Council Examines Ways To Protect Abuse Victims From Lease Termination Penalty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dramatic testimony from victims of domestic abuse as City Council examined ways a plan to give such victims protection from unsympathetic landlords.

Vernetta Burger told the City Council committee that after she denied her estranged husband a visit, he broke down the door and beat her to a point where she feared for her life. When she later decided to move, the landlord held her to terms of her lease.

“I did flee, but I was left to carry the debt for over $2,400 for the rent for the unexpired portion of my lease. The debt was placed on my credit report, which made it even more difficult and seemingly impossible for me to find another place to live.”

Burger and other victims of domestic violence spoke in support of a bill that requires landlords to rip up leases when an abuse victim needs to move. Conversely, the bill also prevents a landlord from evicting an abuse victim if she needed to stay but missed rent payments. The measure was approved by the committee and now goes to the full council.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio

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