State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation

In most states, landlords cannot retaliate against a tenant for exercising a legal right. Here's a synopsis of those laws.

Updated by , Attorney · UC Berkeley School of Law

The laws in most states give tenants legal rights, such as the right to complain to a government agency about unsafe living conditions. Most states prohibit landlords from retaliating against tenants who exercise their legal rights; an example of retaliation would be a landlord terminating the tenancy of someone who complained to a government agency about a major repair problem in the rental. This chart lists tenant rights which are protected from landlord retaliation, and situations in which landlord retaliation is presumed. Depending on the circumstances, a tenant might have several legal options for responding to a landlord's retaliatory actions.

For additional details, see your state statute. (The citation is provided here, and you can visit the Library of Congress's legal research site for links to state statutes.)

State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation

Alabama

Statute: Ala. Code § 35-9A-501

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Back to Top

Alaska

Statute: Alaska Stat. § 34.03.310

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Arizona

Statute: Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-1381

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Arkansas

Statute: Ark. Code § 20-27-608

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency. The statute only prohibits retaliation by landlord who has received notice of lead hazards.

Back to Top

California

Statute: Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1940.35, 1942.5

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 180 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Colorado

Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 38-12-509, 38-12-1203, 38-12-1205, 38-12-1307

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization; rent can't be increased in an effort to avoid for cause eviction rules.

Back to Top

Connecticut

Statute: Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 47a-20, 47a-33

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Delaware

Statute: Del. Code tit. 25, § 5516

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 90 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

District of Columbia

Statute: D.C. Code §§ 42-3505.02, 42-3505.06

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Florida

Statute: Fla. Stat. § 83.64

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Georgia

Statute: Ga. Code § 44-7-24

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 3 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Hawaii

Statute: Haw. Rev. Stat. § 521-74

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Idaho

Statute: No statute, but Idaho courts have recognized retaliation as a defense to evictions. Wright v. Brady, 889 P.2d 105 (Idaho. App. 1995)

Back to Top

Illinois

Statute: 765 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 720/1

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency.

Back to Top

Indiana

Statute: Ind. Code §§ 32-31-8.5-0.5

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Iowa

Statute: Iowa Code § 562A.36

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 1 year of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Kansas

Statute: Kan. Stat. § 58-2572

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Back to Top

Kentucky

Statute: Ky. Rev. Stat. § 383.705

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 1 year of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Louisiana

No statute

Back to Top

Maine

Statute: Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 14, §§ 6001, 6021-A

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right. Also when the tenant has complained to a fair housing agency; has informed the landlord that the tenant or tenant's child is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or has communicated to the landlord about or has filed a complaint about the landlord's or landlord's agent's act of sexual harassment.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Maryland

Statute: Md. Code Real Prop., 8-208.1, 8-208.2

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Massachusetts

Statute: Mass. Laws ch. 239, § 2A; ch. 186, § 18

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Michigan

Statute: Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5720

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 90 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Minnesota

Statute: Minn. Stat. §§ 504B.285, 504B.441

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 90 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Mississippi

Statute: Miss. Code §§ 89-8-9, 89-8-17

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Missouri

No statute

Back to Top

Montana

Statute: Mont. Code § 70-24-431

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Nebraska

Statute: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1439

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Back to Top

Nevada

Statute: Nev. Rev. Stat. § 118A.510

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

New Hampshire

Statute: N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 540:13-a, 540:13-b

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

New Jersey

Statute: N.J. Stat. §§ 2A:42-10.10, 2A:42-10.12

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

New Mexico

Statute: N.M. Stat. § 47-8-39

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

New York

Statute: N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 223-b

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 1 year of tenant's act.

Back to Top

North Carolina

Statute: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-37.1

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 12 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

North Dakota

No statute

Back to Top

Ohio

Statute: Ohio Rev. Code § 5321.02

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Back to Top

Oklahoma

No statute

Back to Top

Oregon

Statute: Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.385

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Pennsylvania

Statute: 68 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 250.205, 250.504-A, and 399.11

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant is involved in tenants' organization or tenant exercises a legal right.

For exercise of legal rights connected with utility service, retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Rhode Island

Statute: R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 34-18-46, 34-20-10, and 34-20-11

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

South Carolina

Statute: S.C. Code § 27-40-910

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency.

Back to Top

South Dakota

Statute: S.D. Codified Laws §§ 43-32-27, 43-22-28

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 180 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Tennessee

Statute: Tenn. Code §§ 66-28-514, 68-111-105

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Texas

Statute: Tex. Prop. Code § 92.331

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 6 months of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Utah

Case law: Building Monitoring Sys. v. Paxton, 905 P.2d 1215 (Utah 1995)

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency.

Back to Top

Vermont

Statute: Vt. Stat. tit. 9, § 4465

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant is involved in tenants' organization.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 90 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

Virginia

Statute: Va. Code §§ 55.1-1258, 55.1-1259

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Washington

Statute: Wash. Rev. Code §§ 59.18.240, 59.18.250

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant exercises a legal right.

Retaliation is presumed if landlord performs a negative action within 90 days of tenant's act.

Back to Top

West Virginia

Cases: Imperial Colliery Co. v. Fout, 373 S.E.2d 489 (1988); Murphy v. Smallridge, 468 S.E.2d 167 (W. Va. 1996)

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Wisconsin

Statute: Wis. Stat. § 704.45; Wis. Adm. Code § ATCP 134.09 (5)

Retaliation is prohibited when: Tenant complains to landlord or government agency, tenant is involved in tenants' organization, or tenant exercises a legal right.

Back to Top

Wyoming

No statute

Back to Top

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Get Professional Help

Talk to a Landlord-Tenant attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you