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Wed April 30, 2014

Bill Aimed At Protecting Domestic Violence Victims' Housing Rights

Fair housing advocates in New Orleans are supporting legislation that would protect domestic violence victims from eviction. Apartment management groups want to make sure the rules are clear.

Kate Scott of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center says there’s a loophole in state laws governing evictions.

It was evident in the case of a New Orleans woman. She returned home from hospital treatment needed after being attacked by an ex-boyfriend to find an eviction notice. Her lease had a zero tolerance clause for domestic violence.

Scott said Senate Bill 233 would include domestic violence victims with groups protected against discrimination.

It was approved unanimously this week by a Senate judiciary committee.

“There’s no intention to victimize people that have already had this horrible experience," Scott said. "So we want to work on that sort of shared consensus around our intentions to protect survivors of domestic violence and make sure that that’s ingrained in state law.”  

Tammy Esponge is the executive director of the Apartment Association of Greater New Orleans. She says the group is not opposed to protecting victims, but it wants input on developing clear rules to follow.

The bill may be heard next week on the Senate floor.

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