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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 8, 2017 09:22 AM
From: Representative Madeleine Dean
To: All House members
Subject: Rental Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence (Former HB1051)
In the near future I intend to re-introduce legislation amending 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. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) estimates that 131 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to domestic violence in 2015 alone.

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.

Sadly, 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 allow a tenant to terminate their lease early if they or an immediate family member are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, without penalty, or have their locks changed – at the tenant’s expense – if they decide to stay in the home. For early release to occur, the tenant must provide their landlord with written notice indicating a termination day, which must be at least 30 days after the submission of the written notice.

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 HB890