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


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 32-2)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-06-19 - RETURNED TO ASSEMBLY [A04267 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A04267-Amended.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                         4267--A
                                                                Cal. No. 293

                               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,  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
          reading

        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  Section  227-c of the real property law is REPEALED and a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.
                                                                   LBD01057-05-9

        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
    16  violence.
    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-
    44  nation.
    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:

        A. 4267--A                          3

     1  (Choose  the  next part (A, B, or C) that most accurately describes your
     2  situation)

     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).

    15  _______________________        ___________
    16  (signature of tenant)          (date)

    17                                 Acknowledgement

    18  State of _____________________)
    19                                )ss.:
    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.

    29  _________________________
    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
    36       agency).
    37  ____ An employee of  __________________________  court  located  in  the
    38       state of _______________.
    39  ____ An attorney licensed to practice in (insert name of state(s)).

        A. 4267--A                          4

     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-
    12       nation.
    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.

    22  __________________________________________
    23  (name of qualified third party)

    24  __________________________________________
    25  (signature of qualified third party)

    26  ______________
    27  (date)

    28                                 Acknowledgement

    29  State of ______________________)
    30                                 )ss.:
    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
    40  instrument.

    41  ____________________________________________

        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.

     5  _________________________________________
     6  (name of interpreter/translator)

     7  _________________________________________
     8  (signature of interpreter/translator)

     9  ___________________
    10  (date)

    11                               Acknowledgement

    12  State of ______________________)
    13                                 )ss.:
    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.

    23  ____________________________________________
    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
    27  section.
    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
    42  section.

        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
    13  tenant:
    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.
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