Sex Assault And Stalking Victims May Break Leases
Under current law, if a tenant notifies his or her landlord in writing that he or she is the victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse and provides to the landlord evidence in the form of a police report written within the prior 60 days or a valid protection order, and the tenant seeks to vacate the premises due to fear of imminent danger for self or children, then the tenant may terminate the rental agreement or lease and vacate the premises with minimal remaining obligations. The bill extends this privilege to victims of unlawful sexual behavior and stalking. The bill also provides that a statement from an application assistant designated by the address confidentiality program or, in the case of a victim of unlawful sexual behavior, from a medical professional, confirming the tenant's victim status is a third means of presenting evidence to the landlord.
If a tenant to a residential rental agreement or lease agreement notifies the landlord that the tenant is a victim of unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, domestic violence, or domestic abuse, the landlord shall not disclose such fact to any person except with the consent of the victim or as the landlord may be required to do so by law.
If a tenant to a residential rental agreement or lease agreement terminates his or her lease pursuant to this section because he or she is a victim of unlawful sexual behavior, stalking, domestic violence, or domestic abuse, and the tenant provides the landlord with a new address, the landlord shall not disclose such address to any person except with the consent of the victim or as the landlord may be required to do so by law.
Under current law, a dangerous or uninhabitable condition in a rented property does not constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability if the condition is caused by the misconduct of the tenant, a member of the tenant's household, a guest or invitee of the tenant, or a person under the tenant's direction or control. However, such a condition is not misconduct by a victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse if the condition is the result of domestic violence or domestic abuse and the landlord has been given written notice and evidence of domestic violence or domestic abuse. The bill adds language to provide the same protection for tenants who are victims of unlawful sexual behavior or stalking.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)