Editor’s Note: No, this is not current news, but it is important news and applies today. You can request the text of the Andrews vs Mobile Aire Estates lawsuit from MH Life. We often are asked about the park’s involvement in tenant disputes. This article clearly indicates the courts feel a park is indeed responsible to get involved if the dispute is serious enough.
By Robert J. Bruss, Inman News Features
March 19, 2005
Joel Andrews and William Molyneux leased adjacent spaces at the Mobile Aire Estates mobile home park. Over the years these neighbors made approximately 50 calls to the local police over various disputes.
In January 2001 Andrews complained to the mobile home park manager about Molyneux’s behavior such as splashing mud on his newly washed car aiming a video camera into his living room subjecting him to racial epithets and other verbal abuse.
Andrews also alleged Molyneux drove down the middle of the park street forcing Andrews to swerve and nearly run his car into a mobile home. However on Feb. 16 2001 Andrews and Molyneux engaged in a dispute that escalated into battery upon Andrews.
Andrews sued Molyneux and the mobile home park landlord. The court ruled Molyneux was liable to Andrews for $12502 in assault damages. But the landlord argued he should not be liable for damages to Andrews because the park manager advised the neighbors to call the police when problems developed.
If you were the judge would you rule the landlord can be held liable for failing to act after repeated complaints involving these neighbor tenants? The judge said yes!
When a tenant enters into a rental agreement the judge began there is an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment included. This means the landlord has a duty to prevent problems between neighbors he continued.
“Minor inconveniences and annoyances are not actionable breaches of the implied covenant of quiet enjoyment. To be actionable the landlord’s act or omission must substantially interfere with a tenant’s right to use and enjoy the premises for the purposes contemplated by the tenancy” the judge explained.
“The perpetrator of the interference with the tenant’s quiet enjoyment need not be the landlord personally” he emphasized.
A landlord can obtain an injunction against a tenant who is seriously disturbing another tenant or the landlord can evict a resident “that constitutes a substantial annoyance to other homeowners or residents” the judge ruled.
Although the landlord is not liable for the tenant’s assault the landlord cannot disregard conduct of a tenant that repeatedly disturbs the quiet enjoyment of a fellow tenant the judge concluded.
Based on the 2005 California Court of Appeal decision in Andrews v. Mobile Aire Estates 22 Cal.Rptr.3d 832