Landlord-Tenant: Tenants who intend to use their unit for short term rentals, like Airbnb, must pay close attention to their rental agreement and local laws or risk being evicted.

Case Summary:

A case out of Los Angeles, Chen v. Kraft (2016) 243 Cal.App.4thSupp.13, allowed a landlord to evict a tenant who was using their unit for short term rentals despite the tenant having express authority to do so from the predecessor landlord.  In Los Angeles, the Rent Stabilization Ordinance prohibits short term rentals in homes that are zoned R-1 (generally suburban type single family homes).  Therefore, the tenant’s use of the unit was in violation of the local Rent Stabilization Ordinance.  The tenant set forth several defenses, including the defense that the use was permitted by the predecessor landlord.  The Court held however, that the use by the tenant was illegal in that it violated the local ordinance, and that the local ordinance trumped the authority from the previous landlord.  The tenant, who had not ceased advertising the unit on Airbnb despite receiving notices to cure or quit from the landlord, was evicted for such failure to cure.

Reminder to Landords and Tenants:

Although this case comes out of the application of a Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, it should serve as a reminder to both landlords and tenants here in the bay area and specifically San Francisco that several sources of authority control the landlord-tenant relationship, and short term rentals are becoming highly regulating in an admittedly ever changing legal environment.  The lease is often the first place to look in determining what is permitted in a rental property, but state and local laws cannot be ignored, especially when it comes to short term rentals.  Because the tenant was served with a notice to cure or quit, had the tenant stopped advertising on Airbnb after being served with notice, the tenant would have likely been able to remain.