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    Domestic Violence (VAWA)

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

    • No one can be denied a housing voucher solely because they are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

    • A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant solely because they are or have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

    • Landlords cannot evict tenants from their unit on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking -- unless you can show there is an actual and imminent threat to the safety of other tenants if the tenant is not evicted.

    • Housing vouchers cannot be revoked on the basis of criminal activity directly relating to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking -- unless you can show there is an actual and imminent threat to the safety of other tenants or staff if the voucher is not revoked.

    • If the abuser is certified by TCHAO as a member of the household, a landlord can evict the abuser for his or her acts of domestic violence, but may not evict or otherwise penalize the victim or other members of the household -- unless (as described above) you can show there is an actual imminent threat to the safety of other tenants or staff if the tenant is not evicted.

    • If the tenant or the tenant's abuser share a housing choice voucher, the abuser can be removed from the voucher for his or her acts of domestic violence, but (assuming the victim continues 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.

    • Landlords may evict tenants for serious or repeated lease violations that are unrelated to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, as long as it does not hold victims to a more demanding set of rules than it applies to tenants who are not victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

    • Voucher assistance may be terminated based on serious or repeated lease violations that are unrelated to domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, as long as TCHAO does not hold the victim to a more demanding set of rules than it applies to voucher holders who are not victims of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.

    • Landlords or TCHAO are required to ask victims to prove, or "certify," that they are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, which entitles the victim to the above rights.

    If a victim claims protection under VAWA against termination of tenancy or assistance, the owner, manager or TCHAO will require the victim to deliver a certification concerning the incident or incidents, within 14 business days, showing the necessary proof. If the victim does not deliver the certification within 14 business days from the date of the request, the victim will lose their legal protection under VAWA.

    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 the victim does not have one they may print the form from our website.  Contact TCHAO at 817-531-7640 to 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. Submit a police report or court record documenting the actual or threatened abuse.

    4. Present 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.