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Green v. Superior Court

Supreme Court of California
517 P.2d 1168 (1974)


Jack Sumski leased (plaintiff) leased property to Roger Green (defendant). After Green failed to vacate the property, Sumski brought an unlawful detainer action, seeking possession of the property and overdue rent. Green conceded that he had not made the rent payments but contended that his actions were justified based on Sumski’s failure to maintain the property in a habitable condition. Specifically, Green provided evidence that the premises had approximately 80 housing code violations and was subject to a condemnation hearing. Green proffered additional testimony to show the extent of the disrepair and inhabitability. Sumski argued that potential inhabitability does not constitute a defense to claims of unlawful detainer. The court found in Sumski’s favor, awarding Sumski possession and back rent. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Green’s actions were not a permissible response to the property defects. Green appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Tobriner, J.)

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