HRC Domestic Violence Case - Early Lease Termination

The Housing Rights Center (HRC) recently assisted a victim of domestic violence in breaking her rental lease early due to concerns over the safety of her family.

The domestic violence victim reported that her ex-boyfriend physically and verbally assaulted her in her apartment and as a result, she obtained a permanent restraining order against him. She alleged that her attacker continued to harass and stalk her family to the point where she no longer felt safe living in her apartment.

After four months of enduring constant harassment and threats, the tenant contacted the property owner and requested that she be allowed to break her 12-month lease early so that she and her family could seek refuge from her attacker. He informed her that she could break her lease and move out of the property on the condition that she continued paying rent until he found a new tenant. She refused to comply with his terms, and contacted HRC for assistance.

HRC contacted the property owner after reviewing the tenant’s restraining order and other supporting documents, and requested that she be allowed to break her lease early without penalty or fee, due to her status as a domestic violence victim. The property owner agreed to allow her to break her lease early, providing that she continued to reside at the property for an additional 30 days so that he could better prepare for her departure. The tenant agreed to comply and the property owner agreed to sign the termination documents and return them to her so that she could begin moving out.

Sometime later, the tenant contacted HRC and reported that the property owner had failed to provide her with the agreed-upon termination documents. HRC contacted the owner and he stated that he had misplaced the documents, would obtain another copy and schedule a time to meet with her.

The tenant subsequently informed HRC that the property owner hadn’t provided her with the termination documents yet, and that her attacker had recently returned to her apartment again to stalk and harass her and her children. That same day, HRC contacted the property owner and he agreed to meet with the tenant the next day to finalize the agreement. Three days later, she contacted HRC again and stated that the property owner had not met with her as promised and she was growing increasingly fearful for her safety. HRC personally met with the property owner that day and he signed the termination documents.

The tenant and her family were able to move out of the property to locate safer housing. 

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