Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022 (VAWA 2022), Housing Rights Subpart

34 U.S.C. § 12491.  Housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking 

  1. Definitions  In this subpart:
    1. Affiliated individual The term “affiliated individual” means, with respect to an individual--
      1. a spouse, parent, sibling, or child of that individual, or an individual to whom that individual stands in loco parentis; or
      2. any individual, tenant, or lawful occupant living in the household of that individual.
    2. Appropriate agency The term “appropriate agency” means, with respect to a covered housing program, the Executive department (as defined in section 101 of Title 5) that carries out the covered housing program.
    3. Covered housing program The term “covered housing program” means--
      1. the program under section 1701q of Title 12, including the direct loan program under such section;
      2. the program under section 811 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 8013);
      3. the program under subtitle D of title VIII of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 12901 et seq.);
      4. the programs under title IV of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11360 et seq.);
      5. the program under subtitle A of title II of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 12741 et seq.);
      6. the program under paragraph (3) of section 1715l(d) of Title 12 that bears interest at a rate determined under the proviso under paragraph (5) of such section 1715l(d);
      7. the program under section 1715z-1 of Title 12;
      8. the programs under sections 1437d and 1437f of Title 42;
      9. rural housing assistance provided under sections 1484, 1485, 1486, 1490m, 1490p-2, and 1490r of Title 42;
      10. the low income housing tax credit program under section 42 of Title 26;
      11. the provision of assistance from the Housing Trust Fund established under section 4568 of Title 12;
      12. the provision of assistance for housing under the Comprehensive Service Programs for Homeless Veterans program under subchapter II of chapter 20 of Title 38;
      13. the provision of assistance for housing and facilities under the grant program for homeless veterans with special needs under section 2061 of Title 38;
      14. the provision of assistance for permanent housing under the program for financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing under section 2044 of Title 38;
      15. the provision of transitional housing assistance for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking under the grant program under subpart 4 of part B; and
      16. any other Federal housing programs providing affordable housing to low- and moderate-income persons by means of restricted rents or rental assistance, or more generally providing affordable housing opportunities, as identified by the appropriate agency through regulations, notices, or any other means.
  2. Prohibited basis for denial or termination of assistance or eviction
    1. In general  An applicant for or tenant of housing assisted under a covered housing program may not be denied admission to, denied assistance under, terminated from participation in, or evicted from the housing on the basis that the applicant or tenant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the applicant or tenant otherwise qualifies for admission, assistance, participation, or occupancy.
    2. Construction of lease terms  An incident of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking shall not be construed as--
      1. a serious or repeated violation of a lease for housing assisted under a covered housing program by the victim or threatened victim of such incident; or
      2. good cause for terminating the assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights to housing assisted under a covered housing program of the victim or threatened victim of such incident.
    3. Termination on the basis of criminal activity
      1. Denial of assistance, tenancy, and occupancy rights prohibited  No person may deny assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights to housing assisted under a covered housing program to a tenant solely on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking that is engaged in by a member of the household of the tenant or any guest or other person under the control of the tenant, if the tenant or an affiliated individual of the tenant is the victim or threatened victim of such domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
      2. Bifurcation
        1. In general  Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program may bifurcate a lease for the housing in order to evict, remove, or terminate assistance to any individual who is a tenant or lawful occupant of the housing and who engages in criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against an affiliated individual or other individual, without evicting, removing, terminating assistance to, or otherwise penalizing a victim of such criminal activity who is also a tenant or lawful occupant of the housing.
        2. Effect of eviction on other tenants  If public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program evicts, removes, or terminates assistance to an individual under clause (i), and the individual is the sole tenant eligible to receive assistance under a covered housing program, the public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under the covered housing program shall provide any remaining tenant or resident an opportunity to establish eligibility for the covered housing program. If a tenant or resident described in the preceding sentence cannot establish eligibility, the public housing agency or owner or manager of the housing shall provide the tenant or resident a reasonable time, as determined by the appropriate agency, to find new housing or to establish eligibility for housing under another covered housing program.
      3. Rules of construction  Nothing in subparagraph (A) shall be construed-
        1. to limit the authority of a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program, when notified of a court order, to comply with a court order with respect to--
          1. the rights of access to or control of property, including civil protection orders issued to protect a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or
          2. the distribution or possession of property among members of a household in a case;
        2. to limit any otherwise available authority of a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program to evict or terminate assistance to a tenant for any violation of a lease not premised on the act of violence in question against the tenant or an affiliated person of the tenant, if the public housing agency or owner or manager does not subject an individual who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to a more demanding standard than other tenants in determining whether to evict or terminate;
        3. to limit the authority to terminate assistance to a tenant or evict a tenant from housing assisted under a covered housing program if a public housing agency or owner or manager of the housing can demonstrate that an actual and imminent threat to other tenants or individuals employed at or providing service to the property would be present if the assistance is not terminated or the tenant is not evicted; or
        4. to supersede any provision of any Federal, State, or local law that provides greater protection than this section for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  3. Documentation
