Collected: 105 Signatures.
SHELTER stands for Safe Housing and Early Lease Termination Exemption Requirement. This act would require landlords to allow tentants to end their lease without penalty if the termination is due to domestic violence. Further, it would prevent future landlords from discriminating against domestic violence survivors and victims due to abusive situations.
I found myself in a situation that was very difficult to get out of. With no advance warning, the opportunity presented itself for me to get out. So, I took my chance. As soon as offices reopened after a holiday, I went to the courts. I was granted an ex parte (emergency) protection order against my abuser. I took the order to my apartment complex. They still would not let me out of my lease without a hefty $2,000 termination fee. My safety, and possibly my life, were at risk and they would not grant my request to terminate my lease without penalty. I refused to pay and, honestly, couldn't. Even now, if I wanted to rent another place, I would be unable to do so. For one, I broke my lease. Secondly, I did not pay their fee. If I explained this to the new landlord, how understanding do you think they would be to a domestic violence victim? They would likely think of me as a target and refuse to rent to me thinking of the issues it could bring to their property. If I didn't have such great people in my life, I may not even have a place to live. Although I hate to say it, If I had known what it would have cost me, I would've stayed in the situation. I would have endured whatever the next few months would have brought. One thing is for sure: my old aparment complex allows persons out of their lease in cases of death. I could have very well been let out of my lease with no penalty if I would have stayed.
Did you know?
Domestic violence is the second leading cause of homelessness among women (Homeless Persons Representatives Project).
One study found that 46% of homeless women reported staying in an abusive relationship because they had nowhere else to go (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).
Victims and survivors of domestic violence have trouble finding other housing as their history of abuse may have caused poor employment, credit or rental histories (National Center on Law and Poverty).
Landlords frequently turn away women who have protection orders or other indications of domestic violence (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).
Approximately 75% of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left the abusive relationship (Domesitc Abuse Shelter).
Many victims face the unconscionable choice of staying with an abuser or instead opting to incur financial lease termination penalities, ruin their credit rating and risk homelessness (Editorial "Family Violence: A residential lease should not stand between victims of family violence and safety").
Only TWO states - Oregon and Washington - have statutes that permit a domestic volence survivor to terminate their lease early. (Domestic Violence Report)
Please help me in the fight to end the cycle of abuse by eliminating another obstacle victims face when trying to leave a dangerous situation. "Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light." ~Norman B. Rice