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California Civil Code Section 789.3

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Civil Code > California Civil Code Section 789.3

789.3.  (a) A landlord shall not with intent to terminate the
occupancy under any lease or other tenancy or estate at will, however
created, of property used by a tenant as his residence willfully
cause, directly or indirectly, the interruption or termination of any
utility service furnished the tenant, including, but not limited to,
water, heat, light, electricity, gas, telephone, elevator, or
refrigeration, whether or not the utility service is under the
control of the landlord.
   (b) In addition, a landlord shall not, with intent to terminate
the occupancy under any lease or other tenancy or estate at will,
however created, of property used by a tenant as his or her
residence, willfully:
   (1) Prevent the tenant from gaining reasonable access to the
property by changing the locks or using a bootlock or by any other
similar method or device;
   (2) Remove outside doors or windows; or
   (3) Remove from the premises the tenant's personal property, the
furnishings, or any other items without the prior written consent of
the tenant, except when done pursuant to the procedure set forth in
Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1980) of Title 5 of Part 4 of
Division 3.
   Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prevent the
lawful eviction of a tenant by appropriate legal authorities, nor
shall anything in this subdivision apply to occupancies defined by
subdivision (b) of Section 1940.
   (c) Any landlord who violates this section shall be liable to the
tenant in a civil action for all of the following:
   (1) Actual damages of the tenant.
   (2) An amount not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) for each
day or part thereof the landlord remains in violation of this
section. In determining the amount of such award, the court shall
consider proof of such matters as justice may require; however, in no
event shall less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) be awarded
for each separate cause of action. Subsequent or repeated violations,
which are not committed contemporaneously with the initial
violation, shall be treated as separate causes of action and shall be
subject to a separate award of damages.
   (d) In any action under subdivision (c) the court shall award
reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party. In any such
action the tenant may seek appropriate injunctive relief to prevent
continuing or further violation of the provisions of this section
during the pendency of the action. The remedy provided by this
section is not exclusive and shall not preclude the tenant from
pursuing any other remedy which the tenant may have under any other
provision of law.
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Last modified: March 17, 2014