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.

State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation

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

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

Arkansas1

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-27-608

X

California2, 3

Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1940.35, 1942.5

X

X

X

180 days

Colorado4

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 38-12-509

X

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, 42-3505.06

X

X

X

6 months

Florida5

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.64

X

X

X

Georgia

Ga. Code Ann. § 44-7-24

X X X 3 months

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

Maine6

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

6 months

Massachusetts2

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

X

X

X

6 months

Michigan7

Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5720

X

X

X

90 days

Minnesota

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

X

X

90 days

Mississippi8

Miss. Code Ann. §§ 89-8-9, 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

Nevada9

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 Jersey10

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 York11

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

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

Vermont12

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, § 4465

X

X

X

90 days

Virginia

Va. Code Ann. § 55.1-1258

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)

3 Landlord cannot disclose or threaten to disclose to any government authority information regarding tenants' or occupants' immigration or citizenship status for the purpose of retaliating. Statute also provides for actual damages, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees to the prevailing party upon their request. (California)

4 Statute prohibits landlord from retaliating by increasing rent, decreasing services, or threatening eviction. When a landlord illegally retaliates, tenants may terminate rental agreement and recover either three months' rent or three times their actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorneys' fees and costs. Also specifies that if a landlord replaces an appliance with a substantially similar one (presumably in response to a complaint), there is no presumption of retaliation. (Colorado)

5 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)

6 Also a presumption of retaliation when tenant complained to a fair housing agency, informs landlord that the tenant or tenant's child is a victim, or communicated to the landlord about or filed a complaint about the landlord's or landlord's agent's act of sexual harassment. Retaliation is also presumed if tenant is served with an eviction notice within 6 months of tenant's exercise of rights regarding bed bug infestations (does not apply to eviction for nonpayment or for causing substantial damage). (Maine)

7 If landlord tries to increase tenant's obligations under the lease as a penalty for asserting rights, and the tenant doesn't perform these additional obligations, the tenant can use the retaliation as a defense against eviction for failure to perform under the lease. (Michigan)

8 Mississippi law specifically requires that landlords exercise goof faith when they terminate or don't renew a lease. This could expand the categories of behavior that are considered prohibited retaliation. (Mississippi)

9 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)

10 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)

11 Landlord also cannot retaliate for tenant's attempt to enforce the warranty of habitability. (New York)

12 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: January 27, 2020

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