California law makes it illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant for exercising a legal right. Oftentimes, tenants are concerned that if they complaint to their landlords about an illegal or unlawful condition, their landlords will evict them, raise their rent, or do something else to penalize the tenant. Some legal rights that are protected under California retaliatory laws in the housing context include:
- Complaining to the landlord about unsafe or illegal living condition
- Complaining to a government agency, such as a building or health inspector, about unsafe or illegal living conditions
- Joining or organizing a tenant union, or
- Exercising a legal right allowed by your state or local law, such as withholding the rent for an uninhabitable unit.
Any harassing act against a tenant in response to the tenant’s exercise of rights under law can be retaliation. The kinds of retaliatory acts covered by California law include terminating a tenancy or filing an eviction lawsuit; increasing the rent decreasing housing services, such as storage, parking, and laundry; forcing a tenant to move out involuntarily; and increasing rent. It is also illegal to shutoff utilities in retaliation, to lock a tenant out, remove doors and windows, or remove a tenant’s possessions. California state law presumes retaliation if the landlord acts in these types of negative ways within 180 days of the date that a tenant has exercised a legal right.
California landlords also cannot disclose or threaten to disclose to any government authority information regarding tenants’ or occupants’ immigration or citizenship status for the purpose of retaliating.
The experienced attorneys at the Harouni Law Group can help you in these situations. With the help of our attorneys we can determine if you have been wrongfully retaliated against by your landlord and can help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.