§521-74 Retaliatory evictions and rent increases prohibited. (a) Notwithstanding that the tenant has no written rental agreement or that it has expired, so long as the tenant continues to tender the usual rent to the landlord or proceeds to tender receipts for rent lawfully withheld, no action or proceeding to recover possession of the dwelling unit may be maintained against the tenant, nor shall the landlord otherwise cause the tenant to quit the dwelling unit involuntarily, nor demand an increase in rent from the tenant; nor decrease the services to which the tenant has been entitled, after:
(1) The tenant has complained in good faith to the department of health, landlord, building department, office of consumer protection, or any other governmental agency concerned with landlord-tenant disputes of conditions in or affecting the tenant's dwelling unit which constitutes a violation of a health law or regulation or of any provision of this chapter; or
(2) The department of health or other governmental agency has filed a notice or complaint of a violation of a health law or regulation or any provision of this chapter; or
(3) The tenant has in good faith requested repairs under section 521-63 or 521-64.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the landlord may recover possession of the dwelling unit if:
(1) The tenant is committing waste, or a nuisance, or is using the dwelling unit for an illegal purpose or for other than living or dwelling purposes in violation of the tenant's rental agreement;
(2) The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the dwelling unit for immediate use as the landlord's own abode or that of the landlord's immediate family;
(3) The landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of the dwelling unit for the purpose of substantially altering, remodeling, or demolishing the premises;
(4) The complaint or request of subsection (a) relates only to a condition or conditions caused by the lack of ordinary care by the tenant or another person in the tenant's household or on the premises with the tenant's consent;
(5) The landlord has received from the department of health certification that the dwelling unit and other property and facilities used by or affecting the use and enjoyment of the tenant were on the date of filing of the complaint or request in compliance with health laws and regulations;
(6) The landlord has in good faith contracted to sell the property, and the contract of sale contains a representation by the purchaser corresponding to paragraph (2) or (3); or
(7) The landlord is seeking to recover possession on the basis of a notice to terminate a periodic tenancy, which notice was given to the tenant previous to the complaint or request of subsection (a).
(c) Any tenant from whom possession has been recovered or who has been otherwise involuntarily dispossessed, in violation of this section, is entitled to recover the damages sustained by the tenant and the cost of suit, including reasonable attorney's fees.
(d) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the landlord may increase the rent if:
(1) The landlord has received from the department of health certification that the dwelling unit and other property and facilities used by and affecting the use and enjoyment of the tenant were on the date of filing of the complaint or request of subsection (a) in compliance with health laws and regulations;
(2) The landlord has become liable for a substantial increase in property taxes, or a substantial increase in other maintenance or operating costs not associated with the landlord's complying with the complaint or request, not less than four months prior to the demand for an increase in rent; and the increase in rent does not exceed the prorated portion of the net increase in taxes or costs;
(3) The landlord has completed a capital improvement of the dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part and the increase in rent does not exceed the amount which may be claimed for federal income tax purposes as a straight-line depreciation of the improvement, prorated among the dwelling units benefited by the improvement;
(4) The complaint or request of subsection (a) relates only to a condition or conditions caused by the want of due care by the tenant or another person of the tenant's household or on the premises with the tenant's consent; or
(5) The landlord can establish, by competent evidence, that the rent now demanded of the tenant does not exceed the rent charged other tenants of similar dwelling units in the landlord's building or, in the case of a single-family residence or where there is no similar dwelling unit in the building, does not exceed the market rental value of the dwelling unit. [L 1972, c 132, pt of §1; am L 1975, c 104, §5; am L 1981, c 235, §4; gen ch 1985]
Specified rights and remedies are not exclusive as basis for defense of retaliatory eviction. 59 H. 104, 577 P.2d 326 (1978).
Landlord's notice to vacate was invalid because it was issued while tenant was current with rent payments and after tenant filed a complaint in good faith, as evidenced by landlord's acknowledgment of tenant's claims that landlord provided insufficient notice of both a rent increase and the initial request to vacate. 136 H. 430, 363 P.3d 278 (2015).