Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Did you know under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) all landlords participating in Section 8 voucher programs must comply with VAWA?  Our friends at the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence have provided a helpful handout detailing tenants housing rights.  All of the following apply to landords participating in Section 8 voucher programs:

  • A landlord may not evict a tenant from housing because the tenant was or is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking.  [See VAWA 2013, Ch. 2 Sec 41411 (b)(1)]
  • A landlord may not use domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking as a good cause for eviction. [See VAWA 2013, Ch. 2 Sec. 41411 (b)(2)(B)]
  • A landlord may not deny a tenant tenancy or occupancy rights to housing solely because a criminal activity occurred that was directly related to domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking engaged in by a household member or guest if the tenant is the victim.  [See VAWA 2013, Ch. 2 Sec. 41411 (b)(3)(A)]
  • A landlord may not evict a tenant if the tenant’s partner or any household member whose name is also on the lease commits a criminal act of violence against the tenant and is evicted and the tenant can demonstrate that he or she is eligible for Section 8 housing assistance.  [See VAWA 2013, Ch. 2 Sec. 41411 (b)(3)(B)(ii) regarding bifurcation of lease]
  • A landlord may not hold a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking to a higher standard than other tenants in determining whether to evict.  [See VAWA 2013, Ch. 2 Sec 41411 (b)(3)(C)(ii)]
  • A landlord may not evict you from housing because you were or are a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking.
  • A landlord may not use domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking as a good cause for eviction.
  • A landlord may not deny you housing rights solely because a criminal activity occurred that was directly related to domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking engaged in by a household member or a guest and you are the victim.
  • A landlord may not evict you if your partner or any household member whose name is also on the lease commits a criminal act of violence against you and is evicted an you can demonstrate that you are eligible for Section 8 housing assistance.  In such a case, your lease may be split, and you may be able to stay in your housing.
  • A landlord may not hold you to a higher standard than other tenants in determining whether to evict if you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking.

For legal information call Vermont Law Line at 1-800-889-2047.

To contact Vermont Victims Compensation Program call 1-800-750-1213.