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Mass. Bill Would Aid Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic ViolenceBOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers have approved a bill designed to protect victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault by letting them break a lease without penalty.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, said that under the bill, victims who live in private housing would receive protections similar to those available under federal law to residents of public housing.

The Newton Democrat said those protections include allowing victims to break a lease without undue financial penalty if his or her safety is in jeopardy.

Tenants would be required to give landlords written notification of their situation. Landlords also could request independent verification of their status as victims, though this information would have to be kept confidential.

The bill has been sent to Gov. Deval Patrick, who is expected to sign it.

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