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Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides housing protections for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Owners and managers of housing under federally covered housing programs must provide tenants access to VAWA protections. Minnesota Housing implements the following covered programs:

All properties under these programs must comply with VAWA’s statutory requirements. Program-specific guidance may be provided through the Agency’s program compliance guides.

Survivors' Rights

Survivor’s Rights Under VAWA

Under VAWA, survivors of abuse or violence who reside in or are applying for housing at a covered property have rights. They:

  • Cannot be denied admission to or assistance because of the violence or abuse
  • Cannot be evicted or have their assistance terminated because of the violence or abuse
  • Cannot be denied admission for reasons related to the violence or abuse
  • Must have the option to stay in their housing, even if there has been criminal activity directly related to the violence or abuse
  • Can request an emergency transfer from the housing provider for safety reasons
  • Must be allowed to move with continued assistance if they have a Housing Choice Voucher
  • Must be able to self-certify about the abuse using a HUD Form, unless there is conflicting information
  • Must receive HUD’s Notice of VAWA Housing Rights if they are denied admission, when they are admitted, and when they receive an eviction or notice of termination
  • Has a right to confidentiality regarding their status as a survivor
  • Can request a lease bifurcation from the owner of the property to remove the perpetrator of the violence or abuse from the lease
  • Cannot be coerced, intimidated, threatened, or retaliated against by housing providers for seeking or exercising their protections under VAWA
  • Has the right to seek police or emergency assistance for themselves or others without being penalized

For Help

Property Owner and Managers Obligations

Property Owner and Manager Obligations

Property owners or managers must notify tenants of their rights and obligations under VAWA when:

  • An application is denied
  • A household is admitted
  • A notice of eviction is given
  • A notice of termination of tenancy is given

Additionally, they must:

  • Provide an emergency transfer for a VAWA survivor. This means allowing tenants to move to another unit if they fear for their safety
  • Bifurcate leases to evict or terminate the tenancy of the perpetrator of abuse or violence
    • A tenant cannot be penalized for requesting an emergency transfer or lease bifurcation
    • If the survivor is part of an eligible household, owners and managers must continue housing the survivor

Property owners and managers must not discriminate or retaliate against a survivor based on their status as a survivor or because they exercised any right under VAWA.

Learn More

For VAWA forms, visit HUD's VAWA forms

Find samples of required documents, such as VAWA lease addendums and Emergency Transfer Plans, on Documents, Forms and Resources.