The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
As early as 2005, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began publishing advisements of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for specific HUD properties. The Act was reauthorized and expanded in 2013 (Signed into law), 2016, and in 2018 to include Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), HOME, Housing Trust Fund, and other properties in some states.
Additional background information on VAWA may be found in Section I of the preamble to the VAWA Final Rule, which starts on page 80725 of the November 16, 2016, Federal Register publication.
As of today, and in Arizona, VAWA is required at most all government subsidized properties.
Who is covered under VAWA?
Consistent with HUD’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements, victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking cannot be discriminated against on the basis of any protected class, and HUD programs must also be operated consistent with HUD’s Equal Access Rule, which requires that HUD-assisted and HUD-insured housing must be available to all otherwise eligible individuals and families without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. VAWA protections are not limited to women.
The HUD Notice H 2017-05 provides a wealth of information, clarifies, and provides that applicants and tenants may not be denied assistance or have assistance terminated under a covered housing program on the basis of or as a direct result of the fact that the applicant or tenant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Who is not covered under VAWA?
Guests, unassisted members, and live-in aides of a household are ineligible for VAWA protections that are available only to tenants. As a reasonable accommodation, a tenant can request VAWA protections based on the grounds that a live-in aid is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. In addition, other reasonable accommodations may be needed on a case-by-case basis. If qualified, the tenant may request an emergency transfer for the entire household including the live-in aide. In cases where a guest or unassisted member is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, a tenant cannot be evicted or have assistance terminated based on the domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking of the guest or unassisted member.
Unassisted members who are also on the lease may qualify by way of the lease for VAWA protections at 24 CFR 5.2005(c).
How does a property implement VAWA?
The HUD Notice states that properties should review and update their Tenant Selection Plan and/or House Rules to incorporate the VAWA policies and protections.
Owners and Agents (O/A) are required to attach the HUD-approved lease Addendum, Form HUD-91067, which may be viewed/printed at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips/forms/hud9 This HUD-approved lease Addendum must be attached to each existing or new lease.
Notice of Occupancy Rights, form HUD-5380. The VAWA Final Rule revises the requirements for notice of VAWA rights at 24 CFR 5.2005(a). VAWA 2013 requires that HUD create a notice of VAWA rights “Notice of Occupancy Rights”, form HUD-5380. The form is available in https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips. O/As must issue the VAWA Notice of Occupancy Rights without changes to the core protections and confidentiality rights in the Notice. However, O/As must customize the Notice to reflect the specific assistance provided under the covered housing program and specify the program operations that may pertain to or affect the VAWA Notice of Occupancy Rights. For example, O/As must add to the VAWA Notice of Occupancy Rights information that identifies the covered housing program (e.g., Section 8 or PRAC), the company/organization or property name, and any additional information and terminology that is used in the pertinent program and makes the VAWA Notice of Occupancy Rights more meaningful to applicants or tenants. (For example, O/As may want to use the term “apartment” or “housing” in lieu of “unit”.) This may include additional language, so long as the language does not make changes to the core protections and confidentiality rights as noted above. For example, the additional language cannot add additional requirements to receive VAWA protections, but additional language may be provided to better explain VAWA.
Emergency Transfers. HUD’s model Emergency Transfer Plan, form HUD-5381. The VAWA Final Rule requires O/As to adopt an Emergency Transfer Plan, based on HUD’s model Emergency Transfer Plan (form HUD-5381). The model Emergency Transfer Plan is available in https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips. O/As must modify the plan to suit the individual needs of the property.
Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking, form HUD-5382. VAWA 2013 required that HUD create a certification form that serves as a means of documenting the incident or incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. (See 24 CFR 5.2005(a).) The VAWA Final Rule transmitted this certification form, “Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking, and Alternative Documentation”, form HUD-5382. The O/A must attach form HUD-5382 to the VAWA “Notice of Occupancy Rights”, form HUD-5380, as described in HUD guidelines.
If you would like more information regarding VAWA, please feel free to contact the Arizona Department of Housing.
Arizona Department of Housing
1110 W. Washington Street, Suite 280
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Housing Matters | Winter 2021