may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Sternfels & Co. Inc., Receiver for D R Beaudet & M L Whirley,
Filed November 10, 1998
Affirmed; motion granted
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 1971204561
Pauline Thomas, 2649 Penn Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411 (appellant pro se)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
Appellant Pauline Thomas challenges the trial court's judgment granting respondent Sternfels & Co. Inc., Receiver for D R Beaudet & M L Whirley, partial restitution for nonpayment of rent and late fees, arguing that the trial court's findings of fact were clearly erroneous. We affirm.
On July 1, 1996, Thomas entered into a section 8 lease agreement with David R. Beaudet and M. L. Whirley for a residential housing unit. Under the lease, Thomas was personally obligated to pay $325 per month. Sternfels & Co. was appointed receiver of the property on September 30, 1997. Pursuant to the terms of the receivership, Sternfels & Co. provided Thomas with written notice of the receivership and a copy of the court order authorizing Sternfels & Co. to manage the property. Sternfels & Co. also requested that it be informed of any problems with her unit.
For the months of October, November, and December 1997, Sternfels & Co. received no rent payments from Thomas. On December 3, 1997, Sternfels & Co. filed an unlawful detainer complaint alleging that Thomas owed back rent in the amount of $1050, service and filing fees of $182, and late fees of $105.
At a court trial, Thomas presented evidence that her unit was in a state of disrepair. Representatives of Sternfels & Co. testified that Thomas neither informed them of the problems in her unit nor cooperated with them in their efforts to make repairs. The trial court found that there were "habitability problems with [Thomas'] unit," but that "it would not be appropriate to knock off all of the rent." Accordingly, the trial court ordered Thomas to pay the service fees, late fees, and $650 of the $1,050 sought by Sternfels & Co. for back rent. The trial court also prospectively ordered a $100 rent abatement for the month of January. Thomas appeals.
This court's scope of review in unlawful detainer actions is from a judgment of restitution. Minneapolis Pub. Hous. Auth. v. Greene, 463 N.W.2d 558, 560 (Minn. App. 1990). An appeal from a judgment of restitution entered by a trial court sitting without a jury will not be set aside unless the trial court's findings of fact are clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. Travelers Ins. Co. v. Tufte, 435 N.W.2d 824, 827 (Minn. App. 1989), review denied (Minn. Apr. 19, 1989).
An unlawful detainer action is a summary remedy for obtaining possession of premises wrongfully held by a tenant after nonpayment of rent. Fritz v. Warthen, 298 Minn. 54, 58, 213 N.W.2d 339, 341 (1973). The statutory covenants of habitability are made a part of every residential lease and are mutual with the covenant to pay rent. Id. at 59, 213 N.W.2d at 342. Breach of the statutory covenants of habitability may be asserted as a defense in unlawful detainer actions. Meyer v. Parkin, 350 N.W.2d 435, 438 (Minn. App. 1984), review denied (Minn. Sept. 12, 1984).
Thomas argues that the evidence shows that Sternfels & Co. created "inhabitable [sic] conditions" in her unit, and that she is entitled to "more rent abatement." Indeed, the trial court found that there was substantial water damage in her unit's basement and that the kitchen was in a state of disrepair.
The record indicates that Thomas did not attempt to move out of the unit, however, and furthermore, that no other rooms in her unit were damaged. Also, the record shows that Thomas did not cooperate with Sternfels & Co. in its efforts to address the problems in her unit. As the trial court found, an agent of Sternfels & Co. attempted without success both to call Thomas and to speak with her in person regarding her failure to pay rent. Under these circumstances, we conclude there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court's finding that partial rent abatement was appropriate.
Sternfels & Co. moved this court to strike documents contained in the appendix to Thomas's brief. Thomas presents these documents for the first time on appeal. Pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 110.01, the record on appeal consists of "[t]he papers filed in the trial court, the exhibits, and the transcript of the proceedings, if any." Therefore, Sternfels & Co.'s motion to strike the material is granted. See Safeco Ins. Cos. v. Diaz, 385 N.W.2d 845, 847 (Minn. App. 1986) (granting motion to strike material not part of record on appeal), review denied (Minn. June 30, 1986).
Affirmed; motion granted.