CACI 4340 Damages for Reasonable Rental Value

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

4340 Damages for Reasonable Rental Value

[Name of plaintiff] also claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun/it] was harmed by [name of defendant]’s wrongful occupancy of the property. If you decide that [name of defendant] wrongfully occupied the property, you must also decide how much money will reasonably compensate [name of plaintiff] for the harm. This compensation is called “damages.”

The amount of damages is the reasonable rental value of the premises during the time [name of defendant] occupied the property after the []-day notice period expired. The amount agreed between the parties as rent is evidence of the reasonable rental value of the property, but you may award a greater or lesser amount based on all the evidence presented during the trial.

[In determining the reasonable rental value of the premises, do not consider any limitations on the amount of rent that can be charged because of a local rent control ordinance.]

Directions for Use

In the second paragraph, insert the applicable number of days’ notice required, whether 3, 30, 60, or some other number provided for in the lease. (Civ. Code, §§ 1946, 1946.1; Code Civ. Proc., § 1161.)

Include the optional last paragraph if the property is subject to rent control.

Sources and Authority

Damages. Code of Civil Procedure section 1174(b).

“It is well established that losses sustained after termination of a tenancy may be recovered, and that ‘damages awarded … in an unlawful detainer action for withholding possession of the property are not “rent” but are in fact damages.’ Thus, a landlord is entitled to recover as damages the reasonable value of the use of the premises during the time of the unlawful detainer either on a tort theory or a theory of implied-in-law contract. It is also settled that rent control regulations have no application to an award of damages for unlawfully withholding property.” (Adler v. Elphick (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 642, 649–650 [229 Cal.Rptr. 254], internal citations omitted.)

“In unlawful detainer, recovery of possession is the main object and recovery of rent a mere incident.” (Harris v. Bissell (1921) 54 Cal.App. 307, 313 [202 P. 453].)

“It is well established that unlawful detainer actions are wholly created and strictly controlled by statute in California. The ‘mode and measure of plaintiff’s recovery’ are limited by these statutes. The statutes prevail over inconsistent general principles of law and procedure because of the special function of unlawful detainer actions to restore immediate possession of real property.” (Balassy v. Superior Court (1986) 181 Cal.App.3d 1148, 1151 [226 Cal.Rptr. 817], internal citations omitted.)

“It is well settled that damages allowed in unlawful detainer proceedings are only those which result from the unlawful detention and accrue during that time. Although a lessee guilty of unlawful detention may have also breached the terms of the lease contract, damages resulting therefrom are not necessarily damages resulting from the unlawful detention. As such, he is precluded from litigating a cause of action for these breaches in unlawful detainer proceedings.” (Vasey v. California Dance Co. (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 742, 748 [139 Cal.Rptr. 72], original italics, internal citations omitted.)

“[W]hen a 30-day notice is used to terminate a month-to-month tenancy, and any default in the payment of rents to that time are not claimed in a 3-day notice to pay rent or quit, the unlawful detainer proceeding thereon is not founded on a default in the payment of rent within the meaning of section 1174, subdivision (b); damages for the detention of the premises commencing with the end of the tenancy may be recovered, but rents accrued and unpaid prior to the end of the tenancy may not be recovered in that unlawful detainer proceeding.” (Castle Park No. 5 v. Katherine (1979) 91 Cal.App.3d Supp. 6, 12 [154 Cal.Rptr. 498].)

“ ‘If a tenant unlawfully detains possession after the termination of a lease, the landlord is entitled to recover as damages the reasonable value of the use of the premises during the time of such unlawful detainer. He is not entitled to recover rent for the premises because the leasehold interest has ended.’ [¶] The amount agreed between the parties as rent is evidence of the rental value of the property. But, ‘[since] the action is not upon contract, but for recovery of possession and, incidentally, for the damages occasioned by the unlawful detainer, such rental value may be greater or less than the rent provided for in the lease.’ ” (Lehr v. Crosby (1981) 123 Cal.App.3d Supp. 1, 9 [177 Cal.Rptr. 96], internal citations and footnote omitted.)

Secondary Sources

12 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Real Property, § 771
2 California Landlord-Tenant Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) §§ 12.27–12.30, 13.19
2 California Eviction Defense Manual (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) §§ 26.5–26.12
7 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 210, Unlawful Detainer, § 210.94 (Matthew Bender)
Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Landlord-Tenant Litigation, Ch. 5, Unlawful Detainer, 5.27
29 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 333, Landlord and Tenant: Eviction Actions, § 333.13 (Matthew Bender)
23 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 236, Unlawful Detainer, § 236.22 (Matthew Bender)
Miller & Starr, California Real Estate 4th § 19:208 (Thomson Reuters)