Central Housing Associates, LP v. OlsonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held in this eviction action that, under the circumstances of this case, the retaliation defense was not available under Minn. Stat. 504B.441 but that the common law should recognize a defense when a landlord retaliates against a tenant for making a good-faith complaint to the landlord of a material violation of a local or state law, residential covenants, or the lease.
By special verdict, a jury found that Tenant materially violated the terms of the lease but that Landlord retaliated against Tenant as a penalty for complaining about the condition of the leased premises. The district court entered judgment for possession of the rental unit in favor of Tenant apparently based on the retaliation defense under Minn. Stat. 504B.285, subd. 2, and Minn. Stat. 504B.441. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the retaliation defense was unavailable to Tenant under either statutory provision. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Tenant could not assert a statutory defense; but (2) the language of the verdict was adequate to satisfy the requirements of the common-law retaliation defense that the Court recognized today.