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New legislation opens a door for domestic violence victims

For victims of domestic violence, survival can mean getting through a day.
With little thought to the luxury of long-term planning, those who are in an unsafe environment may not have the ability to plan ahead.
In those circumstances, a fixed tenancy, lease agreement, can be a hindrance.
In the fall of 2015, Calgary-Bow MLA Deborah Drever proposed a private members’ bill that would add an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act.
“I brought this bill forward because finances should never be a barrier to fleeing violence,” Drever said. “These changes will make a real difference for survivors of domestic abuse. I am honoured it passed unanimously and that it is now law.”
On Aug. 8, the amendment was signed into law.
What does that mean?
Any of the many victims of domestic violence in Alberta, as well as their children or dependent adults also living in the home, now have the freedom to break their lease without financial penalty.
Instead of staying in an unsafe environment because the possible costs associated with breaking a lease, a tenant can now contact a “certified professional,” who will assist them in confirming they are at risk should they stay in the home.
The certified professional is someone who is listed on the certificate, which is available on-line at saferspaces.alberta.ca.
They include health care professionals, law enforcement and authorized employees who work in shelters or victims support centres.
The certified professional will confirm the tenant has reported this risk and a designated authority within the ministry of Human Services will then issue a certificate to the tenant that they can give to their landlord.
That certificate will allow the tenant to break their lease with 28 days’ notice.
This does not mean the tenant must remain in the home during that period — rather it means the tenancy will officially end once the 28 days is complete.
Those who are at risk need to be safe and should leave an unsafe situation immediately and access the supports available in the community such as a family violence shelter or other program.
Once the landlord is presented with the completed certificate, they will then inform any other tenants on the same lease that the lease is ending.
The landlord and other tenants can enter into a new agreement if they choose, or the landlord can then advertise the property.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. DV Victims need Family Law Help Says:

    So what
    You get them out of danger
    Then what?
    Unless they make almost zero income they have to lay for rent, children, child care as most abusers don’t pay support or lie to avoid it, pay thousands for a lawyer

    OR go up against the person who beat and likely raped them alone. No representation

    Get a life parliament and protect victims of DV and sexual assault in FAMILY COURT. The #1 place for criminal batterers to continue their abuse, mostly through access and attempting to bankrupt survivors…or sue them .

    Sorry did not solve the problem. Nice try