On October 27, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD) published a final rule to fully implement the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA). The rule prohibits housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a victim.
The rule includes information on notification, emergency transfers, certification of abuse and material to protect against adverse treatment related to criminal screening policies. Importantly, the rule expands the scope of VAWA beyond Section 8 and public housing programs. The final rule also makes important changes advocated by NMHC/NAA.
NMHC/NAA support protecting affordable housing for victims of domestic violence and offered comments to the proposed rule on how to best achieve that within the realities of the private multifamily market. At our suggestion, HUD explicitly noted that not all private sector housing providers have the ability to accommodate an emergency transfer request to move victims to a different unit. The rule also clearly states that housing providers are not responsible for the costs to move a resident.
We previously challenged HUD’s prior rule allowing victims to self-certify, noting the opportunity for fraud. While this newest rule still allows for some self-certification, housing providers may now require third party documentation under certain circumstances.
Finally, we urged HUD to incorporate VAWA notification requirements into existing HUD documents. However, the HUD rule requires covered housing providers to distribute separate notice of VAWA rights at the time of application, move in and termination.
In terms of coverage, the rule now applies to housing covered by the following programs:
- Section 236 Rental Program
- Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Internet Rate (BMIR) Program
- Section 202, Supportive Housing for the Elderly
- Section 811, Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities
- McKinney-Vento Homeless
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
- Home Investment Partnerships (HOME)
- Low Income Housing Tax Credit
- USDA Rural Housing Programs
Find the final rule regarding the implementation of housing protections authorized in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) here. Additionally, HUD has created new forms and guidance that can be found here. The forms are:
- VAWA Appendix A: Notice of Occupancy Rights Under the Violence Against Women Act, form HUD-5380
- VAWA Appendix B: Model Emergency Transfer Plan for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking, form HUD-5381
- VAWA Appendix C: Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking and Alternate Documentation, form HUD-5382and
- VAWA Appendix D: Emergency Transfer Request for Certain Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, or Stalking, form HUD-5383