Part 5 - Crucial VAWA Questions Answered by HUD

HUD's recent explanation of its VAWA regulation provides guidance for HUD programs and a safe harbor for tax credit properties. This series discusses several of the key questions answered by the HUD VAWA final rule. NOTE: The regulation can be found HERE and are referenced in these articles starting with VAWA 2016 Fed.Reg. and then by page numbers of the PDF from the Federal Register found at the above link. The Rural Development follow-up is HERE.

Question 12: In article 3 of this series question 8 discussed the provision that allows 14 days for persons claiming victim status to provide documentation. Are the 14 days business days or calendar days? We are open on Saturdays, is this a business day?

Answer: The 14 days allowed are business days. HUD states that this excludes federal holidays, Saturdays and Sundays. (VAWA 2016 Fed.Reg. 80819)

Questions 13: Also, the above-mentioned article discussed the 30 days allowed for cases where third party documentation may be required because of conflicting evidence. Are these calendar days or business days?

Answer: HUD specifically refers to the 30 days for this provision as "generally the period of one rent cycle," so this is 30 calendar days. (VAWA 2016 Fed.Reg. 80762)

Question 14: As part of an arrangement with a victim, can we require that a victim contact the police or get a restraining order against the perpetrator of violence? What if the perpetrator will not stay away and poses a threat to others?

Answer: An owner/agent may pursue whatever police action, no-trespass or restraining action they have available to them under law to limit access of a violent person to the property. However, they cannot require victims take these enforcement actions. HUD says "survivors do not have to contact authorities, such as police, or initiate legal proceedings against an abuser or perpetrator in order to qualify for VAWA protections. The statute has no such requirements and instead allows survivors to provide self-certification about the VAWA incident(s)."

HUD does add that "a housing provider may evict or terminate assistance to a tenant if the housing provider can demonstrate an actual and imminent threat to other tenants, or those employed at or providing services to the property, if the tenant is not evicted or assistance is not terminated. However, they caution that "housing providers should only take such actions when there are no other actions that could be taken to reduce or eliminate the threat." (VAWA 2016 Fed.Reg. 80731)

Up Next: "Questions HUD did NOT answer...yet" ...and more!

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