National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault

Federal Housing Law Affecting Victims publications

 

Publications:


Additional Resources - 2

Case Law - 9

Legal Pleadings and Forms - 7

Statutes - 1

 

Additional Resources

 

A Perfect Storm A Perfect Storm

 

Andrea L. Johnson, A Perfect Storm: the U.S. Antitrafficking Regime's Failure to Stop the Sex Trafficking of American Indian Women and Girls. This law review article discusses why American Indian/Alaskan Native women are more susceptible than the general population to becoming victims of human trafficking. It also looks at shortcomings in the current judicial and law enforcement models in preventing the trafficking of AIAN women.

 

 

Handbook on Justice for Victims Handbook on Justice for Victims

 

This handbook, developed by the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, outlines the basic steps in developing comprehensive assistance services for victims of crime.

 

 

Case Law

 

Complaint, United States v. C.B.M. Group Inc, No. 01-857-PA Complaint, United States v. C.B.M. Group Inc, No. 01-857-PA

 

In this case, a woman was severely beaten by her husband in her apartment. Two days later, Ms. Alvera's landlord served her with a twenty-four-hour notice terminating her tenancy. The notice explained that she was being evicted because "[y]ou, someone in your control, or your pet, has seriously threatened immediately to inflict personal injury, or has inflicted personal injury upon the landlord or other tenants." In this complaint, filed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Ms. Alvera's behalf, Ms. Alvera was able to successfully argue that the sex discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act prevent the landlord from being able to evict her.

 

 

Hous. Auth. of St. Louis County v. Boone, 747 S.W.2d 311 (Mo. Ct. App. 1988) Hous. Auth. of St. Louis County v. Boone, 747 S.W.2d 311 (Mo. Ct. App. 1988)

 

This case occurred several years before the Violence Against Women Act. Here, a public housing tenant requested that the housing authority remove her husband from the lease after he fired a gun in the apartment. Then, the tenant informed the housing authority that she had separated from her husband. She requested a hearing and asked for a rent adjustment based on the change in her family composition and income. At the hearing the tenant submitted a restraining order she had obtained against her husband, but the housing authority refused to act on the tenant's request to remove him from the lease. The court reversed the housing authority's decision and ordered the housing authority to reduce the tenant's rent to reflect the change in her family composition, to terminate the husband's tenancy, and to renew the tenant's lease for one year.

 

 

Meister v. Kansas City Housing Authority, 2011 WL 765887 (D. Kan. Feb. 25, 2011) Meister v. Kansas City Housing Authority, 2011 WL 765887 (D. Kan. Feb. 25, 2011)

 

A housing authority terminated a Section 8 tenant's voucher because of damages to her apartment; the tenant explained that the damages occurred as part of a domestic violence episode committed against her. The tenant filed suit against the housing authority in the United States District Court of Kansas, arguing that the termination of her voucher violated the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and constituted sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. In this order, the district court held that there was a material issue of fact as to whether the housing authority knew that the damage to the tenant's unit was caused by domestic violence.

 

 

Metro North Owners, LLC v. Thorpe, 2008 NY Slip Op 28522 (N.Y. Civ. Ct. Dec. 25, 2008) Metro North Owners, LLC v. Thorpe, 2008 NY Slip Op 28522 (N.Y. Civ. Ct. Dec. 25, 2008)

 

In this case, the landlord, Metro North Owners, sought to evict a tenant that received Section 8 housing assistance on the grounds that she stabbed her partner in her apartment. The tenant produced valid police reports and a restraining order against her partner, proving that she was the victim of domestic violence. She also produced evidence that the district attorney's office declined to prosecute her for the stabbing. The court found that the tenant was the victim of domestic violence, and that the Violence Against Women Act prohibited the landlord from evicting her for the stabbing.

 

 

Miller v. McCormick, 605 F. Supp. 2d 296 (D. Me. 2009) Miller v. McCormick, 605 F. Supp. 2d 296 (D. Me. 2009)

 

In this case, a state housing authority tried to terminate a tenant's Section 8 housing vouchers, because he was a lifetime registered sex offender. Despite the fact that the Violence Against Women Act prohibits lifetime registered sex offenders from receiving federal housing assistance, the Act does not expressly provide for and the Department of Housing and Urban Development's regulations do not directly address revoking a lifetime registered sex offender's federal housing assistance. Instead, the law and regulations just prevent sex offenders from receiving federal housing assistance in the first place. Thus, because of this oversight, the tenant was allowed to continue receiving Section 8 vouchers.

 

 

Perkins-Bey v. Housing Authority of St. Louis, No. 4:11CV310 JCH (E.D. Mo. Mar. 14, 2011) Perkins-Bey v. Housing Authority of St. Louis, No. 4:11CV310 JCH (E.D. Mo. Mar. 14, 2011)

 

In this case, a state housing authority tried to terminate a tenant's Section 8 housing vouchers, because he was a lifetime registered sex offender. Despite the fact that the Violence Against Women Act prohibits lifetime registered sex offenders from receiving federal housing assistance, the Act does not expressly provide for and the Department of Housing and Urban Development's regulations do not directly address revoking a lifetime registered sex offender's federal housing assistance. Instead, the law and regulations just prevent sex offenders from receiving federal housing assistance in the first place. Thus, because of this oversight, the tenant was allowed to continue receiving Section 8 vouchers.

