S.B. 1190 Allows Victims of Violent Crime to Terminate a Lease After a Crime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

September 28, 2020

CONTACT:

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law a bill ensuring all survivors of violent crime and their families are able to seek safe housing in the aftermath of a crime. 

S.B. 1190, authored by Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, the largest network of crime survivors in California and the nation, allows victims of violent crimes and their families and household members to terminate a lease without penalty within the first six months of a crime occurring. The bill also prohibits landlords from discriminating against potential tenants who previously had legally broken a lease. 

Previously, only survivors of domestic violence, stalking, elder abuse or human trafficking were allowed to terminate a lease without penalty if they needed to relocate following a crime. But survivors of other types of violent crime – including gun violence, armed home invasion or co-victims of homicide – did not have those same protections if they needed to relocate. 

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused heightened financial insecurity, it is especially imperative that crime survivors have avenues for relocating without penalties if their safety depends on it. More than 40 percent of respondents to a 2019 statewide poll of crime survivors in California commissioned by Californians for Safety and Justice said they would have wanted emergency or temporary housing following the crime. Only six percent said they received it. Staying in the home may increase the risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and expose survivors to further violence. 

“No one who has been the victim of a violent crime should ever be forced to make an untenable choice between their physical or emotional safety and the long term financial consequences of breaking a lease, said Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “The security of a stable and safe home is a fundamental human need that becomes even more important following a violent crime. Penalizing survivors of violent crime whose safety requires immediate relocation only exacerbates cycles of crime and re-victimization. We are deeply grateful that Gov. Newsom has signed this bill and enshrined into law a more comprehensive approach to public safety that will help make sure all survivors of violent crime are able to seek safe places to live.”