§ 5.54.070  CIVIL REMEDIES.
   (A)   Affirmative defense. A landlord’s failure to comply with this chapter, including but not limited to the identification of an applicable cause for termination described in § 5.54.040 and delivery of a completed notice of termination in accordance with § 5.54.050, shall be an affirmative defense to an unlawful detainer action by landlord.
   (B)   Civil liability. Whenever a landlord attempts to prevent a tenant from acquiring any rights under this chapter, retaliates against a tenant or tenant household for the exercise of any rights under this chapter, or engages in activities prohibited under this chapter, the tenant or tenant household, may institute a civil proceeding for money damages or injunctive relief, or both. This section creates a private right of action to enforce all terms, rights, and obligations under this chapter. Whoever is found to have violated this chapter shall be subject to appropriate injunctive relief and shall be liable for damages, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees, and whatever other relief the court deems appropriate. In the case of an award of damages, said award may be trebled if the trier of fact finds that the landlord acted in knowing violation, reckless disregard, or otherwise willfully failed to comply with this chapter. The court may award the defendant attorney’s fees and costs as the prevailing party in cases where plaintiff’s claim is deemed unreasonable, frivolous, meritless or vexatious.
   (C)   Civil action to determine liability. Any tenant may bring a civil action to determine the applicability of this chapter to the tenancy.
   (D)   Other private rights of action. Nothing herein shall be deemed to interfere with the right of a landlord to file an action against a tenant or non-tenant third party for the damage done to said landlord’s property. Nothing herein is intended to limit the damages recoverable by any party through a private action.
(Ord. 828, passed 3-6-2019; Am. Ord. 829, passed 4-3-2019)