Unlawful Detainer: Relief from Forfeiture Available After Default Judgment

  The Appellate Division, County of Los Angeles, holds that the trial court must exercise its discretion and consider the merits of a motion for relief from forfeiture made pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1179, where plaintiff has obtained a default judgment in an unlawful detainer action.

  Section 1179 states in relevant part, “The court may relieve a tenant against a forfeiture of a lease, or rental agreement, . . . whether or not the tenancy has terminated, and restore him or her to his or her former estate or tenancy, in case of hardship, as provided in Section 1174. The court has the discretion to relieve any person against forfeiture on its own motion.”

  As long as the statutory conditions are imposed, i.e., the full payment of rent due or full performance of conditions or covenants so far as practicable, the court has broad equitable discretion to relieve a tenant from forfeiture and restore him to his former tenancy in case of hardship, including those cases where judgment has been entered by default. [See, SRO Housing v. Dyce.]

   Mr. Daymude consults with clients and accepts cases involving disputes between landlords and tenants in residential and commercial real estate settings, including unlawful detainer actions and those where relief from forfeiture is sought. For other types of cases accepted, please scroll the Home and My Practice pages. If you are seeking a legal consultation or representation, call Michael Daymude at 818-971-9409.

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