Tenants and Protective Orders: An Overview

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on July 1, 2011 under Eviction, Lease and Rental Agreements | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenantscreeningblog, tenant screeningWhile a lease agreement and landlord/tenant relationship is a strictly business arrangement, landlords sometimes have to deal with a tenant’s personal problems. Loss of a job, a need to break a lease and move to another city, and other life situations cross the line into a personal nature.

When tenants have protective orders against spouses, partners, or acquaintances, the landlord may not even know. However, when the other party violates the order and enters the rental property, problems can ensue all around.

One tenant in California was faced with eviction when her husband, from whom she was separated, threatened and stalked her at her apartment. Police were called and the tenant obtained a restraining order, but the property manager informed her she needed to move to avoid upsetting her fellow tenants.

In California, and most other states, a protective order protects tenants from repercussions such as eviction. Domestic violence that has been documented, as in this case, is not a reason for terminating a lease. But what if the tenant had allowed the stalking troublemaker onto the property? That’s another story. If the tenant is voluntarily subjecting other tenants and the property to possible harm by allowing a dangerous person onto the premises, eviction may be warranted.

Under Federal guidelines for Section 8 owners, landlords may not refuse to rent to an applicant solely because he or she is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. Nor can the tenant be evicted, even if criminal acts (such as property damage) related to the domestic or dating violence or stalking, are caused by the tenant or a guest. There is an exception for cases in which there is an actual or imminent threat to other tenants or employees of the property if the tenant is not evicted.

Many states follow the federal guidelines, but if you need guidance on a situation, it’s best to check with a local law official or landlord/tenant attorney for advice.

It’s not easy to be privy to the personal problems of tenants, but at times a landlord can’t avoid it. It’s important to know what is and is not allowed when dealing with legalities such as restraining orders.

Legal disclaimer:
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for obtaining legal advice applicable to your situation.

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