HUD recently issued guidance in the form of a memorandum to FHEO headquarters and field staff, pointing out that while the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) offers some protections to victims of abuse who experience housing discrimination, the FHA authorizes HUD to investigate whether a tenant's denial or eviction violates the FHA because of discrimination based on sex or another protected class.
In its guidance, HUD suggests that the following examples may yield a viable claim under the FHA:
- A landlord who refuses to accept women with a history of domestic violence because they may return to abusive men;
- A landlord who evicts women for the violent acts of their abusers; and
- A "zero-tolerance" policy for criminal activity, under which an entire household may be evicted for the criminal act of one member, as it may have a disparate impact on women because they are the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims.
What do you think?