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Legal Information: Federal

VAWA Housing Protections

Laws current as of
January 1, 2024

How does VAWA protect the housing rights of victims? Do private landlords have to follow the law?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects federally subsidized tenants from being denied housing or from being evicted because they are the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. A federally subsidized tenant includes someone who lives in a public housing project, has a Section 8 voucher, or lives in a rental unit that receives federal housing assistance.1 VAWA does not cover private, market-rate housing unless your landlord accepts your Section 8 voucher. Otherwise, private landlords do not have to follow the protections explained in this section.

VAWA aims to encourage survivors who are receiving housing subsidies to report and seek help for the abuse committed against them, without being afraid of being evicted.

1 34 USC § 12491(b)(1)

What federal housing programs have VAWA protections?

Federal housing programs that are subject to VAWA protections include:

  • Public Housing
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
  • Project-based Section 8
  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
  • Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities
  • § 236 Multifamily Rental Housing
  • § 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate
  • HOME
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
  • McKinney-Vento Act Homelessness Programs
  • Rural Development Multifamily programs
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit1
  • Housing Trust Fund.2

1 34 USC § 12491(a)(3)
2 24 C.F.R. § 5.2003