04 May 2007
Section 1942.5 provides:
(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:
(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; or
(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; or
(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; or
(4) After the filing of appropriate documents commencing a judicial or arbitration proceeding involving the issue of tenantability; or
(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 the provisions of subdivision (a) more than once in any 12-month period.
(c) It shall be 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 such 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 rights under any lease or agreement or any law
pertaining to the hiring of property or his right to do any of the acts described in subdivision (a) or (c) for any lawful cause. Any waiver by a lessee of his rights under this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.
(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of 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 such statement be 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 one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each retaliatory act where the lessor
or agent has been guilty of fraud, oppression, or malice with respect to such 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.
Editor’s Note: This question and answer section was prepared in response to frequently asked questions by members and students in our various educational programs. All language is taken directly from the California Civil Code. The outline format differs from formal English grammar outline because the Code mirrors annual changes in the law with numerous additions and deletions written by various state senators and assemblymembers. Additional legal resources are listed at the end of this