33-1364. Wrongful failure to supply heat, air conditioning, cooling, water, hot water or essential services
A. If contrary to the rental agreement or section 33-1324 the landlord deliberately or negligently fails to supply running water, gas or electrical service, or both if applicable, and reasonable amounts of hot water or heat, air-conditioning or cooling, where such units are installed and offered, or essential services, the tenant may give reasonable notice to the landlord specifying the breach and may do one of the following:
1. Procure reasonable amounts of hot water, running water, heat and essential services during the period of the landlord's noncompliance and deduct their actual reasonable cost from the rent. If the landlord has failed to provide any of the utility services specified in this section due to nonpayment of the landlord's utility bill for the premises, and if there is no separate utility meter for each tenant in the premises such that the tenant could avoid a utility shutoff by arranging to have services transferred to the tenant's name, the tenant may either individually or collectively with other tenants arrange with the utility company to pay the utility bill after written notice to the landlord of the tenant's intent to do so. With the utility company's approval the tenant or tenants may pay the landlord's delinquent utility bill and deduct from any rent owed to the landlord the actual cost of the payment the tenant made to restore utility services. The tenant or tenants may continue to make such payments to the utility company until the landlord has provided adequate assurances to the tenant that the above utility services will be maintained.
2. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit.
3. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord's noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance. In the event the periodic cost of such substitute housing exceeds the amount of the periodic rent, upon delivery by tenant of proof of payment for such substitute housing, tenant may recover from landlord such excess costs up to an amount not to exceed twenty-five per cent of the periodic rent which has been excused pursuant to this paragraph.
B. A landlord shall provide all utilities and services specified in the lease agreement.
C. A landlord shall not terminate utility services as specified in subsection A of this section which are provided to the tenant as part of the rental agreement, except as necessary to make needed repairs or as provided in section 33-1368. Subsequent to the execution of the rental agreement, a landlord may not transfer the responsibility for payment of such utility services to the tenant without the tenant's written consent.
D. If a landlord is in violation of subsection C of this section, the tenant may recover damages, costs and reasonable attorneys fees and obtain injunctive relief. Nothing in this section shall preclude a tenant's right to recover damages as specified in section 33-1367.
E. A lease agreement shall not contain any terms contrary to this section.
F. In addition to the remedy provided in paragraph 3 of subsection A of this section, in the event the landlord's noncompliance is deliberate, the tenant may recover the actual and reasonable cost or fair and reasonable value of the substitute housing not in excess of an amount equal to the periodic rent.
G. If the tenant proceeds under this section, he may not proceed under section 33-1361 or section 33-1363 as to that breach, except as to damages which occur prior to the tenant proceeding under subsection A or B of this section.
H. The rights under this section do not arise until the tenant has given notice to the landlord and such rights do not include the right to repair. Such rights do not arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's family or other person on the premises with the tenant's consent.