 

 

Pittman v. Dakota County Cmty. Dev. Agency, 2009 WL 112948 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 20, 2009) Pittman v. Dakota County Cmty. Dev. Agency, 2009 WL 112948 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 20, 2009)

 

In this case, a public housing authority initiated proceedings to terminate a tenant's Section 8 voucher for having an unauthorized occupant in her unit. At an informal hearing, the voucher recipient testified that this person had physically abused her several times, and she introduced evidence that he lived at another address entirely. Regardless, the housing authority terminated her Section 8 voucher assistance. On appeal, the appellate court reversed the termination because the hearing officer did not consider the evidence that the tenant was the victim of domestic violence perpetrated by the alleged unauthorized occupant.

 

 

Reasonable Cause Finding United States v. C.B.M Group Inc., No. 01-857-PA Reasonable Cause Finding United States v. C.B.M Group Inc., No. 01-857-PA

 

Reasonable Cause Finding, United States v. C.B.M. Group Inc., No. 01-857-PA (D. Or. filed June 8, 2001). In this case, a woman was severely beaten by her husband in her apartment. Two days later, Ms. Alvera's landlord served her with a twenty-four-hour notice terminating her tenancy. The notice explained that she was being evicted because "[y]ou, someone in your control, or your pet, has seriously threatened immediately to inflict personal injury, or has inflicted personal injury upon the landlord or other tenants." In this case, Ms. Alvera was able to successfully argue that the sex discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act prevent the landlord from being able to evict her.

 

 

Robinson v. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, No. 1:08-CV-238 (S.D. Ohio 2008) Robinson v. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, No. 1:08-CV-238 (S.D. Ohio 2008)

 

A tenant requested a transfer to another public housing unit after she was attacked in her home by her boyfriend. Despite the fact that she felt in fear for her life in her home, the housing authority denied her request, stating that its internal policy did not provide for domestic violence transfers. The tenant alleged that by refusing to grant her occupancy rights granted to other tenants based on the acts of her abuser, the housing authority intentionally discriminated against her on the basis of sex. The court denied her relief, holding that the housing authority did not have to grant her a transfer.

 

 

Legal Pleadings and Forms

 

Department of HUD Memorandum: Implementation of VAWA 2005 Department of HUD Memorandum: Implementation of VAWA 2005

 

This memorandum, distributed by the Department for Housing and Urban Development, explains the applicability of the Violence Against Women Act to multi-family complexes that take Section 8 vouchers.

 

 

Department of HUD Memorandum: Sexual Discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act Department of HUD Memorandum: Sexual Discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act

 

This memorandum, distributed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, outlines how lawyers have successfully used the sex discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act to challenge women's evictions based on being the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault in their own apartments.

 

 

Department of HUD Part III - The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005: Applicability to HUD Programs, 72 Fed. Reg. 12696 Department of HUD Part III - The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005: Applicability to HUD Programs, 72 Fed. Reg. 12696

 

The Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005: Applicability to HUD Programs, 72 Fed. Reg. 12696 (Mar. 16, 2007). This Notice published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) discusses the applicability of The Violence Against Women and Justice Department Reauthorization Act of 2005 to public housing programs. Significantly, it notes that this provision does not apply to Indian Housing.

 

 

Department of HUD Part IV - 65 Fed. Reg. 66246 Department of HUD Part IV - 65 Fed. Reg. 66246

 

65 Fed. Reg. 66246. This is the final rule concerning the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) implementation of the Violence Against Women Act.

 

 

Fair Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Victims Summary Fair Housing Protections for Domestic Violence Victims Summary

 

This document provides a concise summary for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault's rights under federal housing laws.

 

 

Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook Chapter 19 - Domestic Violence Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook Chapter 19 - Domestic Violence

 

This handbook excerpt, produced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, discusses the issue of domestic violence in public housing.

 

 

United States Inspector Generals Office Report HUD Compliance with VAWA United States Inspector Generals Office Report HUD Compliance with VAWA

 

This report, from the United States Inspector General's Office, describes an audit performed on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) compliance with the Violence Against Women's Act's prohibition against admitting lifetime registered sex offenders to HUD-subsidized housing. The report concludes that between 2,094 and 3,046 of HUD-subsidized households contain lifetime registered sex offenders.

 

 

Statutes

 

Violence Against Women Act (2005) Violence Against Women Act (2005)

 

Violence Against Women Act (2005)- The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act passed in 2005 improved upon Congress' original efforts in 1994 and 2000 and focused on: provisions that exclusively serve to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence but also include immigration protections to alleviate violence against immigrant women that previous legislation had tried, but failed to alleviate; prevention strategies to stop violence before it starts; protecting individuals from unfair eviction due to their status as victims of domestic violence or stalking; creating the first federal funding stream to support rape crisis centers; developing culturally-and linguistically-specific services for communities; enhancing programs and services for victims with disabilities; and broadening VAWA service provisions to include children and teenagers.

 

 

National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault, a project by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy © 2017

This project was supported by  Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessary represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. All rights reserved. | Privacy policy