Dallas resident “Monica”, a victim of domestic violence, was living in fear at her apartment for several months. After finding out where she lived, her abuser had come to the complex and physically assaulted her. Afraid of retaliation, Monica chose not to report the assault to police. But afterwards, her abuser continued to send her threatening text messages, especially after she filed for child support benefits for their son. Monica reported the text messages to police, who filed a report, and warned the abuser to leave Monica alone.
However, when Monica left town to visit family, her abuser broke into her apartment, and stole all the belongings he had purchased for Monica and the children. She was very frightened and felt violated, fearing he would break in again and hurt her or the children. She filed another police report, and sent both reports to apartment management, pleading with them to allow her to end her lease. Monica knew that her abuser would show up again, and she would not feel safe as long as he knew where the family lived.
The apartment management, however, told Monica she could not end her lease, stating she had to file for a restraining order against her abuser. Feeling trapped and afraid in her living situation, Monica called the North Texas Fair Housing Center. NTFHC contacted the apartment manager and requested that they let Monica end her lease without penalty. NTFHC explained that Monica and her children were in great danger, and two police reports should suffice as evidence of their situation. The manager stated she could not grant NTFHC’s request and refereed NTFHC to the company’s lawyer. NTFHC was able to negotiate with the lawyer who agreed to let Monica end her lease without penalty, and the family was able to relocate to a different city where they are closer to family and feel safe.