People fleeing domestic violence will no longer be penalized for ending rental agreements early.
Starting July 1, new rights in Saskatchewan will allow renters to end fixed-term tenancy agreements with 28 days’ notice if they or their family members are being abused by another resident or former resident.
The provincial government introduced the change under The Victims of Interpersonal Violence Amendment Act.
“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 in a news release Friday.
“With these amendments, victims of interpersonal violence will be able to put their safety first when escaping dangerous domestic situations.”
Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence in Canada.
Tenants will require a certificate from the Ministry of Justice’s Victims Services Branch in order to give notice to their landlord in person, by mail or electronically.
The certificate will be given upon receipt of a statement by police, a victim services agency or other professionals identified in the legislation, indicating the tenant or their family members are victims – or at risk of becoming victims – of interpersonal violence.
A certificate may also be issued in cases where a protective order is in place.
The tenant must provide the certificate to their landlord within 90 days of the issue date.
Under the new law, tenants also have the option to request the landlord apply their security deposit to rent owing.
Once notice is provided, the tenancy agreement ends for all persons living in the premises.
Under this process, the tenant is not responsible for any penalties for early termination contained in the rental agreement.