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Understanding Lease Termination Rights For Victims of Abuse

In certain circumstances, tenants have the ability to terminate their existing lease without being held accountable for the remaining term. Civil Code Section 1946.7 provides a framework for tenants to exercise this right, offering protection in cases where the tenant, a household member, or an immediate family member has been a victim of specified acts.

Conditions for Termination

Tenants can initiate the termination process by notifying the landlord if they have experienced acts such as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, abuse of an elder or dependent adult, a crime causing bodily injury or death, a crime involving a firearm or deadly weapon, or a crime using force or threats.

Termination Notice Requirements

For the termination to be valid, the tenant must provide a written notice that includes evidence of domestic violence. This formal communication sets the process in motion, allowing the tenant to end the tenancy under the provisions of Section 1946.7.

Rent Payment Responsibility

Upon termination, the tenant is responsible for paying rent for a maximum of 14 calendar days after giving the notice. Alternatively, a shorter period specified in Section 1946, the lease, or rental agreement may apply. If the premises are relet to another party before the rent obligation ends, the owed rent is prorated, providing flexibility for both parties.

Security Deposit and Advance Rent

Irrespective of other legal provisions, the landlord is prohibited from demanding the tenant forfeit any security deposit or advance rent due to the termination. This ensures that tenants facing such circumstances are not subjected to additional financial burdens beyond their control.

Lease Agreement Considerations

Terminating a rental agreement under this section does not constitute a breach of the lease or rental agreement for any purpose related to the termination. However, the standard laws governing security deposits still apply in all other aspects, ensuring fair and consistent treatment in line with existing regulations.

Understanding the rights outlined in Civil Code Section 1946.7 empowers tenants to take necessary steps in situations involving personal safety, providing a legal framework that balances the interests of both tenants and landlords.