On behalf of Law Office of Paul Mankin posted in blog on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
Many people live in conditions that are untenable. For example, a landlord might do nothing about a bedbug infestation, broken door and leaky toilet. As a result, the tenants deal with a lot of stress and worries about their health and safety. Even friendships can suffer when children do not want to bring their friends over to the house or apartment. In such situations, it is natural for a tenant to want to bring a landlord to court to force the issue.
However, what stops many is the fear of landlord retaliation. The apartment or house may be in conditions considered unlivable, but "at least" it is somewhere to go. It is a roof over your head. If a landlord retaliates, you and your children could be living out in the streets. The good news is that a landlord should not be able to retaliate, and the law is clear and strict on this issue.
Half a year
California law actually assumes that a landlord is acting in a retaliatory manner if he or she tries to evict you within six months of you filing a lawsuit or making a complaint. However, there can be exceptions to this rule. For example, you must have been paying your rent. That said, the default assumption falls squarely on your side, that the landlord is trying to get back at you for exercising your rights. It is up to the landlord to prove that is not the case, which is often difficult.
Going further, if your landlord is trying to retaliate against you and you are able to prove that in court, you could collect damages under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Of course, six months is half a year, and that may not seem like much when time passes in the blink of an eye. It does give you a window of opportunity to find another housing situation, and no matter the time frame, a lawyer consultation may clarify your options going forward.