State Laws Protecting Tenants in Domestic Violence Situations

Many states extend special protections, such as the rights to early termination rights or to have locks changed, to tenants who are victims of domestic violence (DV). Here is a summary of and citations for relevant state laws.

Many states extend special protections, such as the rights to early termination rights or to have locks changed, to tenants who are victims of domestic violence (DV). Here is a summary of and citations for relevant state laws. To read your state laws, see the website maintained by the Cornell Legal Information Institute. For more information, check with local law enforcement or a battered women’s shelter.

State Laws in Domestic Violence Situations

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 29.35.125(a)

Miscellaneous provisions: A city may impose a fee on the owner of residential property if the police go to the property an excessive number of times during a calendar year when called for assistance or to handle a complaint, an emergency, or a potential emergency. This fee may not be imposed for responses to calls that involve potential child neglect, domestic violence, or stalking.

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 33-1315, 33-1318, 33-1414

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Penalty for falsely reporting domestic violence (including obtaining early termination)

• Perpetrator of DV liable to landlord for resulting damages

Arkansas

Ark. Code Ann. § 18-16-112

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Perpetrator of DV liable to landlord for resulting damages

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

California

Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1941.5, 1941.6, 1946.7; Cal. Code Civ. Proc.

§§ 1161, 1161.3

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

• Landlord has limited right to evict the DV victim Miscellaneous provisions: Protection against termination has been expanded to include elder or dependent adults.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-40-104(4), 13-40-107.5(5),

38-12-401, 38-12-402, 38-12-503

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV

situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

Miscellaneous provisions: Legal protections extend to victims of unlawful sexual behavior and stalking, as well as domestic violence. Landlords may not disclose that tenants were victims of such acts, except with permission or as required by law. Landlord may not disclose such facts to tenant’s new address if tenant terminates as permitted by law.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 47a-11e

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

Delaware

Del. Code Ann. tit. 25, §§ 5141(7), 5314(b), 5316

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

District of Columbia

D.C. Code Ann. §§ 2-1402.21, 42-3505.07, 42-3505.08

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord must make reason- able accommodation in restoring or improving security and safety measures that are beyond the landlord’s duty of ordinary care and diligence, when such accommodation is necessary to ensure the tenant’s security and safety (tenant may be billed for the cost).

Florida

No statute

Georgia

No statute

Hawaii

Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 521-80 to 521-82

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Penalty for falsely reporting domestic violence (including obtaining early termination)

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord may not disclose information gathered with respect to tenant’s exercise of rights under these laws, unless the tenant consents in writing, the information is required or relevant in a law- suit, or the disclosure is required by law.

Idaho

No statute

Illinois

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/9-106.2; 765 Ill. Comp. Stat. 750/1 through 750/35

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord may not disclose to others that a tenant has exercised a right under the law; violations expose landlord to damages that result, or $2,000.

Indiana

Ind. Code Ann. §§ 32-31-9-1 through 32-31-9-15

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

Iowa

Iowa Code §§ 562A.27A, 562A.27B, 562B.25A(3)

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• Landlord has limited right to evict the DV victim

Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord can recover from the tenant the cost to repair damage caused by emergency responders called by tenant. Cities cannot impose penalties against residents or landlords, including fines, permit or license revocations, and evictions, when they had a reasonable belief that emergency assistance was necessary, and it was in fact needed.

Kansas

No statute

Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. §§ 383.300, 383.302

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed Perpetrator of DV liable to landlord for resulting damages

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:3261.1

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

Miscellaneous provisions: Statute applies only to multi- family housing of six or more units; does not apply if building has ten or fewer units and one is occupied by the owner.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, §§ 6000, 6001, 6002, 6025

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Perpetrator of DV liable to landlord for resulting damages

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord may terminate and/ or bifurcate the lease with 7 days’ notice when a tenant perpetrates domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (against another tenant, a tenant’s guest, or the landlord or landlord’s employee or agent), and the victim is also a tenant.

