02/18/19 -- HCS HBS 243 and 544 -- Allow victims of domesic violence to break leases
HB 243, introduced by Representative Jim Neely (Republican - District 8) is a fairly simple bill designed to allow victims of domestic violence break their leases so they might move away from their abusers. While I am generally not favorable to legislation that has government interfering with private contracts, I think these circumstances are somewhat unique. If someone is a victim of violence and wishes to escape such a situation, I don't believe that government courts aught to seek to enforce contractual penalties against them as a result of their attempts to avoid further conflict. Considering that the majority of landlords are not likely to seek such action anyway, this bill aims simply to deal with the remaining situations.
This bill does allow a landlord to collect a lease termination fee, and provides them a mechanism via the court to determine if the claim of domestic violence is appropriate under the statute.
I was on the fence about this bill, but I did end up voting yes. It passed overwhelmingly.