Bill Text: NY A04267 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for the termination of a residential lease by a victim of domestic violence; further provides for the lease termination procedure; allows the tenants to pay rent, pro-rata, up to the lease termination date; imposes a civil penalty; makes related provisions.

Spectrum: Strong Partisan Bill (Democrat 31-2)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-05-14 - REFERRED TO JUDICIARY [A04267 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A04267-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          4267
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 1, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A.  HEVESI,  ENGLEBRIGHT, L. ROSENTHAL, GUNTHER,
          ARROYO, ROZIC, LAVINE, GIGLIO, D'URSO, GALEF, JOYNER,  SIMON,  RIVERA,
          TAYLOR,  HUNTER,  SEAWRIGHT,  BICHOTTE,  MOSLEY,  NIOU, ORTIZ, BARRON,
          WILLIAMS, RICHARDSON, GOTTFRIED, EPSTEIN,  WRIGHT  --  read  once  and
          referred to the Committee on Housing
        AN ACT to amend the real property law, in relation to the termination of
          a  residential  lease  by a victim of domestic violence; and to repeal
          certain provisions of such law relating thereto
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Section  227-c of the real property law is REPEALED and a
     2  new section 227-c is added to read as follows:
     3    § 227-c. Termination of  residential  lease  by  victims  of  domestic
     4  violence.   1. Lease or rental agreement.  In any lease or rental agree-
     5  ment covering premises occupied for dwelling purposes, where a tenant or
     6  a member of the tenant's household is a victim of domestic  violence  as
     7  defined  by section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law
     8  and reasonably fears remaining in  the  leasehold  premises  because  of
     9  potential  further  domestic violence, such tenant shall be permitted to
    10  terminate  such  lease  or  rental  agreement  and  quit  and  surrender
    11  possession  of the leasehold premises and the land so leased or occupied
    12  pursuant to the provisions of this section and to be released  from  any
    13  liability  to pay to the lessor or owner, rent or other payments in lieu
    14  of rent for the time subsequent to the date of termination of such lease
    15  in accordance with subdivision two of this section.
    16    2. Lease termination procedure.  (a) A tenant who meets  the  require-
    17  ments  in subdivision one of this section may terminate his or her lease
    18  by notice in writing delivered to the lessor or owner  of  the  premises
    19  occupied by such person, or to the lessor's or owner's agent, and to any
    20  co-tenants of such lessee or tenant other than the perpetrator of domes-
    21  tic  violence. The notice shall specify the termination date which shall
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD01057-01-9

        A. 4267                             2
     1  be no earlier than thirty days after such notice is  delivered.  If  the
     2  notice is mailed via first class mail, it shall be deemed delivered five
     3  days  after  mailing.  If the tenant asserts that the lessor or owner is
     4  the  perpetrator of domestic violence, a person authorized by the tenant
     5  may deliver such notice on the tenant's behalf.
     6    (b) Such notice shall state  that  the  tenant  or  a  member  of  the
     7  tenant's  household  has  experienced  domestic  violence and reasonably
     8  believes he or she, or the member of the tenant's household,  is  unable
     9  to  safely  remain  in  the  leased premises as a result of the domestic
    10  violence.
    11    (c) Within twenty-five days of such notice, the tenant  shall  provide
    12  documentation  demonstrating that the tenant or a member of the tenant's
    13  household has been a victim of domestic violence as described in  subdi-
    14  vision  one  of  this section. This documentation may include any one or
    15  more of the following:
    16    (i) A temporary or final order of protection  issued  by  a  court  of
    17  competent jurisdiction;
    18    (ii)  A  record,  complaint, or report from a federal, state, or local
    19  law enforcement agency of an act of domestic violence  as  described  in
    20  section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law or a family
    21  offense as described in section eight hundred twelve of the family court
    22  act, or certifying that the tenant or a member of the tenant's household
    23  has been subjected to domestic violence;
    24    (iii)  A  record  from a health care provider for treatment related to
    25  domestic violence as described in section four hundred  fifty-nine-a  of
    26  the  social  services  law  or  a family offense as described in section
    27  eight hundred twelve of the family court act;
    28    (iv) A written verification from any other qualified  third  party  to
    29  whom  the  tenant,  or  a  member of the tenant's household reported the
    30  domestic violence.
    31    (A) "Qualified third party" shall include: any law  enforcement  offi-
    32  cer;  employee  of  a  court of the state; attorney, physician, psychia-
    33  trist, psychologist, social  worker,  registered  nurse,  therapist,  or
    34  clinical  professional  counselor  licensed  to  practice  in any state;
    35  person employed by a government or non-profit  agency  or  service  that
    36  advises  or provides services to persons regarding domestic violence; or
    37  any member of the clergy of a church or  religious  society  or  denomi-
    38  nation.
    39    (B) Written verification as described herein shall be satisfied by any
    40  sworn or notarized statement including the required information.
    41    (C)  The following sample form shall satisfy the verification require-
    42  ments but is not required. This sample form shall be posted to  the  New
    43  York  state  unified court system's website, and shall be made available
    44  in the state's family, civil, housing, criminal, and supreme courts:
    45  Part I. Tenant/Legal Occupant Statement
    46  I, (insert name of tenant), state as follows:
    47  (Choose the next part (A, B, or C) that most accurately  describes  your
    48  situation)
    49  (A)  I  have  been  subject  to  domestic  violence.  Date(s)  of recent
    50  incident(s) happened on or about:

