Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Safe Homes Act

Take a look at the short synopsis of the new Safe Homes Act below. I think this is ridiculous and just mixing apples and oranges. Domestic violence as a defense to not paying rent? What is a landlord supposed to do? I simply don't see why landlords are getting punished for domestic violence. Police departments' inability to properly enforce Orders of Protection is the real problem.


The Illinois General Assembly passed the Safe Homes Act (Act) in an effort to reduce domestic violence by improving the ability of tenant victims and their families to escape "domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking." In order to achieve the goal, the Act provides tenants with opportunities to escape dangerous homes or to seek increased security within their homes.

Section 15 allows tenants to avoid liability for failure to pay rent when the premises are abandoned due to an occurrence or imminent threat of domestic or sexual assault.
Section 15 of the Act provides tenants with an affirmative defense in actions for breach of lease when tenants feel compelled to leave a residence where they feel endangered. The tenant cannot be held liable for rent for the period after the tenant vacates the premises if the court finds, by preponderance of the evidence, that the tenant or a member of the tenant's family "faced a credible imminent threat of domestic or sexual violence." This protection is also afforded the tenant if the tenant or a member of the tenant's family moved out as a result of a domestic or sexual assault occurring on the property owned or controlled by the landlord.

However, there are limits to this protection. The tenant must have informed the landlord of the reasons for vacating the premises prior to or within three days of vacating. Also, when the tenant leaves the premises because of an occurrence of domestic or sexual assault, the landlord must be informed of the tenant's abandonment of the premises within 60 days of the assault when practicable, and the tenant must provide the landlord with the date of the alleged assault as well as documentation supporting the alleged assault. This Act does not apply in any actions for breach of lease for failure to pay rent before the tenant abandons the premises.

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