PROTECTING TENANTS FROM RETALIATORY ACTIONS

Most states have laws that protect tenants from landlord retaliation when they submit complaints regarding housing safety. California law, for example, prohibits a landlord from retaliating against a tenant for complaining to an appropriate agency about the habitability of a rental unit.

The law prohibits retaliatory rent increases, service decreases, eviction, or threats of such.
In some states, localities include protections within their local laws. However, even when tenants have legal protections, they may be hindered from asserting these protections due to limited resources and insufficient availability of affordable or free legal services for low-income tenants.
Proactive PRI programs may help to reduce tenant fear of landlord retaliation, as well as actual retaliation, since the inspections and compliance actions are prompted by a municipal program rather than by tenant complaints.

January 2018:  Walter stayed away from the rental house for about a month because of what he said were threats made by the landlady’s son. Walter returned in January to find the shelter torn down and Walter’s belongings trashed. His clothes are wet and mildewed. His small collection of art supplies is ground into the mud with much of his other person property. After confrontations with the son and a stay in the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, Walter is able to return to the rental house but it still does not have heat or electricity. Walter said he applied for public house but was told there was a two- to three-month waiting period. Walter says he can’t find a place he can afford on his $681 monthly Social Security retirement check.

January 2018: Walter stayed away from the rental house for about a month because of what he said were threats made by the landlady’s son. Walter returned in January to find the shelter torn down and Walter’s belongings trashed. His clothes are wet and mildewed. His small collection of art supplies is ground into the mud with much of his other person property. After confrontations with the son and a stay in the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, Walter is able to return to the rental house but it still does not have heat or electricity. Walter said he applied for public house but was told there was a two- to three-month waiting period. Walter says he can’t find a place he can afford on his $681 monthly Social Security retirement check.