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KNIGHT, ET AL, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS V. HALLSTHAMMAR, ET AL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, Supreme Court of CA, 1981. 29 Cal.3d 46, 171 Cal.Rptr. 707, 623 P.2d 268

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KNIGHT, ET AL, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS V. HALLSTHAMMAR, ET AL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, Supreme Court of CA, 1981. 29 Cal.3d 46, 171 Cal.Rptr. 707, 623 P.2d 268 Powered By Docstoc
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KNIGHT, ET AL, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS V. HALLSTHAMMAR, ET AL, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, Supreme Court of CA, 1981. 29 Cal.3d 46, 171 Cal.Rptr. 707, 623 P.2d 268. History: Jury unable to reach a verdict on 3 tenants; found in favor of Plaintiffs against 4 tenants; Appeals followed from Defendants claiming faulty instructions given by court Facts: Plaintiffs bought a 30-unit apt building from Norman Baker; WIP, hired by Plaintiffs, sent a letter to tenants stating that the rent would be increased substantially; Breit, rep for tenants, sent a letter to WIP stating they would w/hold all rent until the necessary repairs were made; neither WIP nor Plaintiffs responded Issue(s): Whether a residential tenant may be held to have impliedly waived a landlord’s breach of implied warranty of habitability by (1) continuing to live in premises despite knowledge of the defects or (2) failing to allow a landlord a reasonable time to repair before withholding rent. Holding: Judgment reversed Analysis: In CA, common law implied warranty of habitability in residential leases and a landlord “covenants that premises he leaves for living quarters will be maintained in a habitable state for the duration of the lease”; a tenant can raise a landlord’s breach of implied warranty of habitability as a defense in an unlawful detainer proceeding Whether or not a tenant was aware of the specific defects doesn’t decide the duty of the landlord to maintain premises which are habitable for the same reasons which imply the existence of the warranty of habitability—inequality of bargaining power, shortage of housing, impracticability of imposing upon tenants a duty of inspection Previous court erred when it said tenants couldn’t succeed in their defense unless the landlords had been allowed a “reasonable” time to repair


				
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