BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to give victims of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault added protection from assailants by letting them break a lease without penalty.
Supporters say the new law will give victims who live in private housing similar protections to those already available under federal law to residents of public housing.
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 can also request independent verification of their status as victims, though this information would have to be kept confidential.
The new law also lets victims have their locks changed.
Patrick signed the bill in his Statehouse office Thursday afternoon.