Fleeing Abuse Means Big Penalty for a Lincoln Woman

By: Bonney Bowman Email
By: Bonney Bowman Email

"They could be trying to re-rent a place where someone was murdered."
-Tiffiney Fox

When a Lincoln woman's relationship turned abusive, she fled her apartment, she feared staying could cost her her life. But now that decision could cost her a lot of money.

Tiffiney Fox lived at Adriana Court. It's the scene of one of her toughest times and it all started with a guy. "At first, things were really good. He was attentive and caring but a little while into it he started getting verbal," said Fox.

When Fox's boyfriend moved in with her things went from bad to worse. "Things just escalated. He would throw things at me - a lot of things. He kicked my doors down, pretty much, trying to get to me," said Fox.

Finally, after a particularly violent episode, she knew she had to leave. But that same day, Fox had signed a one year lease agreement with Chateau Apartments. "I figured with having a protection order and all the evidence, I didn't think it would be a problem to get out of your lease, I really didn't, I just didn't think that would be an issue but apparently it was," said Fox.

Fox added that the Chateau Management wants $2,000 as penalty for moving out early. Managing Partner for the complex Stefan Gaspar said they will break leases without penalty in the event of a resident's death or permanent disability, or if the resident is called to active military duty. Gaspar said the reason for the fee is to offset the cost of finding a new tenant. He added they treat every tenant fairly and will not break a lease for any other reason.

Fox said finding $2,000 will be tough, but that's not her biggest concern, she said if she had known about the penalty, she would have stayed in the apartment despite the fact it could have cost her life. "How many are going to stay? I would have. I would have just endured the year hoping the worst didn't happen and at that point, who knows, they could be trying to re-rent a place where someone was murdered. You don't know," said Fox.

Domestic Abuse Advocate, Kay Mathews said it's a common problem, one she's helped women handle during her time with Friendship Home. "Having someone in your corner, being an advocate that can help her find the language to explain it to a landlord or be her partner in that conversation, can make a difference. Maybe not with all of them, but I think most of them," said Mathews.

10/11 also spoke to Housing Law Expert, John Chatelain, who said he is not unsympathetic to Fox's situation, but if there's no domestic abuse provision in her lease, then she is liable under the current laws.

He said people need to be very careful who they move in with.

Fox said her next step is to contact a lawyer. "They've started with collection efforts and I'm like, no, I want to fight it because it's not right."

Gaspar said in his statement, "This is simply a case of unwillingness on the side of the tenant to live up to the terms of the agreement. Chateau offered the tenant a generous twelve months payment plan. To date the tenant has made no effort to pay."

Fox said she hopes to be able to move forward and that her story will help other women struggling in a similar situation.

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