Landlord Tenant Matters

Utrecht & Lenvin’s collective landlord-tenant expertise rivals the best in the industry. Our attorneys appreciate the financial, legal and political pressures influencing the landlord-tenant relationship and strive to find the best solution for the client in the most cost-effective manner. We advise clients regarding acquisition and disposition of tenant-occupied properties, tenant buy-outs, tenant screening, leasing, property management, insurance, property development, tenant improvements, ADA compliance and environmental concerns. When obstacles to early resolution of landlord-tenant disputes exist, our trial attorneys are well-equipped to guide our clients through unlawful detainer actions (evictions), and the labyrinth of codes, statutes and ordinances that regulate the landlord-tenant relationship. Our attorneys have appeared before local rent control boards, as well as litigated landlord-tenant disputes in both state and federal appellate courts, including the California and US Supreme Courts. Our depth of experience allows us to quickly and effectively resolve landlord-tenant disputes or litigate the disputes through the end of all possible proceedings.

Commercial Tenancies

We represent landlords and tenants in virtually all aspects of commercial lease disputes including prosecuting and defending evictions. Our cases have included disputes regarding common area maintenance (CAMs), tenant improvements (TIs), trade fixtures, nonpayment of rent, accounting, breach of lease covenants, violation of zoning and use restrictions, failure to secure insurance coverage, failure to maintain letters of credit, waste, and nuisance. Additionally, we have prosecuted and defended indemnity claims stemming from hazardous materials and conditions and ADA and CEQA noncompliance. 

Residential Tenancies

The firm is particularly proficient handling residential landlord-tenant disputes in rent-controlled jurisdictions. Our attorneys have appeared before the San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley rent boards. We negotiate tenant buy-outs and frequently represent residential landlords and property owners in the prosecution of unlawful detainer actions in compliance with the stringent local rent control ordinances. Our attorneys appear before local rent control boards to stem the tide of revolving door tenancies, prosecute capital improvement and utility pass through petitions, increase rent via special circumstances petitions, Costa Hawkins rent increases and in San Francisco, through 1.21 petitions. Additionally, we defend petitions alleging wrongful eviction and reduction in services. We have evicted tenants for nonpayment of rent, breach of covenant, failure to provide 24 hour access, hoarding, criminal activity including maintaining a methamphetamine lab, harvesting marijuana, discharging fire arms, assault and battery, domestic violence, housing vicious dogs, maintaining livestock in violation of health and safety codes, capital improvement evictions, owner move-ins, relative owner move-ins and Ellis Act evictions. Additionally, we prosecute Business and Professions Code violations against profiteering residential tenants who collect more in rent from subtenants than lawfully allowed and who fraudulently claim a rent controlled tenancy when they no longer reside at the property. We vigorously defend landlords and property owners against claims of wrongful eviction, breach of warranty of habitability, failure to accommodate and other fair housing violations. Our litigators have experience negotiating with local housing authorities over Section 8 project based contracts and individual voucher programs as well as the Shelter Plus Care Program. We have defended owners of residential hotels in class action and multiple plaintiff suits involving habitability claims and counseled clients on lead based paint, asbestos and bedbug abatement. We have also defended owners of residential properties in a class action alleging wrongful deductions from security deposits. In addition to conventional unlawful detainer actions, our attorneys have recovered employee housing through termination of license, and prosecuted forcible detainer and ejectment actions to recover possession from non-tenant occupants.