California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

4342. Reduced Rent for Breach of Habitability

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4342.Reduced Rent for Breach of Habitability
If you find that there has been a substantial breach of habitability, then
you must find the reasonable reduced rental value of the property based
on the uninhabitable conditions. To find this value, take the amount of
monthly rent required by the [lease/rental agreement/sublease] and
reduce it by the [dollar amount/ [or] percent] that you consider to
reflect the uninhabitable conditions. Apply this reduction for the period
of time, up to present, that the conditions were present. [You may make
different reductions for different months if the conditions did not affect
habitability uniformly over that period of time.]
New December 2014
Directions for Use
Give this instruction if the court decides that the jury should determine the reduced
rental value of the premises based on a breach of the warranty of habitability. The
court may instruct the jury to find a dollar reduction or a percent reduction, or may
leave it up to the jury as to which approach to use. In this latter case, include both
bracketed options.
Give the optional last sentence if the condition would not cause uniform hardship
throughout the period. For example, the hardship caused by a broken furnace or air
conditioner would vary according to the weather.
Code of Civil Procedure section 1174.2(a) provides that the court is to determine
the reasonable rental value of the premises in its untenantable state up to the date
of trial. But whether this determination is to be made by the court or the jury is
unsettled. Section 1174.2(d) provides that nothing in this section is intended to
deny the tenant the right to a trial by jury. Subsection (d) could be interpreted to
mean that in a jury trial, wherever the statute says “the court,” it should be read as
“the jury.” But the statute also provides that the court may order the landlord to
make repairs and correct the conditions of uninhabitability, which would not be a
jury function.
Sources and Authority
• Breach of Warranty of Habitability. Code of Civil Procedure section 1174.2.
“The second method suggested by Green [Green v. Superior Court (1974) 10
Cal.3d 616] is to first recognize the agreed contract rent as something the two
parties have agreed to as proper for the premises as impliedly warranted. Then
the court should take testimony and find on the percentage reduction of
habitability (or usability) by the tenant by reason of the subsequently
ascertained defects. Then reduce the agreed rent by this percentage, multiply the
difference by the number of months of occupancy and voila!—the tenant’s
damages.” (Cazares v. Ortiz (1980) 109 Cal.App.3d Supp. 23, 29 [168 Cal.Rptr.
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108].)
Secondary Sources
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 3-D, Warranty Of
Habitability—Measure Of Damages—Adjusting Rental Value, ¶ 3:82 et seq. (The
Rutter Group)
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 3-E, Warranty Of
Habitability—Tenant Remedies, ¶ 3:138 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
7 California Real Estate Law and Practice, Ch. 210, Unlawful Detainer, § 210.95A
(Matthew Bender)
29 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 333, Landlord and Tenant:
Eviction Actions, § 333.28 (Matthew Bender)
Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Landlord-Tenant Litigation, Ch. 5,
Unlawful Detainer, 5.33, 5.36
4343–4399. Reserved for Future Use
UNLAWFUL DETAINER CACI No. 4342
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