1.    A tenant to a residential lease who is a victim of domestic violence as defined in section 14-07.1-01 or fears imminent domestic violence against the tenant or the tenant’s minor children if the tenant or the tenant’s minor children remain in the leased premises may terminate a lease agreement, as provided in this section, without penalty or liability.

Terms Used In North Dakota Code 47-16-17.1

  • children: includes children by birth and by adoption. See North Dakota Code 1-01-18
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • following: when used by way of reference to a chapter or other part of a statute means the next preceding or next following chapter or other part. See North Dakota Code 1-01-49
  • Individual: means a human being. See North Dakota Code 1-01-49
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • Person: means an individual, organization, government, political subdivision, or government agency or instrumentality. See North Dakota Code 1-01-49
  • written: include "typewriting" and "typewritten" and "printing" and "printed" except in the case of signatures and when the words are used by way of contrast to typewriting and printing. See North Dakota Code 1-01-37

2.    The tenant must provide advance written notice to the landlord stating:

a.    The tenant fears imminent domestic violence from a person named in a court order, protection order under section 14-07.1-02, ex parte temporary protection order, order prohibiting contact, restraining order, or other record filed with a court;

b.    The tenant needs to terminate the tenancy; and c.    The specific date the tenancy will terminate.

3.    The notice must be delivered by mail, facsimile communication, or in person before the termination of the tenancy.

4.    A landlord may not disclose information provided to the landlord by a tenant documenting domestic violence under this section. The information may not be entered into any shared database or provided to any person, but may be used as evidence in an eviction proceeding, in a claim for unpaid rent or damages arising out of the tenancy, or as otherwise required by law.

5.    A tenant terminating a lease under this section is responsible for the rent payment for the full month in which the tenancy terminates and an additional amount equal to one month’s rent, subject to the landlord’s duty to mitigate. The tenant is relieved of any     other contractual obligation for payment of rent or any other charges for the remaining term of the lease, except as provided in this section.

6.    This section does not affect a tenant’s liability for delinquent, unpaid rent, or other amounts owed to the landlord before the lease was terminated by the tenant under this section.

7.    The tenancy terminates, including the right of possession of the premises, on the termination date stated in the notice under subsection 2. The amount equal to one month’s rent must be paid on or before the termination of the tenancy for the tenant to be relieved of the contractual obligations for the remaining term of the lease as provided in this section.

8.    For purposes of this section, timing for the payment of the lessee’s security deposit under section 47-16-07.1 is triggered by either of the following:

a.    If the only tenant, including the tenant’s minor children, is the tenant who is the victim of domestic violence, upon the first day of the month following the date the tenant vacates the premises.

b.    If there are additional tenants bound by the lease, upon the expiration of the lease.

9.    Notwithstanding the release of a tenant from a lease agreement under this section, the tenancy continues for any remaining tenants.

10.    A person may not refuse to rent, refuse to negotiate for the rental of, or in any other manner make unavailable or deny a dwelling to an individual, or otherwise retaliate in the rental of a dwelling solely because a tenant or applicant or a household member of the tenant or applicant exercised the right to terminate a lease under this section.

11.    In an action for a violation of this section, the court may award statutory damages of one thousand dollars. The court also may award actual damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, and disbursements.