OHFA's Policy on the
Violence Against Women Act

 

Basics of Violence Against Women Act

With the reauthorization by Congress of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program was added to the list of covered programs. The VAWA protections apply to all victims of domestic violence and other related crimes, regardless of gender. The following housing programs are covered by VAWA: 

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
    • Public Housing;
    • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program;
    • Section 8 project-based housing;
    • Section 202 housing for the elderly;
    • Section 811 housing for people with disabilities;
    • Section 236 multifamily rental housing;
    • Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing;
    • HOME;
    • Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA);
    • McKinney-Vento Act programs.
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Rural Development (RD) multifamily housing programs such as 515 or 538
    • Department of Treasury
    • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (HTC) 

Within the VAWA protections, an applicant or tenant of housing assisted under the HTC program may not be denied admission, denied assistance, terminated  or evicted from the housing on the basis that they are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. These applicants or tenants must also otherwise qualify for admission, assistance, participation or occupancy. An incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking shall not be considered a lease violation by the victim, nor shall it be considered good cause for an eviction. If a tenant who is a victim requests an early lease termination, lease bifurcation from the abuser or transfer to another unit because she/he feels that she/he is in danger, an HTC owner/manager shall make every effort to comply with the request and shall not penalize the tenant.

 

OHFA Requirements for VAWA

Adherence to the requirements of VAWA is required for all OHFA multifamily funding programs, including LIHTC, HOME, National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), Ohio Housing Trust Fund (OHTF). Properties that received funding of HOME and NHTF are required to follow the HUD 2013 VAWA Final Rule. Although the IRS has not provided guidance on how to comply with the VAWA, OHFA recommends properties with HTC funding follow the HUD 2013 VAWA Final Rule when implementing VAWA Rule protections for their tenants. 

 

Tenants and applicants must be informed of their rights under VAWA. OHFA recommends use of the HUD Notice of Occupancy Rights under VAWA form 5380 and language incorporated into the tenant selection plans. The OHFA Tax Credit Lease Addendum contains language regarding following VAWA. However, additional language regarding VAWA can be incorporated into the lease or the HUD VAWA Lease Addendum may be used in addition to the OHFA Addendum.

 

Each owner or manager is required to have an emergency transfer plan (HUD Model Plan) for victims seeking safety, which incorporates reasonable confidentiality measures to ensure that the owner or manager does not disclose the location of the dwelling unit of a tenant to a person that commits an act of violence or stalking against the tenant.

 

OHFA recommends the use of HUD forms when rights under VAWA are invoked, which include the Certification of Domestic Violence form 5382 and the Emergency Transfer Request form 5383. Other possible documentation includes an affidavit signed by the victim under penalty of perjury; an affidavit or letter signed by a domestic violence service provider, attorney or medical/mental health professional who assisted the victim; or a court or administrative record. This submission shall be confidential. HUD also provides VAWA forms in multiple languages.

 

Beginning with the 2017 Annual Owner Certification Reporting cycle, OHFA will require owners certify compliance with VAWA requirements. The VAWA certification will be a separate form and not part of the Annual Owner Certification. Additional information on the VAWA certification will be issued in several months. Should an owner encounter a conflict between VAWA and a Housing Tax Credit rule, such as the Full-Time Student Rule, the owner should contact OHFA's Office of Program Compliance for additional guidance.

 

Questions regarding this message may be directed to Betsy Krieger, Director of Program Compliance, bkrieger@ohiohome.org.  

 

Links for Guidance and related VAWA forms:

 

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