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Summary of bill extending certain housing rights protections to victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking

Date: 
10/24/2018
Author: 
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Greater Boston Legal Services, Jane Doe Inc. and Victim Rights Law Center

On January 3, 2013 Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill extending certain housing rights and protections to victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking (Chapter 402 of the Acts of 2012), which amends G.L. c. 186 to add seven new sections (G.L. c. 186, §§ 23-29). The law was enacted in early April, 2013. Attached is a pdf with a brief summary.

Key points include the following - please review the attached materials for more details:

Victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and stalking have increased rights and protections to help them be safer in their apartments or get out of a lease if needed to escape a perpetrator. including the right to:

  • Break a lease;
  • Have apartment locks changed;
  • Break a lease or have locks changed and not be retaliated against
  • Not be evicted because you got a restraining order or called the police;
  • Not be forced by a landlord to waive these rights when signing a new lease.

Also attached are three fact sheets, a draft form for the public about this law and sample documents for changing your locks:

  • Updated Q&A on the New Housing Law for Victims of Domestic Violence, Rape, Sexual Assault and Stalking
  • Q&A on Lock Change
  • Q&A on Breaking Lease 
  • Notice to Landord to End Lease/Rent Agreement (Draft Form)
  • Sample Third Party Provider Letter for changing locks
  • Sample Tenant Affidavit for changing locks
  • Sample Tenant Letter for changing locks

See the law here.

Thanks to Greater Boston Legal Services and Victim Rights Law Center for the 2018 updates to the fact sheets. 


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