    1. Request for documentation  If an applicant for, or tenant of, housing assisted under a covered housing program represents to a public housing agency or owner or manager of the housing that the individual is entitled to protection under subsection (b), the public housing agency or owner or manager may request, in writing, that the applicant or tenant submit to the public housing agency or owner or manager a form of documentation described in paragraph (3).
    2. Failure to provide certification
      1. In general  If an applicant or tenant does not provide the documentation requested under paragraph (1) within 14 business days after the tenant receives a request in writing for such certification from a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program, nothing in this subpart may be construed to limit the authority of the public housing agency or owner or manager to--
        1. deny admission by the applicant or tenant to the covered program;
        2. deny assistance under the covered program to the applicant or tenant;
        3. terminate the participation of the applicant or tenant in the covered program; or
        4. evict the applicant, the tenant, or a lawful occupant that commits violations of a lease.
      2. Extension A public housing agency or owner or manager of housing may extend the 14-day deadline under subparagraph (A) at its discretion.
    3. Form of documentation  A form of documentation described in this paragraph is--
      1. a certification form approved by the appropriate agency that--
        1. states that an applicant or tenant is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
        2. states that the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking that is the ground for protection under subsection (b) meets the requirements under subsection (b); and
        3. includes the name of the individual who committed the domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the name is known and safe to provide;
      2. a document that--
        1. is signed by--
          1. an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider, an attorney, a medical professional, or a mental health professional from whom an applicant or tenant has sought assistance relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or the effects of the abuse; and
          2. the applicant or tenant; and
        2. states under penalty of perjury that the individual described in clause (i)(I) believes that the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking that is the ground for protection under subsection (b) meets the requirements under subsection (b);
      3. a record of a Federal, State, tribal, territorial, or local law enforcement agency, court, or administrative agency; or
      4. at the discretion of a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program, a statement or other evidence provided by an applicant or tenant.
    4. Confidentiality  Any information submitted to a public housing agency or owner or manager under this subsection, including the fact that an individual is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking shall be maintained in confidence by the public housing agency or owner or manager and may not be entered into any shared database or disclosed to any other entity or individual, except to the extent that the disclosure is--
      1. requested or consented to by the individual in writing;
      2. required for use in an eviction proceeding under subsection (b); or
      3. otherwise required by applicable law.
    5. Documentation not required  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program to request that an individual submit documentation of the status of the individual as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
    6. Compliance not sufficient to constitute evidence of unreasonable act  Compliance with subsection (b) by a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program based on documentation received under this subsection, shall not be sufficient to constitute evidence of an unreasonable act or omission by the public housing agency or owner or manager or an employee or agent of the public housing agency or owner or manager. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the liability of a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program for failure to comply with subsection (b).
    7. Response to conflicting certification  If a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program receives documentation under this subsection that contains conflicting information, the public housing agency or owner or manager may require an applicant or tenant to submit third-party documentation, as described in subparagraph (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (3).
    8. Preemption  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to supersede any provision of any Federal, State, or local law that provides greater protection than this subsection for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  4. Notification
    1. Development  The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall develop a notice of the rights of individuals under this section, including the right to confidentiality and the limits thereof.
    2. Provision  Each public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program shall provide the notice developed under paragraph (1), together with the form described in subsection (c)(3)(A), to an applicant for or tenants of housing assisted under a covered housing program--
      1. at the time the applicant is denied residency in a dwelling unit assisted under the covered housing program;
      2. at the time the individual is admitted to a dwelling unit assisted under the covered housing program;
      3. with any notification of eviction or notification of termination of assistance; and
      4. in multiple languages, consistent with guidance issued by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in accordance with Executive Order 13166 (42 U.S.C. 2000d-1 note; relating to access to services for persons with limited English proficiency).
  5. Emergency transfers  Each appropriate agency shall adopt a model emergency transfer plan for use by public housing agencies and owners or managers of housing assisted under covered housing programs that--
    1. allows tenants who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking to transfer to another available and safe dwelling unit assisted under a covered housing program if--
      1. the tenant expressly requests the transfer; and
      2. (i) the tenant reasonably believes that the tenant is threatened with imminent harm from further violence if the tenant remains within the same dwelling unit assisted under a covered housing program; or
        1. in the case of a tenant who is a victim of sexual assault, the sexual assault occurred on the premises during the 90 day period preceding the request for transfer; and
    2. incorporates reasonable confidentiality measures to ensure that the public housing agency or owner or manager does not disclose the location of the dwelling unit of a tenant to a person that commits an act of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against the tenant.
  6. Policies and procedures for emergency transfer  The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall establish policies and procedures under which a victim requesting an emergency transfer under subsection (e) may receive, subject to the availability of tenant protection vouchers, assistance under section 1437f(o) of Title 42.
  7. Implementation  The appropriate agency with respect to each covered housing program shall implement this section, as this section applies to the covered housing program.

