Early Termination of a Lease After Acts of Domestic Violence.
Arizona law provides many rights for victims of crimes. Victims of domestic violence have even more rights, and as a family law attorney, I am always eager to help crime victims learn about rights they did not know existed.
Like many states, Arizona has enacted a Victims Bill of Rights. Article 2 §2.1 of the Arizona Constitution grants a victim specific rights in the criminal proceedings against the perpetrator. Arizona law also gives a victim of domestic violence rights in certain civil matters as well. One such right is the early termination of a residential lease. If you are a victim of domestic violence, Arizona Revised Statutes § 33-1318 gives you the right to terminate your lease early. In order to do so:
- You must provide written notice to your landlord, along with a copy of either a protective order or a law enforcement report related to the incident.
- The acts of domestic violence must have occurred within 30 days of the notice to your landlord.
Whether the crime is defined as “domestic violence” is governed by statute. If you have questions about whether the crime committed against you was domestic violence, an attorney can help you determine whether it is and what rights will apply.
If you have paid a security deposit, your landlord cannot withhold your deposit simply because you have ended the lease early under Section 33-1318, though the security deposit can be withheld for other reasons.
If you choose to stay at your leased residence rather than terminating your lease early, you also have the option to require the landlord to install a new lock. You need only pay for the cost of installation.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence, it is crucial that you take measures to ensure your safety. An experienced family law attorney can provide you with options which you might not know exist, such as terminating your lease early in order to move to a safer location. Should you find yourself in need of help with any domestic violence matters, please call our after-hours line at: (480) 833-2341. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to assist you.