The landlord must prove she owns the property, the landlord rented the apartment to the tenant, under the lease the tenant was supposed to pay a certain amount of money in rent, the landlord gave the tenant a three-day notice to pay the rent, at least the amount stated in the three-day notice was due when the notice was served, the tenant did not pay the rent stated within the three days, and the tenant has not left the property. The landlord or property manager usually testifies as to the rent amount owed by the tenant.
A tenant can defend against any rent being owed on the basis of several different defenses. One defense is the landlord’s breach of the warranty of habitability. Depending on the evidence, the jury can consider any housing code violations, that the tenant testifies about. The jury can also consider any notices of violations that have been issued by the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection. If a special verdict form is given to the jury by the court, then the jury can evaluate and decide how much (if any) rent the tenant should pay in order to retain possession of their home.