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.
STATE OF NEW YORK
Cal. No. 293
2019-2020 Regular Sessions
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, BLAKE, McDONALD,
WALCZYK, BUTTENSCHON, WALLACE, CRUZ, REYES -- read once and referred
to the Committee on Housing -- reported and referred to the Committee
on Codes -- advanced to a third reading, passed by Assembly and deliv-
ered to the Senate, recalled from the Senate, vote reconsidered, bill
amended, ordered reprinted, retaining its place on the order of third
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 Section 227-c of the real property law is REPEALED and a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.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 4267--A 2
1 2. Lease termination procedure. (a) A tenant who meets the require-
2 ments in subdivision one of this section may terminate the tenant's
3 lease by notice in writing delivered to the lessor or owner of the prem-
4 ises occupied by such person, or to the lessor's or owner's agent, and
5 to any co-tenants of such lessee or tenant other than the perpetrator of
6 domestic violence. The notice shall specify the termination date which
7 shall be no earlier than thirty days after such notice is delivered. If
8 the notice is mailed via first class mail, it shall be deemed delivered
9 five days after mailing. If the tenant asserts that the lessor or owner
10 is the perpetrator of domestic violence, a person authorized by the
11 tenant may deliver such notice on the tenant's behalf.
12 (b) Such notice shall state that the tenant or a member of the
13 tenant's household has experienced domestic violence and reasonably
14 believes the tenant, or the member of the tenant's household, is unable
15 to safely remain in the leased premises as a result of the domestic
17 (c) Within twenty-five days of such notice, the tenant shall provide
18 documentation demonstrating that the tenant or a member of the tenant's
19 household has been a victim of domestic violence as described in subdi-
20 vision one of this section. This documentation may include any one or
21 more of the following:
22 (i) A temporary or final order of protection issued by a court of
23 competent jurisdiction;
24 (ii) A record, complaint, or report from a federal, state, or local
25 law enforcement agency of an act of domestic violence as described in
26 section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law or a family
27 offense as described in section eight hundred twelve of the family court
28 act, or certifying that the tenant or a member of the tenant's household
29 has been subjected to domestic violence;
30 (iii) A record from a health care provider for treatment related to
31 domestic violence as described in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of
32 the social services law or a family offense as described in section
33 eight hundred twelve of the family court act;
34 (iv) A written verification from any other qualified third party to
35 whom the tenant, or a member of the tenant's household reported the
36 domestic violence.
37 (A) "Qualified third party" shall include: any law enforcement offi-
38 cer; employee of a court of the state; attorney, physician, psychia-
39 trist, psychologist, social worker, registered nurse, therapist, or
40 clinical professional counselor licensed to practice in any state;
41 person employed by a government or non-profit agency or service that
42 advises or provides services to persons regarding domestic violence; or
43 any member of the clergy of a church or religious society or denomi-
45 (B) Written verification as described herein shall be satisfied by any
46 sworn or notarized statement including the required information.
47 (d) The following sample forms shall satisfy the notice and verifica-
48 tion requirements but are not required. These sample forms shall be
49 posted to the New York state unified court system's website, and shall
50 be made available in the state's family, civil, housing, criminal, and
51 supreme courts:
52 Part I. Tenant/Legal Occupant Statement
53 I, (insert name of tenant), state as follows:
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1 (Choose the next part (A, B, or C) that most accurately describes your
3 (A) I have been subject to domestic violence. Date(s) of recent
4 incident(s) happened on or about:
5 (B) A member of my household has been subject to domestic violence.
6 Date(s) of recent incident(s) happened on or about:
7 (C) Both I and at least one member of my household have been subject to
8 domestic violence. Date(s) of recent incident(s) happened on or about:
9 The person I have asserted has perpetrated domestic violence is my
10 co-tenant, and I cannot safely give notice of my termination to my
11 co-tenant. (YES/NO)
12 I reasonably fear that I cannot safely remain in my current apartment. I
13 hereby terminate my lease effective (date at least thirty days after
14 this notice is delivered).
16 (signature of tenant)(date)
18 State of _____________________)
20 County of ____________________)
21 On the ______ day of __________ in the year _____, before me, the under-
22 signed notary public, personally appeared _______________________,
23 personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory
24 evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is (are) subscribed to
25 the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
26 the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their
27 signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon
28 behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument.
30 Notary Public
31 Part II. Qualified Third Party Statement
32 I, (insert name of qualified third party), state as follows:
33 My employer name/address/phone number/e-mail address are as follows:
34 I am:
35 ____ A law enforcement officer employed by the (insert law enforcement
37 ____ An employee of __________________________ court located in the
38 state of _______________.
39 ____ An attorney licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
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1 ____ A physician licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
2 ____ A psychiatrist licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
3 ____ A psychologist licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
4 ____ A social worker licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
5 ____ A nurse licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).
