Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Your Rights as a Tenant
A federal law that went into effect in 2006, and was reauthorized and amended in 2013, provides legal protections to individuals (man or woman) who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking (collectively referred to as “violence” in this notice). The name of the law is the Violence against Women Act, or “VAWA.” Among other things, VAWA provides protections to victims of violence who receive publicly assisted housing benefits. The federal government is drafting an approved notice explaining your rights under VAWA, including the 2013 changes. In the meantime, this notification is a temporary explanation of those rights.
Who is Covered
VAWA protections extend to you if the victim of the violence is:
In the language of VAWA, these people are "affiliated" with you.
Protections for Victims
If you or an affiliated person are a victim of violence, you may not be denied assistance, evicted or have your assistance terminated because of the violence you or the affiliated person experienced. The Housing Authority and your landlord may not:
You may only be evicted or terminated on the basis of violence against you or an affiliated person if there is an actual threat to other tenants or employees at the property if you remain in your unit
If you or an affiliated person are a victim of violence, you may request that the Housing Authority or your landlord take one of the following actions:
If you request protection under VAWA, the Housing Authority or your Landlord may request verification that you or an affiliated person are/is a victim of violence. If so, you will be required to submit one of the following:
The housing authority and your landlord must keep confidential any information you provide about the violence against you, unless:
If release of the information would put your safety at risk, you should inform the housing authority and your landlord.
VAWA and Other Laws
VAWA does not limit the housing authority or your landlord’s duty to honor court orders about access to or control of the property. This includes orders issued to protect a victim and orders dividing property among household members in cases where a family breaks up.
VAWA does not replace any federal, state, or local law that provides greater protection for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
For more information, or for a copy of the general information on Landlord/Tenant Issues For Survivors of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and/or Stalking provided by Northwest Justice Project please contact Melanie Pilkenton at 425-290-8499 ext. 519.