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California Civil Code Section 1942.5

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1942.5.  (a) If the lessor retaliates against the lessee because of
the exercise by the lessee of his rights under this chapter or
because of his complaint to an appropriate agency as to tenantability
of a dwelling, and if the lessee of a dwelling is not in default as
to the payment of his rent, the lessor may not recover possession of
a dwelling in any action or proceeding, cause the lessee to quit
involuntarily, increase the rent, or decrease any services within 180
days of any of the following:
   (1) After the date upon which the lessee, in good faith, has given
notice pursuant to Section 1942, or has made an oral complaint to
the lessor regarding tenantability.
   (2) After the date upon which the lessee, in good faith, has filed
a written complaint, or an oral complaint which is registered or
otherwise recorded in writing, with an appropriate agency, of which
the lessor has notice, for the purpose of obtaining correction of a
condition relating to tenantability.
   (3) After the date of an inspection or issuance of a citation,
resulting from a complaint described in paragraph (2) of which the
lessor did not have notice.
   (4) After the filing of appropriate documents commencing a
judicial or arbitration proceeding involving the issue of
tenantability.
   (5) After entry of judgment or the signing of an arbitration
award, if any, when in the judicial proceeding or arbitration the
issue of tenantability is determined adversely to the lessor.
   In each instance, the 180-day period shall run from the latest
applicable date referred to in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive.
   (b) A lessee may not invoke subdivision (a) more than once in any
12-month period.
   (c) It is unlawful for a lessor to increase rent, decrease
services, cause a lessee to quit involuntarily, bring an action to
recover possession, or threaten to do any of those acts, for the
purpose of retaliating against the lessee because he or she has
lawfully organized or participated in a lessees' association or an
organization advocating lessees' rights or has lawfully and peaceably
exercised any rights under the law. In an action brought by or
against the lessee pursuant to this subdivision, the lessee shall
bear the burden of producing evidence that the lessor's conduct was,
in fact, retaliatory.
   (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting in any
way the exercise by the lessor of his or her rights under any lease
or agreement or any law pertaining to the hiring of property or his
or her right to do any of the acts described in subdivision (a) or
(c) for any lawful cause. Any waiver by a lessee of his or her rights
under this section is void as contrary to public policy.
   (e) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) to (d), inclusive, a lessor
may recover possession of a dwelling and do any of the other acts
described in subdivision (a) within the period or periods prescribed
therein, or within subdivision (c), if the notice of termination,
rent increase, or other act, and any pleading or statement of issues
in an arbitration, if any, states the ground upon which the lessor,
in good faith, seeks to recover possession, increase rent, or do any
of the other acts described in subdivision (a) or (c). If the
statement is controverted, the lessor shall establish its truth at
the trial or other hearing.
   (f) Any lessor or agent of a lessor who violates this section
shall be liable to the lessee in a civil action for all of the
following:
   (1) The actual damages sustained by the lessee.
   (2) Punitive damages in an amount of not less than one hundred
dollars ($100) nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each
retaliatory act where the lessor or agent has been guilty of fraud,
oppression, or malice with respect to that act.
   (g) In any action brought for damages for retaliatory eviction,
the court shall award reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing
party if either party requests attorney's fees upon the initiation of
the action.
   (h) The remedies provided by this section shall be in addition to
any other remedies provided by statutory or decisional law.

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Last modified: March 17, 2014