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Tentative Ruling
Judge Donna Geck
Department 4 SB-Anacapa
1100 Anacapa Street P.O. Box 21107 Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107

CIVIL LAW & MOTION

Jerry Rocco vs Eduardo Rivera

Case No: 18CV00595
Hearing Date: Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:30

Nature of Proceedings: Demurrer

TENTATIVE RULING:     Defendant’s demurrer to the complaint for unlawful detainer is overruled. Defendant shall file and serve his answer to the complaint on or before March 14, 2018.

 

BACKGROUND:

This is an action for unlawful detainer involving commercial property. According to the allegations, on October 22, 2009, plaintiff Jerry Rocco and defendant Eduardo Rivera entered into a one-year written lease for commercial premises located at 5733 Hollister Avenue, Suite I, Goleta, California 93117. The rent was $700.00 per month, payable on the first of the month. The original lease term ended on October 22, 2010, but the tenancy has continued on a month-to-month basis since then. On November 1, 2017, the rent was increased to $789.00 per month. Defendant has defaulted in the payment of rent and on January 17, 2018, he was served with a ten-day notice to pay rent or quit pursuant to the terms of lease agreement. Defendant failed to comply with the requirements of the notice and on February 5, 2018, plaintiff filed his complaint for unlawful detainer. At the time the ten-day notice to pay rent or quit was served, the amount of rent due was $1,578.00.

Defendant now demurs to the complaint on the grounds that the complaint fails to state a cause of action for unlawful detainer and is uncertain.         

ANALYSIS:

The legal authority for a demurrer is found in Code of Civil Procedure Section 430.10, which provides, in relevant part:

“The party against whom a complaint or cross-complaint has been filed may object, by demurrer or answer as provided in Section 430.30, to the pleading on any one of the following grounds:

“(e) The pleading does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.

“(f) The pleading is uncertain. As used in this subdivision, ‘uncertain’ includes ambiguous and unintelligible.”

A demurrer can be used only to challenge defects that appear on the face of the complaint or from matters outside the complaint that are judicially noticeable. Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318; Donabedian v. Mercury Insurance Company (2004) 116 Cal.App.4th 968, 994. In reviewing the sufficiency of a cause of action against a demurrer, the court assumes the truth of all facts properly pleaded. Stop Youth Addiction, Inc. v. Lucky Stores, Inc. (1998) 17 Cal.4th 553, 558. The court also assumes the truth of reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the properly pleaded facts. Reynolds v. Bement (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1075, 1083.

Defendant contends that plaintiff’s complaint is insufficient to state a cause of action for unlawful detainer because “the complaint is devoid of specific allegations that there was a written lease agreement” and because the “complaint contains no allegations that Plaintiff JERRY ROCCO is a landlord.” (Dem., p. 4:13-14, 17-18.) Neither contention is correct. The complaint specifically alleges that on October 22, 2009, plaintiff and defendant entered into a one-year written lease agreement for the commercial premises located at 5733 Hollister Avenue, Suite I, Goleta, California 93117. (Comp., ¶¶ 6a, 6b.) The rent was $700.00 per month. (Comp., ¶6a(2).) When the original lease term expired, the tenancy was continued on a month-to-month basis and on November 1, 2017, the rent was increased to $789.00 per month. (Comp., ¶6d.) A copy of the written lease agreement is attached to the complaint. (Comp., ¶6e, Ex. 1.) The complaint also alleges that plaintiff is the lessor of the premises. (Comp., ¶4.)

Defendant next argues that the complaint is uncertain, but does not reference what is “ambiguous and unintelligible” about the pleading. Code Civ. Proc. §430.10, sub. (f). Defendant’s uncertainty argument is therefore without merit.

Based on the foregoing, defendant’s demurrer will be overruled. Defendant shall file and serve his answer to the complaint on or before March 14, 2018.

 
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