Brooklyn ordinance protects domestic violence victims from fees, penalties for moving

Brooklyn Passes Domestic Violence noise law

BROOKLYN, OH (WOIO) - A new law in Brooklyn will protect domestic violence victims who want to end their leases to escape their abusers.

The Brooklyn City Council passed the ordinance at its last meeting, which requires landlords to let tenants out of leases, as long as they have a restraining order issued from a court.

Domestic violence advocates say laws like this are important, because they ensure that victims can move to a safer place, without having to pay thousands of dollars in fees for ending a lease early.

“You don’t want to force the victims to stay where they’re not safe because of obligations of breaking the lease and money,” said Laura Cowan, a survivor and community advocate.

She said she has seen many people suffer through this same situation.

“That’s the first thing they worry about, is you know, where I do go, they’re forced to stay where they are,” Cowan said.

There is no statewide law to mandate these same protections, but the legislature is currently considering implementing one.

That law would also prevent landlords from invoking “nuisance ordinances” to evict tenants who call police for domestic violence matters.

"If that's put in place, that would be great, because she shouldn't feel like, the victim, because it could be a male, too, that they have to pick up the phone and call for help, because they think they're going to get penalized in that situation," said Cowan. "We're talking about lives now at stake."

The Brooklyn ordinance also requires landlords to change the locks on the home of a domestic violence victim, if they do choose to stay in the home, if the tenant has a no-contact order or a restraining order.

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