Victims of domestic violence will be able to break their rental agreements early without fear of being financially penalized by their landlords.
Gov. Janet Napolitano on Tuesday signed into law a piece of legislation that victims’ rights groups tout as an addition level of protection for those who have been abused in their homes.
“We’re incredibly happy about this. It’s been six years in the making,” said Chris Groninger, a spokeswoman for the
Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Starting this summer, victims who can show their landlords an order of protection or a police report detailing domestic abuse can end their lease without paying addition fees. The new law takes effect 91 days after the end of the legislative session.
Groninger said the new law was needed to protect victims financially as well as physically.
She said that many victims can’t afford to leave their home and are left vulnerable because their abusers know where they live.
If they chose to leave without paying, it could inflict long term damage to their credit rating.
The measure had passed with strong support in the Senate and the House, despite opposition from groups representing state landlords. They had argued that renters could take advantage of the bill and break their leases early.
The bill was among 21 pieces of legislation signed into law Wednesday by Napolitano.
Most were minor technical changes, but other laws that will take affect later this year include measures that regulate American flags in school classrooms and another barring the governor from confiscating weapons during a time of war.