Most states protect tenants by making it illegal for landlords to retaliate against a tenant who has exercised a legal right. Protected legal rights include complaints to the landlord or government authorities about health or safety problems; complaints to government agencies or lawsuits alleging illegal housing discrimination; and political activity. These rights would have little value if a landlord could respond with a termination notice and eviction, a rent hike, or any other punitive measure.
For details on these states' laws, and how tenants can recoup fees, costs, and stop rent hikes, see Every Tenant's Legal Guide, by Janet Portman and Marcia Stewart. To learn about these laws from the landlord's perspective, see Every Landlord's Legal Guide, by Marcia Stewart, Ralph Warner, and Janet Portman.