New law protects domestic violence victims - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

New law protects domestic violence victims

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Victims of domestic violence who are renting now have a way to legally get out of their lease.

The law allows renters, who are  victims of domestic violence, to break a lease for the benefit of their safety.

The Director of Crisis at Family Support Services, Terri Barker, says many landlords in our area were already allowing victims of domestic violence to break their lease.

She says this law will benefit those who are struggling financially.

"When you think a lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and if they have a 6 months lease and they are not safe in that apartment ... what are they going to do? They still have to pay that 6 months rent. So they didn't have a lot of options until this came through to give them some relief on that."

A lawyer that deals with many domestic violence cases, April Palmer, says it's important for the community to know this law has passed.

"It is very important for us as a community to make sure that the word gets out and that we educate all of the community on how a person gets out of a lease and what is required."

Palmer says being able to break a lease is just one more thing to help a victim of domestic violence get out of a bad situation.

"I mean I have represented plenty of people who couldn't get out of a situation because her name was on the lease or his name was on the lease, or the person being abused and they didn't want to leave because their name was on the lease. And they felt like they couldn't and had to stay."

Family Support Services say they have a legal advocate who stays on top of these laws for anyone needing more information on how to break a lease.

There are some stipulations to ensure the law is not taken advantage of.

The renter will have to show proof of domestic violence such as showing a signed protection order from a judge to a landlord.

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