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Landlord Retaliation

August 18, 2017

 

California Civil Code § 1942.5 prevents a landlord from retaliatory eviction. In this way, it is unlawful for a landlord to increase rent, decrease services (such as laundry room usage, for example), or any other types of actions deemed retaliatory that would in effect be punishing the tenant. Moreover, a landlord may not try and evict a tenant because the tenant has sought to exercise a legal right, or has complained about a problem in the rental unit as explained by the California Department of Consumer Affairs

 

To better illustrate this point, the law infers a landlord's actions as "retaliatory" where the landlord attempts to evict a tenant within six (6) months of the tenant exercising legal rights (such as using the "repair and deduct" remedy), or complaining about conditions with the rental unit.

 

In such instances, the tenant must prove:

  • That such right was indeed exercised within 6 months,

  • That the tenant's rent is current (not past due), and

  • That the tenant has not used this defense more than once in the last twelve (12) months.

 

Where a tenant satisfies these requirements, the burden falls upon the landlord to prove that his/her actions were not based upon a retaliatory motive and that there was a valid, good-faith reason for such eviction. 

 

Damages

The landlord may not be able to alter the rental price for a minimum of 180 days after the action has been filed. And, Statute § 1942.5(f) further provides that: 

 

Any lessor or agent of a lessor who violates this section shall be liable to the lessee in a civil action for all of the following: (1) The actual damages sustained by the lessee. (2) Punitive damages in an amount of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each retaliatory act where the lessor or agent has been guilty of fraud, oppression, or malice with respect to such act. 

 

*Note some jurisdictions such as San Francisco and Berkeley, are more tenant-based than others.  

 

If you feel that a landlord has wrongfully evicted you, it is beneficial to retain experienced and professional attorneys to assist you with this matter. Please call Aziz Legal by phone at (408) 203-4627 or email us at abid@azizlegal.com.

 

This article is merely informational and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Use of any information from this article is for general information only and does not represent personal legal or tax advice, either express or implied. Readers are encouraged to consult Aziz Legal, or another attorney, for any specific legal matters. 

 

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