Domestic violence victims can terminate tenancy

VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CAN TERMINATE A LEASE ON WRITTEN NOTICE TO THE LANDLORD

A tenant may terminate his or her tenancy on written notice to the landlord that the tenant, or a household member, is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking or elder or dependent adult abuse. Civil Code § 1946.7

Code of Civil Procedure Section 1946.7 provides (a) A tenant may notify the landlord that he or she or a household member was a victim of an act that constitutes an act of domestic violence as defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code, sexual assault as defined in Section 261, 261.5, 262, 286, 288a, or 289 of the Penal Code, stalking as defined in Section 1708.7, human trafficking as defined in Section 236.1 of the Penal Code, or abuse of an elder or a dependent adult as defined in Section 15610.07 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and that the tenant intends to terminate the tenancy. (b) A notice to terminate a tenancy under this section shall be in writing, with one of the following attached to the notice: (1) A copy of a temporary restraining order, emergency protective order, or protective order lawfully issued pursuant to Part 3 (commencing with Section 6240) or Part 4 (commencing with Section 6300) of Division 10 of the Family Code, Section 136.2 of the Penal Code, Section 527.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 213.5 or 15657.03 of the Welfare and Institutions Code that protects the tenant or household member from further domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or abuse of an elder or a dependent adult. (2) A copy of a written report by a peace officer employed by a state or local law enforcement agency acting in his or her official capacity stating that the tenant or household member has filed a report alleging that he or she or the household member is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or abuse of an elder or a dependent adult. (3)(A) Documentation from a qualified third party based on information received by that third party while acting in his or her professional capacity to indicate that the tenant or household member is seeking assistance for physical or mental injuries or abuse resulting from an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse.

The notice to terminate the tenancy should be given within 180 days of the date that any domestic violence restraining order or police report. If notice to terminate the tenancy is provided to the landlord, the tenant shall be responsible for payment of rent for no more than 14 calendar days following the giving of the notice. The tenant shall be released from any rent payment obligation under the lease or rental agreement without penalty. Civ. Code, § 1946.7.

This provision is particularly helpful in a divorce situation where the spouse who is the victim of domestic violence is a signatory to the rental agreement and the victim spouse wants to move out of the apartment or house. This situation is not limited to divorcing couple. This provision can also be applied to unmarried couples and roommate situations where one of the roommates is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or elder or dependent abuse. The domestic violence perpetrator does not even have to reside with the victim.

However, in order to avail of the benefit of this statute the domestic violence victim should strictly follow the procedures for providing notice to the landlord under the statute.

Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does create any attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, APLC. This article is not a solicitation.

Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, APLC is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail kureyeslaw@gmail.com. Visit our website at kenreyeslaw.com

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