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New protections provided for victims of domestic abuse.

SCS HCS HBs 243 & 544 – Relating to victims of certain crimes, with an existing penalty provision

It is common for victims of domestic abuse to initially share a lease with their abuser. Orders of protection can order the abuser to evacuate the premises, regardless of the terms of the lease. Unfortunately, landlords are not always as sympathetic when it comes to following a court order that has essentially evicted their tenant. Section 441.920 has provided some help could be on it's way;

LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR TENANTS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF CERTAIN CRIMES (Section 441.920) (New) – With certain exceptions, a person who is, has been, or is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking shall not be denied tenancy, evicted from the premises, or considered in violation of a lease agreement on the basis of, or as a direct result of, being a victim. In certain actions brought by the landlord, the tenant has an affirmative defense that the tenant who vacated the premises was a victim or was in imminent danger of becoming a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking. Additionally, the section provides a list of acceptable evidence that the landlord must accept as proof that the lessee or tenant was or was going to be a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking. The landlord may impose a reasonable termination fee on a tenant or lessee who wants to terminate the lease before the expiration date. These provisions apply only to residential properties.

OFFENSE OF NONCONSENSUAL DISSEMINATION OF PRIVATE SEXUAL IMAGES (Section 573.110) (Amended) – Two grammatical changes are made to the existing criminal offense of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, enacted in 2018.

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