        A. 4267                             3
     1  (B) A member of my household has  been  subject  to  domestic  violence.
     2  Date(s) of recent incident(s) happened on or about:
     3  (C)  Both I and at least one member of my household have been subject to
     4  domestic violence. Date(s) of recent incident(s) happened on or about:
     5  The person I have asserted  has  perpetrated  domestic  violence  is  my
     6  co-tenant,  and  I  cannot  safely  give  notice of my termination to my
     7  co-tenant. (YES/NO)
     8  I reasonably fear that I cannot safely remain in my current apartment. I
     9  hereby terminate my lease effective (date at least thirty days after the
    10  next rent payment is due).
    11  _______________________        ___________
    12  (signature of tenant)          (date)
    13                                 Acknowledgement
    14  State of _____________________)
    15                                )ss.:
    16  County of ____________________)
    17  On the ______ day of __________ in the year _____, before me, the under-
    18  signed  notary  public,  personally  appeared   _______________________,
    19  personally  known  to  me  or  proved to me on the basis of satisfactory
    20  evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is  (are)  subscribed  to
    21  the  within  instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
    22  the same in  his/her/their  capacity(ies),  and  that  by  his/her/their
    23  signature(s)  on  the  instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon
    24  behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument.
    25  _________________________
    26  Notary Public
    27  Part II. Qualified Third Party Statement
    28  I, (insert name of qualified third party), state as follows:
    29  My employer name/address/phone number/e-mail address are as follows:
    30  I am:
    31  ____ A law enforcement officer employed by the (insert  law  enforcement
    32       agency).
    33  ____ An  employee  of  __________________________  court  located in the
    34       state of _______________.
    35  ____ An attorney licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
    36  ____ A physician licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
    37  ____ A psychiatrist licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
    38  ____ A psychologist licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
    39  ____ A social worker licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
    40  ____ A nurse licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).

        A. 4267                             4
     1  ____ A therapist or clinical professional counselor licensed to practice
     2       in (insert name of state(s));
     3  ____ Employed  by  a  government  or  non-profit  agency or service that
     4       advises persons regarding  domestic  violence  or  refers  them  to
     5       persons or agencies for services or advice.
     6  ____ A  member of the clergy of a church or religious society or denomi-
     7       nation.
     8  ____ Other (describe):_________________________________________________
     9  The person who signed the  Tenant/Legal  Occupant  Statement  above  has
    10  stated  to  me  that he or she, or a member of his or her household, has
    11  been subject to domestic violence.
    12  This person further stated to me the incident(s) occurred  on  or  about
    13  the date(s) stated above.
    14  I understand that the person who signed the Tenant/Legal Occupant State-
    15  ment  may  use this document as a basis for terminating a lease with the
    16  person's lessor.
    17  __________________________________________
    18  (name of qualified third party)
    19  __________________________________________
    20  (signature of qualified third party)
    21  ______________
    22  (date)
    23                                 Acknowledgement
    24  State of ______________________)
    25                                 )ss.:
    26  County of _____________________)
    27  On the _______ day of ___________ in the  year  _____,  before  me,  the
    28  undersigned        notary        public,       personally       appeared
    29  _________________________, personally known to me or proved to me on the
    30  basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s)  is
    31  (are)  subscribed  to  the within instrument and acknowledged to me that
    32  he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their capacity(ies),  and  that
    33  by  his/her/their  signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or
    34  the person upon behalf of which the individual(s)  acted,  executed  the
    35  instrument.
    36  ____________________________________________
    37  Notary Public
    38  Part III. Statement of Interpretation/Translation

