New proposed rule would implement expanded protections included in the Violence
Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today announced a new proposed rule to increase protections for domestic violence survivors. The rule would implement the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), which expands HUD’s authority to protect survivors of domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault who are residing in housing assisted by HUD.
By proposing this rule, HUD is taking a positive step to ensure that survivors of abuse will not live in fear of losing their homes simply because of their status as a survivor. HUD is committed to helping survivors of domestic violence through access to safe and affordable housing, and to enforcing laws that prevent landlords from discriminating against these survivors.
“Every person deserves to live in a safe, stable home,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “This proposed rule will expand critical protections for survivors of domestic violence across HUD’s housing programs. Now, many more brave women, men and children will have the opportunity to build a better future by living in an environment free from abuse.”
The VAWA 2013 reauthorization expanded legal protections to nearly all HUD programs. Previously, only residents of public housing and Section 8 tenant-based and project-based programs were covered through the VAWA 2005 legislation. Newly covered programs include:
- HOME Investment Partnerships program
- § 202 supportive housing for the elderly
- Section 236 Rental Program
- § 811 supportive housing for people with disabilities
- Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) Program
- HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) housing program
- HUD’s McKinney-Vento homeless programs
- Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing properties
A complete list of key housing provisions in VAWA 2013 is available here.
VAWA 2013 now also specifically extends housing protections to survivors of sexual assault, and adds “intimate partner” to the list of eligible relationships covered in the definition of domestic violence. VAWA 2013 also requires appropriate agencies to adopt a plan to respond to tenants’ requests to be transferred to a different housing unit if they believe they are in danger if they do not move. In his Fiscal Year 2016 budget, President Obama requested $37.5 million to fund 5,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers specifically to help victims and survivors of domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who require such an emergency transfer from their current assisted housing.
VAWA 2013 continues to bar eviction and termination due to a tenant’s status as a survivor, and requires landlords to maintain survivor-tenant confidentiality. It also continues to prohibit a tenant who is a survivor of domestic violence from being denied assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights based solely on domestic violence having been committed against them.
The proposed rule will be open for a 60-day public comment period. Read the proposed rule here.