Domestic Violence Victims Have Special Rights In Rental Situations

Special  issues arise in Landlord tenant relations when the tenant is also a victim of domestic violence.  Depending on the circumstances involving domestic violence, elder abuse, or dependent adult abuse against a tenant, a landlord may or may not terminate or decline to renew a tenancy. California law has declared that domestic violence and stalking victims should not lose their housing because they are being abused and should not be forced to leave their homes to report abuse. It is critical for rental property owners to develop policies and procedures that balance the needs of tenants’ peaceful enjoyment of the property while considering the safety and fair housing rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. According to a Long Beach Domestic Violence Attorney, a landlord may not terminate a tenancy or fail to renew a tenancy based on acts against a tenant or a tenant’s household member that constitute domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult if both of the following apply:

(1) The acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or abuse of an elder or dependent adult were documented as (i) a temporary restraining order, emergency protective order, or protective order lawfully issued within the last 180 days, or (ii) a copy of a written report, created within the last 180 days, by a state or local law enforcement agency peace officer, stating that the tenant or household member has filed a report alleging domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or elder or dependent adult abuse; and

(2) The person named in the criminal protective order or police report as the alleged criminal  perpetrator is not a tenant of the same dwelling unit as the tenant or household member. “Tenant” means tenant, subtenant, lessee, or sublessee.

A landlord may terminate a tenancy or not renew a tenancy if the tenant availed himself or herself of the above protections and:

(1) The tenant allows the person named in the protective order or police report to visit the property, or the landlord reasonably believes the same named person poses a physical threat to other tenants, guests, invitees, or licensees, or to the tenant’s right to quiet possession; and

(2) The landlord previously gave at least three days’ notice to the tenant to correct a violation of paragraph (1) immediately above.

The owner of a home or rental unit may not be held liable to any other tenants for any action that arises due to the landlord’s compliance with these provisions

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