New Statute Permits Lease Release For Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking
On October 5th, Governor Granholm signed 2010 PA 199 (SB 185), which permits a tenant who is at risk of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to be released from a rental obligation. A copy of the statute is attached.
The tenant seeking release must provide notice of "intent to seek a release and written documentation that the tenant has a reasonable apprehension of present danger to the tenant or his or her child from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking."
Documentation includes a PPO, criminal "no-contact" order, police report that resulted in a criminal charge filed within 14 days of this notice, or a form submitted by a qualified third party verifying a threat of present danger. A qualified third party includes a domestic violence or sexual assault counselor, health professional (medical or mental health), or clergy member. [But see specific definitions in the statute].
Upon submitting the documentation, the tenant will be released from her obligation to pay rent on the first day of the second month that rent is due after notice is given. The release takes effect when the tenant vacates the premises.
Landlords must provide notice of this new right either in rental agreements, a notice posted in the in the property management office or a notice delivered to tenants upon signing a lease. Landlords are also prohibited from releasing a tenant's forwarding address to the person identified as the source of the threat.
Finally, the new law only applied to leases entered into, renewed or renegotiated after the effective date of this act, which is Oct 5, 2010. A copy of the new act can be found here: