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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 14, 2015 03:14 PM
From: Representative Madeleine Dean
To: All House members
Subject: Rental Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
In the near future I intend to introduce legislation to amend the Act of April 6, 1951 (P.L.69, 20), known as the Landlord and Tenant Act, to provide statutory protections for a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and needs to change the locks to their doors, or to prematurely terminate their lease for safety reasons.

Domestic violence is an insidious problem that too many people suffer. One in four women and one in seven men will be the victim of violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In 2014 alone, 141 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to domestic violence.

Over sixty percent of domestic violence takes place in the home; victims of abuse are often subjected to physical violence, threats, harassment, stalking, and vandalism.

Separating a domestic violence or sexual assault survivor from his or her abuser is a first step for many victims. Once that occurs, victims and their family must take quick action to move to a safer location or to change the locks on their apartment.

Unfortunately, financial hardship is one of the leading reasons domestic violence survivors return to or remain in abusive relationships. Survivors who are renters can face fees, damage to their credit and rental histories, and other financial burdens when they find themselves in the position of having to break a lease to move to safer ground—thus forcing survivors to choose between their physical and financial security.

This legislation would give tenants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking the ability to put an end to their lease obligations, without penalty, or have their locks changed within 3 days—at the tenant’s expense—if they decide to stay in the home.

The intent of this legislation is to help curb the cycle of abuse in Pennsylvania by enacting statutory protections for survivors of domestic violence. Please join me in co-sponsoring this importance legislation.

Introduced as HB1051