SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Victims of abuse can now get out of their house or apartment leases easier if they are living with their offender.
The bill was recently signed by governor parson and that protects victims rights.
Victim center’s Brandi Bartel says one reason that victims don’t just run from their offender is because they’re tied down in a lease. “Usually the case, the offender will put the victim’s name on the lease. So the offender can leave whenever they want, but often times the victim doesn’t have the same rights and same level of control to be able to just pick up and walk out the door.”
Jim Neely, state representative, is the sponsor of this bill and says letting victims out of their leases serves two purposes. “One, it’s going to free up the environment for the neighboring apartments to the circumstances of violence occurring. It will also give a person who is a victim an opportunity to escape that tied in lease.”
To receive the benifits of this bill, you have to prove you are a victim. Cheyenne Johnson, case manager at Harmony house, says that a exparte or order of protection that you have to get through courts or medical paperwork. If a victim doesn’t have any of these records, Harmony House can help. “We have been lucky where a few of the landlords whenever someone’s come in, they will trust us as an agency and we can write up a letter and also talk to them over the phone and explaining.”
The bill also helps victims from potentially having an eviction on their record due to the abusive relationship.