Verified Good-Faith Complaints to Gov’t About Serious Code Violations
Complaints to Landlord About Required Repairs
Participation in a Tenant Organization
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
Raising Rent Above Fair Market Value
Decreasing Electric, Gas, Water, or Sewer Services
Giving Notice to Vacate Outside the Lease Terms
Penalties for Retaliation
Sue for Damages
When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in South Dakota?
It’s illegal for South Dakota landlords to retaliate byraising rent above fair market value,reducing electric, gas, water, or sewer services,orgiving notice to vacate outside the terms of the lease,against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past 180 days:
Complaining in good faith to the government about substantial health and safety code violations, such that a government agency contacts the landlord.
Complaining to the landlord about repairs required by the landlord-tenant laws.
Participating in a tenant organization.
What Can Tenants Do in Response in South Dakota?
South Dakota tenants can respond to landlord retaliation bysuing for quiet enjoyment of the propertyso the court issues injunctions against the landlord. The tenant might also end the rental agreement. In either case, the tenant can recover reasonable attorney fees, plus a monetary award of two months’ rent.
“A cause of action may arise in favor of a lessee and against a lessor… for retaliation… if the lessor increases rents above fair market value; if the lessor decreases electric, gas, water, or sewer services; or if the lessor gives the lessee notice to vacate the premises when such notice is not based upon a breach of the terms of the lease; subsequent to any of the following special events: (1) The lessor has received written notice from the lessee or a governmental agency that the lessee has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code violation applicable to the premises and materially affecting health and safety, and the complaint is determined to be reported in good faith; or (2) The lessee has given written notice to the lessor of a condition requiring repair pursuant to § 43-32-9; or (3) The lessee has organized or become a member of a tenant’s union or organization.”
“It shall be a defense to this cause of action that the notice to vacate the premises was given by the lessor more than one hundred eighty days after the occurrence of a special event. The failure of the lessor to renew any written lease prior to or upon its expiration, is not retaliation.”
“If the lessor acts in violation of § 43-32-27 [anti-retaliation statute], the lessee is entitled to the remedies provided in § 43-32-6 [“the tenant may sue for injunctive relief, recover possession by suit, or terminate the rental agreement and, in any case, recover from the lessor damages in an amount equal to two months rent”]. The court may award the lessee reasonable and customary attorney’s fees. A lessee seeking attorney’s fees shall provide the court with counsel’s verified itemized statement of costs incurred and legal services rendered.”