CACI No. 4342. Reduced Rent for Breach of Habitability

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

Download PDF
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
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. 108].)
Secondary Sources
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 3-D, Tenant
Remedies, 3:82 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
Friedman et al., California Practice Guide: Landlord-Tenant, Ch. 3-E, 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

© Judicial Council of California.