Breaking your Lease Early if you have a Protection Order
If you live in DC and got a protective order because you experienced domestic violence, you have the right to end your lease early. Your landlord isn’t allowed to charge you money or keep your security deposit because you are ending your lease early.
End your lease early by taking three steps:
Step 1: Download the attached file, go to the second page and fill out the attached letter.
This letter tells your landlord that you are breaking your lease. It makes sure they know they can’t withhold your security deposit. You just need to add some basic information for you (the tenant) and your landlord.
Step 2: Send the letter and a copy of the protective order to your landlord.
You can email it, mail it, or give it to them in person. Note: Make a copy. Do not give away the original protection order (signed by the judge).
Step 3: Once you have a safe address, tell your landlord a safe address to send your security deposit.
How long do I have to work on this? You have 90 days (about 3 months) from the date of the incident you are reporting to tell your landlord that you are ending your lease early.
If your landlord tries to charge you money or keep your security deposit, they might be breaking the law. If you have questions about what your landlord is doing, call Legal Aid at (202)-628- 1161 or go to www.legalaiddc.org/online-intake.
If you don’t have a protective order and want to get one, call DC SAFE at (844) 443-5732 or the D.C. Court Domestic Violence Division Clerk’s office at (202) 879-0157.