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Know Your Rights » Housing Discrimination » Domestic Violence & Harassment

Protections in Federally Subsidized Housing

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) outlines clear legal protections for survivors of domestic violence. It states that tenants may not be denied admission to or terminated from Low Income Public Housing, project-based Section 8 housing, or the Section 8 (Housing Choice) voucher program because of their status as victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. Public Housing Authorities (PHA’s) and landlords must prove that there is an “actual and imminent threat” to other residents or staff on the property in order to evict a household for reasons related to domestic violence. PHA’s and Section 8 landlords can divide up or split a lease in order to evict an abuser while letting the rest of the household remain.

PHA’s and Section 8 landlords can ask a tenant to verify that they are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. The tenant can comply with this request by providing either a police record, a valid order for protection, or a statement that is written and signed by a victim’s service provider, medical professional, or attorney verifying that abuse, violence or stalking occurred. The name of the perpetrator must be included in the record or statement. The landlord or PHA must give the tenant at least 14 business days to provide this information, and they may accept other forms of verification, at their discretion. This information must be kept confidential by the PHA or landlord, unless otherwise agreed upon by the tenant, unless the information is necessary in an eviction proceeding or if required to do so by law.