Legal Information: Federal

VAWA Housing Protections

September 17, 2021

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)

WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.