Can the landlord retaliate if the tenant complains about a violation of any of the landlord’s duties?

Full Question:

I am a tenant in Alabama. My landlord has disconnected the cable connection as I complained that the heater in our apartment is not working. He did not take any action to rectify the fault, instead retaliated for complaining about the fault. What remedy is available for me in this regard?
12/28/2016   |   Category: Landlord Tenant   |   State: Alabama   |   #29020


In Alabama, a landlord must maintain premises and Code of Ala.§ 35-9A-204 enlists landlord’s duties in this regard. Under Code of Ala. § 35-9A-501, retaliatory conduct by the landlord is prohibited if the tenant complaints about a violation of any of the landlord’s duties enlisted under Code of Ala.§ 35-9A-204. The remedy available for a tenant against retaliation is that he can terminate the rental agreement and recover damages as well as security deposit. The statutory provision on this is enumerated in Code of Ala. § 35-9A-407.

Code of Ala.§ 35-9A-204 provides that:

“(a) A landlord shall:
     (4) maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by the landlord;

Code of Ala. § 35-9A-501 read as follows:

(a) Except as provided in this section, a landlord may not retaliate by discriminatorily increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession because:
  (2) the tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation under Section 35-9A-204; or

Further, Code of Ala. § 35-9A-407 provides that:

“If a landlord unlawfully removes or excludes the tenant from the premises or willfully diminishes services to the tenant by interrupting or causing the interruption of heat, running water, hot water, electric, gas, or other essential service, the tenant may recover possession or terminate the rental agreement and, in either case, recover an amount equal to not more than 3 months' periodic rent or the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. If the rental agreement is terminated under this section, the landlord shall return all security recoverable under Section 35-9A-201 and all unearned prepaid rent.”