The landlord shall not recover or take possession of a dwelling unit by the wilful interruption or diminution of running water, hot water, or electric, gas, or other essential service to the tenant contrary to the rental agreement or section 521-42 , except in case of abandonment or surrender. A landlord who engages in this act shall be deemed to have engaged in an unfair method of competition or unfair and deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce within the meaning of section 480-2 ; provided that in addition to the penalties available under section 480-3.1 , there shall also be minimum damages of three times the monthly rent or $1,000, whichever is greater.
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