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A. For violation of Rent Ceilings or Failure to Register. If a landlord fails to register in accordance with Section 13.76.080 of this chapter, or if a landlord demands, accepts, receives or retains any payment in excess of the maximum allowable rent permitted by this chapter, a tenant may take any or all of the following actions until compliance is achieved:

1. A tenant may petition the board for appropriate relief. If the board, after the landlord has proper notice and after a hearing, determines that a landlord has willfully and knowingly failed to register a rental unit covered by this chapter or violated the provisions of Sections 13.76.100, 13.76.110 and 13.76.120 of this chapter, the board may authorize the tenant of such rental unit to withhold all or a portion of the rent for the unit until such time as the rental unit is brought into compliance with this chapter. After a rental unit is brought into compliance, the board shall determine what portion, if any, of the withheld rent is owed to the landlord for the period in which the rental unit was not in compliance. Whether or not the board allows such withholding, no landlord who has failed to comply with the chapter shall at any time increase rents for a rental unit until such unit is brought into compliance.

2. A tenant may withhold up to the full amount of his or her periodic rent which is charged or demanded by the landlord under the provisions of this chapter. In any action to recover possession based on nonpayment of rent, possession shall not be granted where the tenant has withheld rent in good faith under this section.

3. A tenant may seek injunctive relief on behalf of herself or himself to restrain the landlord from demanding or receiving any rent on the unit until the landlord has complied with the terms of this chapter.

4. A tenant may file a damage suit against the landlord for actual damages when the landlord receives or retains any rent in excess of the maximum rent allowed under this chapter. Upon further proof of a bad faith claim by the landlord or the landlord’s retention of rent in excess of the maximum rent allowed by this chapter, the tenant shall receive a judgment of up to $750 in addition to any actual damages.

B. For Violation of Eviction Proceedings. If it is shown in the appropriate court that the event which the landlord claims as grounds to recover possession under Subsection 13.76.130A.7., Subsection 13.76.130A.8., Subsection 13.76.130A.9., or Subsection 13.76.130A.10. is not initiated within two months after the tenant vacates the unit, or it is shown the landlord’s claim was false or in bad faith, the tenant shall be entitled to regain possession and to actual damages. If the landlord’s conduct was willful, the tenant shall be entitled to damages in an amount of $750 or three times the actual damages sustained, whichever is greater.

C. The City Attorney may bring an action for injunctive relief on behalf of the City or on behalf of tenants seeking compliance by landlords with this chapter.

D. The board may seek injunctive relief to restrain or enjoin any violation of this chapter or of the rules, regulations, orders and decisions of the board.

E. If a tenant fails to bring a civil or administrative action within 120 days from the date of the first occurrence of a violation of this chapter, the board may either settle the claim arising from the violation or bring such action. Thereafter, the tenant on whose behalf the board acted may not bring an action against the landlord in regard to the same violation for which the board has made a settlement or brought an action. In the event the board settles the claim it shall be entitled to retain from any payments made by the landlord, the costs it incurred in settlement, and the tenant aggrieved by the violation shall be entitled to the remainder. (Ord. 5467-NS § 15, 1982: Ord. 5261-NS § 15, 1980)