6 ____ A therapist or clinical professional counselor licensed to practice
7 in (insert name of state(s));
8 ____ Employed by a government or non-profit agency or service that
9 advises persons regarding domestic violence or refers them to
10 persons or agencies for services or advice.
11 ____ A member of the clergy of a church or religious society or denomi-
13 ____ Other (describe):_________________________________________________
14 The person who signed the Tenant/Legal Occupant Statement above has
15 stated to me that he/she/they, or a member of his/her/their household,
16 has been subject to domestic violence.
17 This person further stated to me the incident(s) occurred on or about
18 the date(s) stated above.
19 I understand that the person who signed the Tenant/Legal Occupant State-
20 ment may use this document as a basis for terminating a lease with the
21 person's lessor.
23 (name of qualified third party)
25 (signature of qualified third party)
29 State of ______________________)
31 County of _____________________)
32 On the _______ day of ___________ in the year _____, before me, the
33 undersigned notary public, personally appeared
34 _________________________, personally known to me or proved to me on the
35 basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is
36 (are) subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that
37 he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that
38 by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or
39 the person upon behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the
A. 4267--A 5
1 Notary Public
2 Part III. Statement of Interpretation/Translation
3 I am bilingual in English and ____________ and have translated or inter-
4 preted this document to the best of my ability for the signer above.
6 (name of interpreter/translator)
8 (signature of interpreter/translator)
12 State of ______________________)
14 County of _____________________)
15 On the _______ day of ___________ in the year _____, before me, the
16 undersigned notary public, personally appeared ________________,
17 personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory
18 evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is (are) subscribed to
19 the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
20 the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their
21 signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon
22 behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument.
24 Notary Public
25 3. Treatment of rent. (a) The tenant terminating the lease shall pay
26 rent, pro-rata, up to the lease termination date pursuant to this
28 (b) The tenant terminating the lease shall be entitled to a refund for
29 any prepaid rent or other payments covering the period after the effec-
30 tive date of the lease termination, as long as the tenant has vacated
31 the premises. Such refund shall be provided within ten days of delivery
32 of the written notice as outlined in subdivision two of this section.
33 (c) A tenant who meets the requirements in subdivision one of this
34 section and submits proper notice pursuant to subdivision two of this
35 section shall have a defense in any action brought by a landlord against
36 such tenant to recover rent and/or damages for breach of lease and shall
37 not be liable for any rent after the effective termination date.
38 (d) The lessor or owner may withhold a security deposit in part or in
39 full to the extent allowed by the lease or statute, except for the early
40 termination granted by this section, and shall not withhold any part of
41 the security deposit due to the tenant's exercise of rights under this
A. 4267--A 6
1 (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to be a defense against
2 an action for rent for a period of time before the tenant vacated the
3 premises and gave notice as required in subdivision two of this section.
4 4. Co-tenants and other occupants. Upon termination:
5 (a) If the terminating tenant is the sole leaseholder, the premises
6 shall be delivered to the lessor or owner:
7 (i) free of all tenants and occupants, provided that the terminating
8 tenant shall not be responsible for ensuring that the abusive household
9 member is not present; and
10 (ii) in accordance with the terms of the lease relating to delivery of
11 the premises at the termination of the lease.
12 (b) If there are tenants on the lease other than the terminating
14 (i) the landlord shall not, except upon consent of such additional
15 tenants, terminate or sever the co-tenancy. The landlord must provide
16 the remaining tenant at least thirty days from the termination date to
17 decide whether to consent to a termination or severance.
18 (ii) The remaining co-tenant or co-tenants hold the right to add an
19 additional occupant as defined by paragraph (b) of subdivision one of
20 section two hundred thirty-five-f of this article.
21 5. Confidentiality provisions. (a) Unless the terminating tenant
22 provides written authorization for the release of information or unless
23 required by law, court order, or statute, the information shall not be
24 released. Information that shall be kept confidential shall include
25 information obtained during the process of the tenant terminating his or
26 her lease in accordance with this section, such as: (i) the nature of
27 the termination, (ii) the status of the tenant or member of the tenant's
28 household as a victim of domestic violence, and (iii) any information
29 contained in documentation provided to demonstrate status as a victim of
30 domestic violence.
31 (b) Pursuant to this section, the landlord shall not divulge,
32 describe, or characterize the termination of the rental agreement as an
33 early termination by a current lessor to a prospective lessor or any
34 third party.
35 6. Violations. (a) Landlords who knowingly, or intentionally violate
36 any part of this section may be liable for liquidated damages, not to
37 exceed one thousand dollars, actual damages, costs and attorneys' fees.
38 (b) Any agreement by a lessee or tenant of premises occupied for
39 dwelling purposes waiving or modifying his or her rights as set forth in
40 this section shall be void as contrary to public policy.
41 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.