Sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, nationally groundbreaking bill would enable survivors to relocate without penalty 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Feb. 21, 2020

CONTACT:
Tien Tran, Senator Durazo Senate Fellow, (916)651-4024; tien.tran@sen.ca.gov

Will Matthews, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; will@safeandjust.org 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Last week, Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) on Thursday introduced legislation that would help ensure the safety and security of all survivors of violent crime by enabling them to relocate without penalty. 

The bill, SB 1190 (Durazo), would enable all victims of violent crimes and their families to terminate a lease without penalty within 180 days of the crime having occurred. The measure is sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, a national network of over 40,000 crime survivors whose local chapters and members make up California’s largest statewide group of crime victims. 

“We should protect the rights of tenants, especially tenants experiencing the most vulnerable of circumstances,” said Durazo. “SB 1190 would extend relocation benefits to all victims and household members of violent crimes. Fundamental to recovery for these households is finding a stable, safe home.” 

Currently, California law ensures that victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking and  elder or dependent adult abuse and their families can terminate a lease without penalty following the occurrence of the crime. But victims of other violent crimes are not afforded the same protection. 

If signed into law SB 1190 would extend relocation protections to all victims of violent crime and their families and would expand existing forms of acceptable documentation to verify the crime, such as a police report, restraining order, medical or mental health care provider report and certain caseworker reports. 

SB 1190 would also ensure that landlords do not discriminate against tenants by refusing to rent to tenants for having broken a lease subject to their rights in the past. 

After a violent crime, victims and their families face significant challenges to maintaining a stable, safe home and in many circumstances need to quickly relocate. A crime may have occurred inside or near the home, for example, and staying in the victims’ home may increase risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and expose victims to further violence. Not allowing survivors to break a lease without penalty can force them to endure financial and housing insecurity. 

If a crime victim is forced to break their lease, it can lead to legal action against them, affect their credit score, jeopardize the return of their security deposit, and also result in an early termination fee.

“Doing whatever we can to protect survivors of violent crime is key to ensuring the health and security of families and entire communities,” said Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “Preventing survivors from being re-victimized by making sure they have housing stability in the wake of traumatic tragedy is a key piece of a comprehensive approach to community safety and Sen. Durazo should be commended for exercising leadership on behalf of survivors and the safety of all of our neighborhoods.”  

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