Maryland

Md. Real Prop. Law §§ 8-5A-01 through 8-5A-06

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

Massachusetts

186 Mass Gen. Laws §§ 24, 25, 26, and 28

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 554.601b

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 504B.205, 206

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord must keep information about the domestic violence confidential. In a multitenant situation, termination by one tenant terminates the lease of all, though other tenants may reapply to enter into a new lease. All security deposit is forfeited.

Mississippi

No statute

Missouri

No statute

Montana

No statute

Nebraska

No statute

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 118A.345, 118A.347, 118A.510

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Perpetrator of DV liable to landlord for resulting damages

Miscellaneous provisions: Protections extend to victims of harassment, sexual assault, and stalking, as well as domestic violence. Landlord may not disclose the fact of a tenant’s early termination to a prospective landlord; nor may a pro- spective landlord require an applicant to disclose any prior early terminations. Antiretaliation protection extended to tenants who are domestic violence victims or who have terminated a rental agreement pursuant to law.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 540:2.VII

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 46:8-9.5 through 46:8-9.12

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

New Mexico

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 47-8-33(J)

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

New York

N.Y. Real Prop. Law §§ 227-c(2) and 227d; N.Y. Real Prop. Acts. Law § 744; N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.13(1); N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 240(3)

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV. Early termination right for DV victim

• Penalty for falsely reporting domestic violence (including obtaining early termination)

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease Miscellaneous provisions: Anti-discrimination protection and eviction protection do not apply to owner-occupied buildings with two or fewer units.

North Carolina

N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-40, 42-42.2, 42-42.3, 42-45.1

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 47-16-17.1

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim Miscellaneous provisions: Landlord may not disclose information provided by a tenant that documents domestic violence. Landlords who violate the provisions providing early termination are subject to damages including actual damages, $1,000, reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs, and disbursements.

Ohio

No statute

Oklahoma

No statute

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 90.449, 90.453, 90.456, 90.459

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

• Landlord has limited right to evict the DV victim

Pennsylvania

No statute

Rhode Island

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 34-37-1 through 34-37-4

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

South Carolina

No statute

South Dakota

No statute

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 66-7-109(e), 66-28-517(g)

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

• Landlord has limited right to evict the DV victim Miscellaneous provisions: The rights granted under this law do not apply when the perpetrator is a child or dependent of any tenant. Landlord may evict a victim who allows an ousted perpetrator to return to the premises.

Texas

Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §§ 92.015, 92.016, 92.0161

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

Miscellaneous provisions: Tenant who exercises termination rights will be released from any delinquent rent unless the lease includes a clause that specifically describes tenants’ rights in domestic violence situations. Landlord may not prohibit or limit a tenant’s right to call police or other emergency assistance, based on the tenant’s reasonable belief that such help is necessary.

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 57-22-5.1

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Lease cannot prohibit calling the police in a DV situation or otherwise penalize DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

Vermont

15 Vt. Stat. Ann. § 1103(c)(2)(B)

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease

Va. Code Ann. §§ 55-225.5, 55-225.16, 55-248.18:1,

55-248.21:2, 55-248.31(D)

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV victim has the right to have the locks changed

• Landlord or court may bifurcate the lease Miscellaneous provisions: Right to change locks extends to “authorized occupants” (someone entitled to occupy a dwelling unit with the consent of the landlord, but who has not signed the rental agreement and does not have the financial obligations as a tenant under the rental agreement). Tenant/victim’s right to continued possession when perpetrator is ousted does not apply if perpetrator returns to the premises and tenant fails to notify landlord.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 59.18.570, 59.18.575, 59.18.580,

59.18.585, 59.18.352, 59.18.130(8)(b)(ii)

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

West Virginia

No statute

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 106.50(5m)(d)

• Landlord cannot refuse to rent to victim of DV

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• DV is an affirmative defense to an eviction lawsuit

• Landlord has limited right to evict the DV victim

Wyoming

Wyo. Stat. §§ 1-21-1301 to 1-21-1304

• Lease cannot include a waiver of some or all DV rights

• Landlord entitled to proof of DV status

• Landlord cannot terminate a victim of DV

• Early termination right for DV victim

• Landlord has limited right to evict the DV victim

Updated: November 2017

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