises safe.

      2. Exceptions: CLAPS

        1. LL must maintain common areas

        2. LL must warn T of latent defects

        3. LL must use reasonable care to complete repairs he voluntarily assumes

        4. LL who leases public space, and who should know, because of the nature of the defect and the length of the lease, that T will not repair, is liable for defects

        5. LL who leases furnished dwellings for short-terms is liable for defects.

Interests in Land – 5 Steps

  1. Classify the interest and was it validly created?

  2. State the characteristics of the interest

  3. State any limitations to the interest

  4. Conveyancing

  5. Remedies

    1. Ownership Interest

      1. Present Possessory Interest

        1. Fee Simple absolute

        2. Fee simple determinable

        3. Fee simple subject to condition subsequent

        4. Fee simple subject to executory limitation

        5. Life Estate

      2. Future Interests

        1. In grantor

          1. Possibility of reverter

          2. Right of entry

          3. Reversion

        2. In grantee or third person

          1. Executory interest – springs or shifts

          2. Remainders – contingent or vested

        3. Validity

          1. Destructibility

          2. Rule in Shelley’s Case

          3. Doctrine of Worthier Title

          4. Restraints on alienation

          5. Restraints on marriage

          6. Rule against perpetuities

        4. Class gifts

      3. Landlord Tennant

      4. Adverse Possession

    2. Non-Possessory Interest

      1. Easement

        1. Express v. Implied

        2. Affirmative v. Negative

        3. Creation

        4. Enforcement

        5. Termination

      2. License

      3. Profit

        1. Exclusive v. non-exclusive

        2. Profits v. ownership

      4. Covenant running with the land

        1. Affirmative

        2. Negative

      5. Equitable servitude

  1. Remedies

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