How Sexual Assault Lawyers Can Help Rape Victims Trapped In Their Leases

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Rape and sexual assault are terrible things for anyone to go through. Imagine if the experience was dragged out because you had to live near your abuser.  This is something that has happened in Arizona, and until recently women who were assaulted had no real option for getting away in that kind of case.

One Arizona woman who was raped by a neighbor, then unable to move because she was still held to her lease, worked with Arizona lawmakers to change the statute that requires a tenant to pay a fee to break a lease. In some cases, that fee could be thousands of dollars, which made moving a financial impossibility for a lot of people.  The law already had a clause that allowed domestic abuse victims to break their leases, and now it has been expanded to allow sexual assault victims to break their leases without being liable for a termination fee. The new legislation came into effect in August 2018, and now rape and sexual assault victims have an option for getting out of their leases.

 

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Sadly, not all landlords are reputable, and some may try to fight against a person who is looking to break their lease. If that happens, then having a good attorney can be helpful. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, is here to help those who are struggling with the aftermath of such events.

It has been a long road for victims of sexual abuse. Of course, lawmakers want to ensure that the system is not exploited, and there are clear processes to follow.  To break the lease, a victim is required to provide a police report, or a copy of a protective order, to the landlord, and they must put in the request to break the lease within 30 days of the alleged incident, unless the landlord agrees to allow more time than that.

Under the legislation, a property manager can pursue the abuser for the costs associated with breaking the lease, if the person is named in the report.

Time to Heal

The hope is that the new system will give victims the opportunity to heal. Often, an abuser is someone that is known to the victim, and there is the persistent fear that the attacker will return and repeat their acts. This can make it hard for the person to move on.  Having the chance to leave their old home behind and make a fresh start somewhere can help to speed up the healing process.

Act Quickly if You Wish to Break Your Lease

If you want to leave and break your lease, then you should tell your landlord that you wish to do so under Arizona Revised Statute 33-1318. Any roommates can sign a new agreement, as long as they are not the perpetrator. You can have your locks changed while you stay, but you will need to pay for this. Your landlord cannot charge a termination fee for you leaving under these circumstances. If they try to do so, seek legal advice.