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Responding to Domestic Violence in Apartments

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  • Encourage domestic violence victims to call the police if they are in fear for their safety (or to file a report for a prior incident). Also encourage victims to contact South Bay Community Services (800-640-2933), which provides support services -- such as counseling, case management and treatment -- as well as housing for victims and children exposed to violence.
  • Encourage domestic violence victims to obtain temporary restraining orders (TROs). A short video on how to get a domestic violence TRO in San Diego County is available here (in English and Spanish).
  • Encourage victims to take advantage of the opportunity to break a lease in 30 days, by providing an arrest report or TRO to apartment management. 
  • If the aggressor is on the lease, encourage the victim to agree to Domestic Disturbancea partial eviction of the aggressor. Change the locks immediately when the aggressor moves out and is no longer on the lease.
  • Evict the aggressor in an incident where both live in separate units at the same complex.
    • Ask prospective renters if any restraining orders are on file for (or against) them and verify using this TRO database maintained by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. If there is a TRO protecting a resident, then management, other staff, and security should be aware of who is not allowed on the property and help enforce the TRO to the best of their ability by asking the restrained person to leave or by calling police.
    • Practice zero tolerance by evicting a resident if he or she has violated a major apartment rule, such as selling drugs, or committed a crime on the property unrelated to the domestic violence situation, even if the person is a prior victim of domestic violence.

    • Be familiar with California Civil Code § 1946.7 (domestic violence or stalking victim can break lease with 30-day notice and copy of TRO, police report), California Civil Code §§ 1941.5 and 1941.6 (changing the locks for domestic violence victim), California Code of Civil Procedure § 11161.3 (unlawful detainer against domestic violence victim). You can read these codes here.

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