A. Except as provided in this section, or as otherwise provided by law, a landlord shall not retaliate by selectively increasing rent or decreasing services or by bringing or threatening to bring an action for possession after he has knowledge that: (i) the tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health or safety; (ii) the tenant has made a complaint to or filed a suit against the landlord for a violation of any provision of this chapter; (iii) the tenant has organized or become a member of a tenants' organization; or (iv) the tenant has testified in a court proceeding against the landlord.
B. The landlord shall be deemed to have knowledge of a fact if he has actual knowledge of it; he has received a notice or notification of it; or, from all the facts and circumstances known to him at the time in question, he has reason to know that it exists.
C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections A and B of this section, a landlord may terminate the rental agreement pursuant to subsection A of § 55-248.46 and bring an action for possession if:
1. Violation of the applicable building and housing code was caused by lack of reasonable care by the tenant or a member of his household or a person on the premises with his consent;
2. The tenant is in default in rent; or
3. The tenant is in default of a provision of the rental agreement materially affecting the health and safety of himself or others.
(1986, c. 586; 1991, c. 185; 1992, c. 709.)