Under LA Municipal Code 162.09, a tenant who prevails in an unlawful detainer action brought concerning property that is (or within the last year was) subject to the Rent Escrow Account Program is entitled to an award of attorney fees. This provision of the ordinance is in addition to any right to attorney fees under the lease and Civ. Code 1717, so section 1717’s provision stating no party prevails on a voluntary dismissal does not apply. Here, the landlord voluntarily dismissed the unlawful detainer action. The property was subject to the REAP program. The tenant was not required to allege that fact as an affirmative defense in order to recover attorney fees. With the voluntary dismissal, defendant tenant was clearly the prevailing party and so he was entitled to an award of his attorney fees.
Los Angeles Superior Court, Appellate Division (Kumar, Acting P.J.); June 14, 2016; 2016 WL 3902664