An unlawful detainer judgment is reversed because the 3-day notice to quit improperly included in the sum demanded to cure the rent default included a $50 late fee which the landlord failed to prove at trial was not an illegal penalty. The landlord seeking the liquidated damages/penalty bore the burden of proving enforceability. He failed to present evidence showing the nature of losses likely to be suffered from a late payment sufficient to justify the $50 fee. Also, the landlord presented no evidence to show he had made a reasonable effort to estimate the amount of actual damages he would suffer from a late payment. Instead, the landlord admitted he had never attempted to calculate actual loss from a late payment and thus could not show he had tried to approximate that amount.
California Superior Court Appellate Division, Humboldt County (Reinholtsen, P.J.); May 11, 2018 (published August 8, 2018); 26 Cal. App. 5th Supp. 20