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    Domestic Violence (VAWA)

    What You Should Know
     

    The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA) ensures that:

    • You (man, woman or child) cannot be denied a housing voucher solely because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
    • A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you solely because you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
    • Your landlord cannot evict you from your unit on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking against you, unless your landlord can show there is an actual and imminent threat to the safety of other tenants if you are not evicted.
    • Your housing voucher cannot be revoked on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking against you, unless your landlord can show there is an actual and imminent threat to the safety of other tenants or staff if the voucher is not revoked.
    • If your abuser is certified by TCHAO as a member of the household, your landlord can evict your abuser for his or her acts of domestic violence, but your landlord may not evict or otherwise penalize you, unless (as described above) your landlord can show there is an actual imminent threat to the safety of other tenants or staff if you are not evicted.
    • If you or your abuser share a housing choice voucher, your abuser can be removed from the voucher for his or her acts of domestic violence, but (assuming you continue to qualify for the voucher) on this basis, unless (as described above) TCHAO can show there is an actual and imminent threat to the safety of other tenants or staff if the voucher is not revoked.
    • Your landlord may evict you for serious or repeated lease violations that are unrelated to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking against you, as long as he or she does not hold you to a more demanding set of rules than he or she applies to tenants who are not victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
    • Your voucher assistance may be terminated based on serious or repeated lease violations that are unrelated to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking against you, as long as TCHAO does not hold you to a more demanding set of rules than it applies to voucher holders who are not victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
    • Your landlord, or the voucher agency providing your housing voucher, can ask you to prove, or "certify" that you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking -- which entitles you to the above rights.
    • If you claim protection under VAWA against termination of your tenancy or assistance, the owner, manager or TCHAO will require you to deliver a certification concerning the incident or incidents, within 14 business days, showing the necessary proof. If you do not deliver the certification within 14 business days from the date of the request, you will lose your legal protection under VAWA.

    How to Certify
     

    If an individual is a victim of domestic violence, the person must certify that he/she is a victim of domestic violence and that the incidence(s) of abuse are bona fide, by following these procedures in reporting the incident(s) to TCHAO and/or the landlord:

    1. Complete and submit the HUD approved form HUD 50066 (if you do not have one you may contact TCHAO at 817- 531-7640 or pick one up from our office.
    2. Complete and submit a signed statement by the victim that provides the name of the perpetrator and certifies that the incidents in question are bona fide incidents of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
    3. Provide a police report or court record documenting the actual or threatened abuse.
    4. A documented statement containing the name of the perpetrator, and signed by the victim and an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider; an attorney; a medical professional; or another knowledgeable professional from whom the victim has sought assistance in addressing the actual or threatened abuse. The professional must attest under penalty of perjury that the incidents in question are bona fide incidents of abuse, and the victim must sign or attest to the statement.

    The victim must submit the required certification within 14 business days after receipt of the request for certification from TCHAO or the landlord.