The California Civil Code, Chapter 2, Section 1940.2 states that It is unlawful for a landlord to do any of the following for the purpose of influencing a tenant to vacate a rental property:
Landlord Prohibited Conduct
- Engage in conduct that violates subdivision (a) of Section 484 of the Penal Code (theft).
- Engage in conduct that violates Section 518 of the Penal Code (extortion).
- Use, or threaten to use, force, willful threats, or menacing conduct constituting a course of conduct that interferes with the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the premises in violation of Section 1927 that would create an apprehension of harm in a reasonable person. Nothing in this paragraph requires a tenant to be actually or constructively evicted in order to obtain relief.
- Commit a significant and intentional violation of Section 1954 (abuse of access to rental property).
- Threaten to disclose information regarding or relating to the immigration or citizenship status of a tenant, occupant, or other person known to the landlord to be associated with a tenant or occupant. This paragraph does not require a tenant to be actually or constructively evicted in order to obtain relief.
A tenant who prevails in a civil action, including an action in small claims court, to enforce his or her rights under this section is entitled to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each violation.
Exempt Landlord Behavior
An oral or written warning notice, given in good faith, regarding conduct by a tenant, occupant, or guest that violates, may violate, or violated the applicable rental agreement, rules, regulations, lease, or laws, is not a violation of this section. An oral or written explanation of the rental agreement, rules, regulations, lease, or laws given in the normal course of business is not a violation of this section.
Note: This section does not enlarge or diminish a landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy pursuant to existing state or local law; nor does it enlarge or diminish any ability of local government to regulate or enforce a prohibition against a landlord’s harassment of a tenant.
Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 489, Sec. 3. (AB 291) Effective January 1, 2018.
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