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HUD publishes proposed rule on VAWA 2013 implementation

Yesterday in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule to amend HUD’s regulations to fully implement the requirements of the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

The proposed rule was previously announced in a press release, which explained that VAWA 2013 expands HUD’s authority to protect survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who reside in assisted housing. As such, the rule proposes to:

  • Include “sexual assault” as an action covered by VAWA protections
  • Establish a definition for affiliated individual based on the statutory definition
  • Apply VAWA protections to the Housing Trust, which was not statutorily listed as a covered program
  • Establish a reasonable period of time during which a tenant (in situations in which the tenant is not the perpetrator) may establish eligibility to remain in housing, where the tenant’s household is divided due to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and where the tenant was not the member of the household that previously established eligibility for assistance
  • Establish what constitutes a safe and available unit to which a victim can be transferred on an emergency basis
  • Establish what documentation requirements, if any, should be required of a tenant seeking an emergency transfer to another assisted unit

In addition to the above proposed regulatory amendments, HUD is also publishing for public comment two documents concerning tenant protections provided under VAWA 2013: a notice of occupancy rights and an emergency transfer plan. HUD is clear that although VAWA refers to women in its title, protections are afforded to all victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.

If you wish to submit comments on the proposed rule, you will find instructions following the “Addresses” heading in the preamble. Comments are due by June 1, 2015.

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