30 November 2008
If AB 2052 becomes law, tenants who were a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking may notify the landlord that he/she intends to terminate his or her obligation under a lease. The bill requires the tenant to attach a copy of a temporary restraining order or emergency protective order or a copy of a specified written report by a peace officer to the notice to terminate.
The bill authorizes the tenant to quit the premises and the tenant is discharged from the payment of rent for any period 30 days from the date of the notice. The bill also provides that the notice to terminate the tenancy shall be given in writing within 60 days of the date the order was issued or the report was made and a copy of the temporary restraining order or emergency protective order that was issued to protect the tenant or a copy of the written report by a peace officer employed by a state or local law enforcement agency acting in his or her official capacity stating that the tenant has filed a report alleging that the tenant is a victim.
If the notice to terminate the tenancy is provided to the landlord, the tenant is
responsible for payment of rent for 30 days following the giving of the notice and
thereafter is released from any rent payment without penalty.
AB 2052 does not affect the security deposit and therefore nothing in the bill
relieves a tenant, other than the victim, from their obligations under the rental
Another bill that may be of interest to landlords and tenants is AB 2363. The bill
proposes to authorize the state Sex Offender Management Board to assess and report
on the availability of rental housing for persons that are required to register as
sex offenders and the effect on public safety of making registration or any information disclosed pursuant to the Megan’s Law Internet site that is maintained by the Department of Justice as a basis upon which to refuse to rent to or to terminate the residential tenancy of a registered sex offender. If the Board elected to undertake the assessment, it is to submit its findings within 30 days of their adoption.
The Sex Offender Management Board is established under the Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation. The board is charged with addressing issues and
problems related to the community management of adult sex offenders. The main
objective of that board is to achieve safer communities by reducing victimization.
An analysis of housing may very well be appropriate and here is why:
- Since the passage of Megan’s Law and community notification procedures, sex offender housing has become more difficult to find and keep. Proliferation of websites listing addresses and pictures of offenders has resulted in landlords becoming more hesitant to rent to sex offenders because of civil liability issues if the offenders were to re-offend in the proximity of the rental property.
- Following the recent passage of Jessica’s Law in 2006 housing options for offenders have become more limited because of the residency restrictions.
- Current research observes that suitable and stable housing for sex offenders is critical to reducing recidivism and increasing community safety.
- During the past few years the legislature has considered a number of bills relating to the duties of landlords with respect to registered sex offenders as tenants or prospective tenants because some landlord organizations believe that the law does not allow landlords to deny or terminate housing to a registered sex offender, despite the recent Attorney General’s Opinion on this matter.