Effective July 1, a new law will be coming into place in Saskatchewan allowing renters who are fleeing interpersonal violence to break their lease early.
Tenants will now be allowed to end fixed-termed tenancy agreements with 28 days notice if they or their family members are being abused by another resident or former resident. To do so, they need a certificate from the Ministry of Justice’s Victims Services Branch stating that they, their child, or an adult under their care has been a victim of interpersonal violence or is at risk.
These can be issued by:
- A victim services agency
- Other professionals identified in the legislation
Constable Grant Kirzinger says it is important to break down barriers that will allow for domestic abuse victims to get out of their situation more easily.
“As there are so many complexities inside of domestic abuse, having ways to help that victim make sure that they can protect they’re safety, as well as anyone else in that home is a fantastic thing.”
Kirzinger added “it’s very important that you reach out and make connections with a trusted individual whether it be RCMP, Victim Services or the Interval Home. There is so many organizations that can provide that help.”
Once they have the statement they have 90 days to give it to their landlord in person, by mail or electronically. Renters then have the option to request the landlord use their deposit towards any rent that is still owed. The tenant can not be held responsible for any penalties for early termination contained in the rental agreement.
The tenancy agreement ends after the notice is delivered for everyone living there.
“These amendments make it clear that no one should have to prioritize a rental agreement above their own personal safety,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant.
He adds, “with these amendments, victims of interpersonal violence will be able to put their safety first when escaping dangerous domestic situations.”
A similar law is already in place in Alberta.