34 U.S.C. § 12492.  Compliance reviews 

  1. Regular compliance reviews
    1. In general  Each appropriate agency shall establish a process by which to review compliance with the requirements of this part, which shall--
      1. where possible, be incorporated into other existing compliance review processes of the appropriate agency, in consultation with the Gender-based Violence Prevention Office and Violence Against Women Act Director described in section 12493 of this title and any other relevant officials of the appropriate agency; and
      2. examine--
        1. compliance with requirements prohibiting the denial of assistance, tenancy, or occupancy rights on the basis of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
        2. compliance with confidentiality provisions set forth in section 12491(c)(4) of this title;
        3. compliance with the notification requirements set forth in section 12491(d)(2) of this title;
        4. compliance with the provisions for accepting documentation set forth in section 12491(c) of this title;
        5. compliance with emergency transfer requirements set forth in section 12491(e) of this title; and
        6. compliance with the prohibition on retaliation set forth in section 12494 of this title.
    2. Frequency  Each appropriate agency shall conduct the review described in paragraph (1) on a regular basis, as determined by the appropriate agency.
  2. Regulations
    1. In general  Not later than 2 years after March 15, 2022, each appropriate agency shall issue regulations in accordance with section 553 of Title 5, to implement subsection (a) of this section, which shall--
      1. define standards of compliance under covered housing programs;
      2. include detailed reporting requirements, including the number of emergency transfers requested and granted, as well as the length of time needed to process emergency transfers; and
      3. include standards for corrective action plans where compliance standards have not been met.
    2. Consultation  In developing the regulations under paragraph (1), an appropriate agency shall engage in additional consultation with appropriate stakeholders including, as appropriate--
      1. individuals and organizations with expertise in the housing needs and experiences of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; and
      2. individuals and organizations with expertise in the administration or management of covered housing programs, including industry stakeholders and public housing agencies.
  3. Public disclosure  Each appropriate agency shall ensure that an agency-level assessment of the information collected during the compliance review process completed pursuant to this subsection--
    1. includes an evaluation of each topic identified in subsection (a); and
    2. is made publicly available.

