Synopsis As Introduced Creates the Safe Homes Act. Provides that a victim of domestic violence or sexual violence has certain rights with respect to the victim's dwelling unit. Provides that, depending upon the circumstances, the victim can obtain relief that includes: requiring that the landlord change the locks, allowing the victim to change the locks if the landlord does not act, terminating the lease, and imposing penalties on a landlord for certain violations. Provides definitions. Places obligations on landlords, tenants, and perpetrators of domestic or sexual violence. Effective immediately.
House Committee Amendment No. 1 Deletes everything and re-inserts provisions creating the Safe Homes Act, with these changes and additions: Adds findings. Adds and changes definitions. Adds certain definitions that apply only to public housing, makes various provisions of the Act applicable to public housing tenants, excludes public housing from the application of various provisions of the Act, and provides that public housing authorities have no obligation to provide certain remedies. Makes various changes regarding nondiscrimination, changing locks, early termination of leases, the right to possession, the right to vacate, and other matters. Provides that, if a court finds that a violation of the Act occurred or is about to occur by an act or omission of the landlord, the court may award to the plaintiff actual damages, attorney's fees, costs, and injunctive and other appropriate relief. Effective immediately.
House Floor Amendment No. 2 Deletes everything after the enacting clause. Reinserts provisions similar to those of House Amendment No. 1, creating the Safe Homes Act, but with changes that include the following: (1) provides that the Act does not apply to public housing, and deletes provisions concerning public housing only; (2) deletes provisions concerning victim protection and nondiscrimination; (3) revises provisions concerning circumstances under which a protected tenant may change the locks on a dwelling unit or terminate the rental agreement early, according to whether the perpetrator of the domestic or sexual violence is a leaseholder; and (4) deletes provisions concerning a non-leaseholder victim's right of possession and a protected tenant's right to vacate following domestic or sexual violence. Effective immediately.
Senate Committee Amendment No. 1 Deletes everything after the enacting clause. Creates the Safe Homes Act. Provides purposes of the Act. Provides definitions of "domestic violence", "landlord", "sexual violence", and "tenant". Provides that in an action by a landlord against a tenant for rent, the tenant has an affirmative defense and is not be liable for rent if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence that (i) at the time the tenant vacated the premises, the tenant or a member of tenant's household was under a credible imminent threat of domestic or sexual violence at the premises, and (ii) the tenant gave notice to the landlord prior to or within 3 days of vacating that the reason for vacating was a credible imminent threat of domestic or sexual violence against the tenant or a member of the tenant's household. Provides in an action by a landlord against a tenant to recover rent for breach of lease, a tenant has an affirmative defense and is not liable for rent if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that (i) tenant or a member of tenant's household was a victim of sexual violence on the premises and the tenant vacated the premises because of the sexual violence; (ii) the tenant gave written notice to the landlord prior to or within 3 days of vacating the premises that the sexual violence was the reason for vacating the premises; (iii) the tenant provided evidence to the landlord supporting the claim of the sexual violence; and (iv) the sexual violence occurred not more than 30 days prior to the date of the written notice to the landlord. Provides that the Act is not a defense against an action for rent for a period of time before the tenant vacated the landlord's premises. Provides procedure as to when locks can be changed by a tenant and when a landlord has a duty to change the locks. Provides that the tenant may seek injunctive relief ordering the landlord to allow the tenant to change the locks. Provides that a tenant who changes locks without giving a copy to the landlord within 48 hours is liable for any damages to the dwelling or building that could have been prevented had landlord had access. Provides that there can be no waiver or modification of the Act's requirements by any agreement. Provides that public housing is excluded.
Senate Floor Amendment No. 2 Deletes everything after the enacting clause. Reinserts provisions similar to those of Senate Amendment No. 1 with the following changes. In the definition of "sexual violence", includes "sexual abuse" (instead of "abuse") and "non-consensual sexual conduct" (instead of "non-consensual conduct"). Redefines "tenant" as a person who has entered into an oral or written lease (instead of a written lease) with a landlord whereby the person is the lessee under the lease. Makes various changes to the tenant's affirmative defenses to a landlord's action for rent. Provides that the Act is not a defense against an action for rent for a period of time before the tenant gave the required notice and vacated the landlord's premises. Adds reasonable attorney's fees and costs to the relief available to a tenant who seeks injunctive relief against the landlord to get the locks changed. Provides that the Act does not apply to public housing assisted under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, except for the tenant-based Housing Choice program, and that public housing includes dwelling units in mixed-finance projects assisted through a public housing authority's funds. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.