Lease Protections in Domestic Violence Situations
Colorado law provides some housing protections for victims of domestic violence, unlawful sexual behavior and stalking in Colorado. A tenant can terminate a lease early if he or she obtains a protection order or provides other proof of domestic violence related to safety in the housing. Usually the protected party shares housing with the other, however that is not always the case. With stalking, it is even less relevant whether the parties share the housing if the victim has concerns about safety in the residence.
Safety and financial security are essential for survivors of domestic and sexual violence to move past their negative experience. It can take a good amount of time to achieve a feeling of security after a domestic violence incident. A survivor’s ability to relocate for safety reasons without the financial consequences of eviction is important. The statute also protects landlords as well.Tenant Protection
Upon provision of a protection order or some other evidence of domestic violence to the landlord, a tenant can vacate the residence; though is still obligated to pay one month's rent and is then released from the remainder of the lease obligation. The rent must be paid within 90 days of leaving the premises. Providing a protection order is not absolutely necessary, however can be helpful in establishing domestic violence to the landlord as it is easier for the landlord to understand than a police report. The protection order is a court determination that domestic violence has occurred. However, it is also possible just to provide a copy of a police report. The police report or protection order must have been issued within 60 days prior to presentation.
Other documents that can be provided if there is no police report or protection order are a statement from a medical professional or an application for assistance to the address confidentiality program. The reason why other forms of evidence can suffice is that there are many reasons why victims do not report domestic violence to the police or seek a protection order. Survivors are further protected by the fact that landlords cannot terminate a lease due to domestic violence. Any provision in a lease to the contrary is void. That means that if the survivor would like to stay in the residence despite the domestic violence, he or she may do so.Landlord Protection
Landlords are also protected under the statute. Landlords depend on rental income for the viability of a rental business. The landlord is entitled to one month's rent after the date of notification of the domestic violence. This is intended to compensate the landlord for the short-notice departure from the property. The landlord will have expenses to rerent the property before the normal course of lease termination. In addition, the tenant is still obligated to pay for any damages to the premises and the security deposit can be withheld to cover the expense as with any rental arrangement.Janko Law - Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
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