If I am a victim, can I terminate (end) my lease early?
Yes. If you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you may be able to terminate your lease before it expires. However, you have to do the all of the following three things before terminating the lease:
- You have to give the landlord written notice that you want to end the lease and tell the landlord what date you want the lease to end. However, the date you choose has to be at least 30 days from the day the landlord will receive your notice.
- You have to give the landlord a copy of one of the following documents along with the notice described above:
- a "permanent" 50B domestic violence protective order or a 50C civil no-contact order;
- a criminal order that restrains (forbids) a person from contacting you (this could be a pre-trial release order or a criminal judgment or restraining order); or
- a valid Address Confidentiality Program card. (Go to the NC Dept of Justice website to find information on the Address Confidentiality Program.)
- If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault (doesn't apply to stalking victims), you must also give the landlord a copy of a safety plan (a written plan on ways to keep you safe) along with the documents mentioned above. The safety plan has to:
- be provided by a domestic violence or sexual assault program that is recognized by the Council for Women;
- be dated during the term of the lease that you want to terminate; and
- recommend that you (the tenant) relocate.*
A local program could help you in preparing and choosing the most appropriate documentation for your landlord. Go to NC Advocates and Shelters to find programs in your area.
* NCGS § 42-45.1