§521-61  Tenant's remedies for failure by landlord to supply possession.  (a)  If the landlord fails to put the tenant into possession of the dwelling unit in the agreed condition at the beginning of the agreed term:

     (1)  The tenant shall not be liable for the rent during any period the tenant is unable to enter into possession;

     (2)  At any time during the period the tenant is so unable to enter into possession the tenant may notify the landlord that the tenant has terminated the rental agreement; and

     (3)  The tenant shall have the right to recover damages in the amount of reasonable expenditures necessary to secure adequate substitute housing, the recovery to be made either by action brought in the district court or by deduction from the rent upon submission to the landlord of receipts totaling at least[:]

          (A)  The amount of abated rent; plus

          (B)  The amount claimed against the rent; or

     (4)  If the inability to enter results from the wrongful holdover of a prior occupant, the tenant may maintain a summary proceeding in the district court for possession.

     (b)  In any district court proceeding brought by the tenant under this section[,] the court may award the tenant substitute housing expenditures, reasonable court costs, and attorney's fees. [L 1972, c 132, pt of §1; am L 1976, c 90, §4; gen ch 1985]