A new report from the ACLU and partners shows state housing agencies haven't implemented VAWA protections in rental leases.
By Cristel Taveras, Legal Assistant, Women's Rights Project, ACLU
After her ex-boyfriend stalked and harassed her, Tanica Lewis obtained a personal protection order against him. She informed her Detroit landlord of the order, which required him to stay away from her apartment. In March 2006, while she was at work, he broke the windows of her home and kicked in the door.
Ms. Lewis reported the incident to the police and the property manager. Despite the protective order, the landlord held her responsible for property damage resulting from the home invasion and issued her an eviction notice. Ms. Lewis was forced to move her family from the property to a more expensive apartment that was also located further from her job.
At the time, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — which prohibits evicting survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking based on the violence — did not apply to housing such as Ms. Lewis', which was funded by the Low-income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. This changed in 2013 when Congress amended VAWA to cover LIHTC properties to protect survivors like Ms. Lewis. The expansion was significant, as LIHTC funds about 90 percent of affordable housing developed today.
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