California Landlord May Evict a Tenant for Operating an Airbnb Business in Violation of Zoning Laws
In Chen v. Kraft (decided January 13, 2016), a landlord filed an unlawful detainer (eviction) action against a tenant who had been subletting a spare room in the rented premises on Airbnb. The premises were subject to the City of Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which requires good cause for eviction. The landlord filed the eviction action on the ground that the tenant was using the premises for an illegal purpose – namely, operation of a bed and breakfast in a residence zoned R-1.. The tenant claimed, among other things, that the prior owner of the property approved use of the premises for an Airbnb business. The trial court granted judgment for the landlord. The tenant appealed. The Los Angeles Superior Court Appellate Department affirmed the judgment in favor of the landlord. It determined that the tenant was using the premises for an illegal purpose. The court further held that a 2009 Addendum wherein the landlord’s predecessor in interest expressly agreed, in writing, to allow the tenant to engage in Airbnb activities constituted an illegal contract in violation of existing regulations, and was therefore void and unenforceable. (Chen v. Kraft (2016) 243 Cal.App.4th Supp. 13)
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