Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence: Can I Break My Lease for My Safety?

Domestic violence can also be called “intimate partner violence” because it often is caused by a person that is intimate with the victim, such as a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or ex.

Domestic Violence Abuser

When a partner is intimate, and knows where you live, no doubt a victim of domestic violence would want to move. But what happens when that victim is stuck in a lease their landlord won’t let them break? And even worse, what happens when the abuser lives in the same complex?

California Civil Code section 1946.7 – Protecting Domestic Violence Victims

Under California Civil Code section 1946.7, a tenant dealing with domestic violence issues (or human trafficking) has special lease termination rights when it comes to a landlord-tenant context. Under this code, a domestic violence victim has the right to pursue an early lease termination by providing a landlord with a written 30-day termination notice as well as a copy of the domestic violence report he or she has filed with the police. As an alternative to this, a tenant is able to submit documentation from a third party that states the victim is seeking assistance for physical or emotional injuries that are the result of a domestic violence act, or an official restraining order that has been signed by a judge. Another alternative is a document equivalent to a protective order.

Pay Rent

While you will be able to legally break your lease, you will still need to pay rent for the 30 days prior to vacating. Filing an early lease termination under this order has to be done within the 60 days following of the domestic violence incident. You will need to act quickly if you notice the deadline is approaching quickly in order to ensure your safety. If you run into issues with your landlord, you might want to consider contacting a local fair housing, mediation program, or a qualified domestic violence attorney.


Source: Los Angeles Times, Q&A Can domestic violence victim break lease to avoid abuser?, October 19, 2014

Divorce Law LA, Esq.

Divorce Law LA

33 S. Catalina Ave. Ste. 202

Pasadena, Ca. 91106

(626) 478-3550