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Bill to let victims of sexual assault, stalking break leases passes Colorado House

DENVER — A bill that would allow the victims of sexual assault and stalking cases to break their leases because of safety concerns passed the Colorado House on Wednesday.

The bill would extend the current law, which allows victims of domestic violence who are afraid for their safety or the safety of their children to terminate rental agreements.

HB17-1035, sponsored by Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Arapahoe County, and Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, is designed to let victims move out of their residence to flee their attackers without facing the financial barrier that can come with breaking a lease.

“Survivors who have been attacked or harassed in their own homes should be able to protect themselves without facing financial ruin,” Jackson said in a statement.

One survivor told the Judiciary Committee her story of violent sexual assault by an ex-boyfriend in her own home.

“I was held prisoner in my home, not only by my attacker, but by my lease and my landlord,” Michelle Aswad said. “My life is worth more than someone’s fear of potential loss to their bottom line.”

The bill earned final approval from the House in a 62-3 vote. It now heads to the State Senate.