CACI No. 4340. Damages for Reasonable Rental Value

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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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.]
New August 2007
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.
“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)

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