34 U.S.C. § 12493.  Department of Housing and Urban Development Gender-based Violence Prevention Office and Violence Against Women Act Director

  1. Establishment  The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall establish a Gender-based Violence Prevention Office with a Violence Against Women Act Director (in this section referred to as the “Director”).
  2. Duties  The Director shall, among other duties--
    1. support implementation of this subpart;
    2. coordinate with Federal agencies on legislation, implementation, and other issues affecting the housing provisions under this part, as well as other issues related to advancing housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
    3. coordinate with State and local governments and agencies, including State housing finance agencies, regarding advancing housing protections and access to housing for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
    4. ensure that technical assistance and support are provided to each appropriate agency and housing providers regarding implementation of this part, as well as other issues related to advancing housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including compliance with this part;
    5. implement internal systems to track, monitor, and address compliance failures; and
    6. address the housing needs and barriers faced by victims of sexual assault, as well as sexual coercion and sexual harassment by a public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program.
  3. Authorization of appropriations  There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2023 through 2027.

34 U.S.C. § 12494.  Prohibition on retaliation

  1. Non-retaliation requirement  No public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program shall discriminate against any person because that person has opposed any act or practice made unlawful by this part, or because that person testified, assisted, or participated in any matter related to this subpart.
  2. Prohibition on coercion  No public housing agency or owner or manager of housing assisted under a covered housing program shall coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with, or retaliate against, any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, on account of the person having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of the person having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any rights or protections under this subpart, including--
    1. intimidating or threatening any person because that person is assisting or encouraging a person entitled to claim the rights or protections under this subpart; and
    2. retaliating against any person because that person has participated in any investigation or action to enforce this subpart.
  3. Implementation  The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Attorney General shall implement and enforce this subpart consistent with, and in a manner that provides, the rights and remedies provided for in title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.).

34 U.S.C. § 12495.  Right to report crime and emergencies from one's home

  1. Definition  In this section, the term “covered governmental entity” means any municipal, county, or State government that receives funding under section 5306 of Title 42.
  2. Right to report
    1. In general  Landlords, homeowners, tenants, residents, occupants, and guests of, and applicants for, housing--
      1. shall have the right to seek law enforcement or emergency assistance on their own behalf or on behalf of another person in need of assistance; and
      2. shall not be penalized based on their requests for assistance or based on criminal activity of which they are a victim or otherwise not at fault under statutes, ordinances, regulations, or policies adopted or enforced by covered governmental entities.
    2. Prohibited penalties
      Penalties that are prohibited under paragraph (1) include--
      1. actual or threatened assessment of monetary or criminal penalties, fines, or fees;
      2. actual or threatened eviction;
      3. actual or threatened refusal to rent or renew tenancy;
      4. actual or threatened refusal to issue an occupancy permit or landlord permit; and
      5. actual or threatened closure of the property, or designation of the property as a nuisance or a similarly negative designation.
  3. Reporting Consistent with the process described in section 5304(b) of Title 42, covered governmental entities shall--
    1. report any of their laws or policies, or, as applicable, the laws or policies adopted by subgrantees, that impose penalties on landlords, homeowners, tenants, residents, occupants, guests, or housing applicants based on requests for law enforcement or emergency assistance or based on criminal activity that occurred at a property; and
    2. certify that they are in compliance with the protections under this part or describe the steps the covered governmental entities will take within 180 days to come into compliance, or to ensure compliance among subgrantees.
  4. Implementation  The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the Attorney General shall implement and enforce this subpart consistent with, and in a manner that provides, the same rights and remedies as those provided for in title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.).
  5. Subgrantees  For those covered governmental entities that distribute funds to subgrantees, compliance with subsection (c)(1) includes inquiring about the existence of laws and policies adopted by subgrantees that impose penalties on landlords, homeowners, tenants, residents, occupants, guests, or housing applicants based on requests for law enforcement or emergency assistance or based on criminal activity that occurred at a property.

34 U.S.C. § 12496.  Training and technical assistance grants

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2023 through 2027 to be used for training and technical assistance to support the implementation of this subpart, including technical assistance agreements with entities whose primary purpose and expertise is assisting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence or providing culturally specific services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Updated January 17, 2023

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