        A. 4267                             5
     1  I am bilingual in English and ____________ and have translated or inter-
     2  preted this document to the best of my ability for the signer above.
     3  _________________________________________
     4  (name of interpreter/translator)
     5  _________________________________________
     6  (signature of interpreter/translator)
     7  ___________________
     8  (date)
     9                               Acknowledgement
    10  State of ______________________)
    11                                 )ss.:
    12  County of _____________________)
    13  On  the  _______  day  of  ___________ in the year _____, before me, the
    14  undersigned  notary  public,   personally   appeared   ________________,
    15  personally  known  to  me  or  proved to me on the basis of satisfactory
    16  evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is  (are)  subscribed  to
    17  the  within  instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
    18  the same in  his/her/their  capacity(ies),  and  that  by  his/her/their
    19  signature(s)  on  the  instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon
    20  behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument.
    21  ____________________________________________
    22  Notary Public
    23    3. Treatment of rent.  (a) The tenant terminating the lease shall  pay
    24  rent,  pro-rata,  up  to  the  lease  termination  date pursuant to this
    25  section.
    26    (b) The tenant terminating the lease shall be entitled to a refund for
    27  any prepaid rent or other payments covering the period after the  effec-
    28  tive  date  of  the lease termination, as long as the tenant has vacated
    29  the premises. Such refund shall be provided within ten days of  delivery
    30  of the written notice as outlined in subdivision two of this section.
    31    (c)  A  tenant  who  meets the requirements in subdivision one of this
    32  section and submits proper notice pursuant to subdivision  two  of  this
    33  section shall have a defense in any action brought by a landlord against
    34  such tenant to recover rent and/or damages for breach of lease and shall
    35  not be liable for any rent after the effective termination date.
    36    (d)  The lessor or owner may withhold a security deposit in part or in
    37  full to the extent allowed by the lease or statute, except for the early
    38  termination granted by this section, and shall not withhold any part  of
    39  the  security  deposit due to the tenant's exercise of rights under this
    40  section.
    41    (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to be a defense against
    42  an action for rent for a period of time before the  tenant  vacated  the
    43  premises and gave notice as required in subdivision two of this section.
    44    4. Co-tenants and other occupants. Upon termination:

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     1    (a)  If  the  terminating tenant is the sole leaseholder, the premises
     2  shall be delivered to the lessor or owner:
     3    (i)  free  of all tenants and occupants, provided that the terminating
     4  tenant shall not be responsible for ensuring that the abusive  household
     5  member is not present; and
     6    (ii) in accordance with the terms of the lease relating to delivery of
     7  the premises at the termination of the lease.
     8    (b)  If  there  are  tenants  on  the lease other than the terminating
     9  tenant:
    10    (i) the landlord shall not, except upon  consent  of  such  additional
    11  tenants,  terminate  or  sever the co-tenancy. The landlord must provide
    12  the remaining tenant at least thirty days from the termination  date  to
    13  decide whether to consent to a termination or severance.
    14    (ii)  The  remaining  co-tenant or co-tenants hold the right to add an
    15  additional occupant as defined by paragraph (b) of  subdivision  one  of
    16  section two hundred thirty-five-f of this article.
    17    5.  Confidentiality  provisions.    (a)  Unless the terminating tenant
    18  provides written authorization for the release of information or  unless
    19  required  by  law, court order, or statute, the information shall not be
    20  released.  Information that shall be  kept  confidential  shall  include
    21  information obtained during the process of the tenant terminating his or
    22  her  lease  in  accordance with this section, such as: (i) the nature of
    23  the termination, (ii) the status of the tenant or member of the tenant's
    24  household as a victim of domestic violence, and  (iii)  any  information
    25  contained in documentation provided to demonstrate status as a victim of
    26  domestic violence.
    27    (b)  Pursuant  to  this  section,  the  landlord  shall  not  divulge,
    28  describe, or characterize the termination of the rental agreement as  an
    29  early  termination  by  a  current lessor to a prospective lessor or any
    30  third party.
    31    6. Violations.  (a) Landlords who knowingly, or intentionally  violate
    32  any  part  of  this section may be liable for liquidated damages, not to
    33  exceed one thousand dollars, actual damages, costs and attorneys' fees.
    34    (b) Any agreement by a lessee  or  tenant  of  premises  occupied  for
    35  dwelling purposes waiving or modifying his or her rights as set forth in
    36  this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.
    37    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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