California state law §1942.5 prohibits landlords from retaliating against tenants. Retaliation is both a defense in certain eviction lawsuits and a basis for affirmative claims against a landlord.
Where a landlord initiates an eviction, increase rent or decrease services within 180 of a tenant’s protected act, a landlord has the burden of showing a non-retaliatory motive. Landlords found guilty of retaliation may be liable for actual damages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
Retaliation can also provide the basis for defending an eviction in both commercial and residential eviction lawsuits.