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.

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 may 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

State

Statute

Tenants Complaint to Landlord or Government Agency

Tenants Involvement in TenantsOrganization

Tenants Exercise of Legal Right

Retaliation Is Presumed If Negative Reaction by Landlord Within Specified Time of Tenant’s Act

Alabama

Ala. Code § 35-9A-501

X

X

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 34.03.310

X

X

X

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 33-1381

X

X

6 months

Arkansas 1

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-27-608

X

California 2

Cal. Civ. Code § 1942.5

X

X

X

180 days

Colorado 3

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-509

X

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 47a-20, 47a-33

X

X

X

6 months

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, § 5516

X

X

X

90 days

D.C.

D.C. Code § 42-3505.02

X

X

X

6 months

Florida 4

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.64

X

X

X

Georgia

No statute

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 521-74

X

X

Idaho

No statute

Illinois

765 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 720/1

X

Indiana

No statute

Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. § 562A.36

X

X

1 year

Kansas

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 58-2572

X

X

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 383.705

X

X

1 year

Louisiana

No statute

Maine 5

4 Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, §§ 6001(3)(4), 6021-A

X

X

X

6 months

Maryland

Md. Code Ann. [Real Prop.] § 8-208.1

X

X

X

Massachusetts 2

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

X

X

X

6 months

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5720

X

X

X

90 days

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.285, 504B.441

X

X

90 days

Mississippi

Miss. Code Ann. § 89-8-17

X

Missouri

No statute

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 70-24-431

X

X

6 months

Nebraska

Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-1439

X

X

Nevada 6

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 118A.510

X

X

X

New Hampshire

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

X

X

X

6 months

New Jersey 7

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

X

X

X

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 47-8-39

X

X

X

6 months

New York

N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 223-b

X

X

X

6 months

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 42-37.1

X

X

X

12 months

North Dakota

No statute

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5321.02

X

X

Oklahoma

No statute

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 90.385

X

X

Pennsylvania

68 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 250.205, 399.11

X

X

6 months (for exercise of legal rights connected with utility service)

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. §§ 34-20-10, 34-20-11

X

X

South Carolina

S.C. Code Ann. § 27-40-910

X

South Dakota

S.D. Code Laws Ann. §§ 43-32-27, 43-32-28

X

X

180 days

Tennessee

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

X

X

Texas

Tex. Prop. Code § 92.331

X

X

X

6 months

Utah

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

X

Vermont 8

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, § 4465

X

X

X

90 days

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. §§ 55-225.18, 55-248.39

X

X

X

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code §§ 59.18.240, 59.18.250

X

X

90 days

West Virginia

Imperial Colliery Co. v. Fout, 373 S.E.2d

489 (1988)

X

X

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 704.45

X

X

Wyoming

No statute

1 Only prohibits retaliation by landlord who has received notice of lead hazards. (Arkansas)

2 Applies when a retaliatory eviction follows a court case or administrative hearing concerning the tenant’s underlying complaint, membership in a tenant organization, or exercise of a legal right. In this situation, a tenant may claim the benefit of the antiretaliation presumption only if the eviction falls within six months of the final determination of the court case or administrative hearing. (California and Massachusetts)

Landlord cannot terminate based on tenants’ (or their associates’) immigration or citizenship status. (California)

3 Tenant is protected against retaliation only for complaints of violations of the warranty of habitability. Tenant must prove actual violation in order to prevail. Any termination, rent increase, or service decrease that follows a complaint is presumed to be not retaliatory (timing alone of such actions will not make them retaliatory.) (Colorado)

4 Statute lists retaliatory acts as illustrative, not exhaustive, and includes retaliation after the tenant has paid rent to a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association after demand from the association in order to pay the landlord’s obligation to the association; and when the tenant has exercised his or her rights under state, local, or federal fair housing laws. (Florida)

5 Allows tenant to raise his complaint to a fair housing agency as an affirmative defense to an eviction; retaliation presumed if tenant is served with an eviction notice within 6 months of tenant’s exercise of rights regarding bedbug infestations (does not apply to eviction for nonpayment or for causing substantial damage). (Maine)

6 Statute protects tenants or tenants’ guests who reasonably request emergency assistance. Local government cannot deem the request itself to be a “nuisance.” Landlord may, however, take appropriate adverse actions based on information supplied by emergency responders, as can local governments with regard to declaring a nuisance. (Nevada)

7 If a tenant fails to request a renewal of a lease or tenancy within 90 days of the tenancy’s expiration (or by the renewal date specified in the lease if longer than 90 days), a landlord may terminate or not renew without a presumption of retaliation. (New Jersey)

8 Retaliation presumed only when landlord terminates for reasons other than rent nonpayment, after tenant has filed complaint with a governmental entity alleging noncompliance with health or safety regulations. (Vermont)

Updated: November 2017

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