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Madden/Redd Bill To Allow Domestic Violence Victims To Break Leases Is Now Law

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Dana L. Redd, which allows domestic violence victims to break leases early without penalty, has been signed into law by Governor Corzine.

“The signing of this bill will work to help protect domestic violence victims around the state, who, because of fear, insecurity or financial issues, still reside with their abusers,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “By allowing them to break their leases early and ‘get out,’ they will be able to leave their abusers and get a fresh start.”

“For too many domestic violence victims, safety and self-sufficiency seem too far out of reach,” said Senator Redd, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This law now provides them with a way out, without reducing their chances of being able to secure new housing because they have a broken lease on their credit record.”

Under the new law, S-1894, any joint lease will expire 30 days after a landlord receives written notice of a domestic violence victim’s need to move. “Written notice” includes a current restraining order or police report.

Any co-tenants will be permitted to make a new lease with the landlord.

The law also provides a procedure for victims to follow to recover a security deposit, without having to return to the property or provide a forwarding address. Security deposits will be returned within 15 days of the termination of the lease. Victims and landlords may choose to have the municipal clerk return the deposit. Landlords and municipal clerks are prohibited from disclosing a victim’s personal information.

This measure was unanimously approved by the full Senate on October 23. #

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