The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued guidance for assessing housing discrimination in cases of domestic violence.
According to the HUD, residents who are denied or evicted from housing due to domestic violence may have the right to file a discrimination complaint under the Fair Housing Act and the Violence Against Women Act. The Fair Housing Act allows the HUD to investigate whether the housing denial violates the Act’s stipulation that landlords may not discriminate based on gender.
Under the guidance, a landlord refusing to accept a woman with a history of domestic violence because of fear that she might enter another abusive relationship may violate the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, evicting women for the violent acts of their abusers under a “zero-tolerance” policy for criminal activity in a household may violate the Fair Housing Act. The guidance emphasizes the impact evictions have on women because women comprise the majority of domestic violence victims.
The guidance cites recent housing discrimination cases and explains how the Violence Against Women Act protects victims of abuse from housing discrimination. The guidance was published online in February 2011.
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