HUD Issues Clarification on Implementing VAWA

November 6, 2009
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HUD has just reissued Notice H08-07, Implementation of the Violence Against Women and Justice Department Reauthorization Act of 2005 for the Multifamily Project-Based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program, as Notice H09-15. The reissued notice is intended to clarify some of the VAWA requirements that have been misinterpreted by site owners and managers.

For instance, some have erroneously assumed that the VAWA notice applies only to women who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. HUD’s reissued notice stresses that the statute is not gender specific and also applies to men. In several instances, the notice uses “he/she” when referring to a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

Therefore, owners and management agents must provide all new tenants with the applicable HUD model lease along with the VAWA Lease Addendum (Form HUD-91067). In addition to a copy of the lease addendum, owners and managers should also send a letter to all existing tenants, which gives them the choice of either accepting the modification to the lease by signing the VAWA addendum or moving. The VAWA lease addendum must be signed by every adult member of the household, and a response is due within 30 days.

Finally, although the lease addendum must be signed by all new and existing tenants as of the effective date of the initial VAWA Notice, September 30, 2008, the Certification of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking (Form HUD-91066), which is also an attachment to the notice, does not need to be signed by every adult member of the household. An owner or manager responding to a resident’s report of an incident of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking that could potentially have an impact on the resident’s participation in project-based Section 8 program may request that the victim complete, sign, and submit this form within 14 days of the request. And, an owner or manager may extend this time period at his or her discretion.

Instead of a certification form or in addition to it, an owner or manager may accept: a federal, state, tribal, territorial, or local police record or court record; or documentation signed and attested to by a professional from whom the victim has sought assistance in addressing the problem.