The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued guidance making it clear that residents who are denied or evicted from housing as a result of domestic violence may have basis to file a discrimination complaint with HUD under the federal Fair Housing Act. HUD’s guidance states that while the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides some protections to victims of abuse who experience housing discrimination, the Fair Housing Act provides authority for HUD to investigate whether the denial or eviction violates the Act based on gender or another federally-protected basis.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.
“People in abusive relationships are not only victims of abuse, but potential victims of housing discrimination,” said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Evicting a domestic violence victim from her home robs her of the one anchor she has in a sea of uncertainty. HUD is committed to using the Fair Housing Act to protect victims of abuse from unlawful denial of access to decent, affordable housing.”