or because the domestic violence violated some terms of her lease,because there had been a dangerous act committed in her unit, or because the domestic violence violated some terms of her lease.
Ordinarily, in these jurisdictions, the victim must provide a police report or some other form of documentation proving her status as a domestic violence victim. After she has successfully invoked the statute, the landlord is not allowed to evict the victim.
Moreover, sometimes tenants do a disservice to victims by attempting to punish them for calling for help. In response, at least six states prohibit landlords from limiting victims’ access to police assistance: Arizona, Colorado, Washington D.C., Minnesota, Texas, and Wisconsin. In these states, the tenant has the absolute right to summon emergency assistance, including emergency medical or police assistance.
Many victim advocates recommend changing the locks to some victim’s home as part of a safety plan. At least ten jurisdictions (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Washington D.C., Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington) have laws that either permit the victim to change the locks on her home or require the landlord to change locks on the victim’s home. If the victim is married to the perpetrator, it is common to require the victim to provide proof that she has a protection order against the perpetrator before the landlord can change the locks. Regardless, the ability to change the locks on her home provides the victim with greater peace of mind and better safety in these situations.
Many victim advocates also recommend moving to another home or apartment as part of the victim’s safety plan. Fortunately, at least fourteen jurisdictions (Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington) have enacted laws which allow victims of domestic violence to terminate their leases early.
Although all of these state laws provide additional protection to victims, it is hard to ignore the fact that, in the majority of states, the protection is only provided if the victim is an intimate partner or former intimate partner of the perpetrator. Often, victims of sexual violence perpetrated by strangers are afforded no more protection than they are by federal law.