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Female Headed Households

Protections for Families Headed by Women!

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination
Denial of a rental unit or offering different terms and conditions for rental aren't the only way in which households that are headed by females suffer discrimination.  Some other forms of discrimination based on gender include
  • repeated comments of a sexual nature after tenant has made clear that these are unwanted or improper
  • demands for sexual favors
  • intrusive inspections of personal belongings
  • abusive language that identifies a gender stereotype (you know the words...)
  • voyerism, peeping, lurking and stalking.
Landlord or property manager is responsible for the actions of employees and contractors.  If someone on the premises working for the landlord is acting improperly report the situation to the landlord/manager immediately IN WRITING and ask for a written response.  You may also want to call the police if you believe that you are in danger.

Because many times this form of discrimination occurs one-on-one, it is important to document incidents in writing as quickly as possible and to put the perpetrator on notice that the behavior is UNWANTED.  Witnesses can be helpful.  Recording an incident is legal in Ohio. 

 Domestic Violence Protections Extended
Since 2005 the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provided additional housing rights for victims of domestic violence living in HUD assisted housing. 

This year, VAWA was renewed and extended to provide protections to households living in USDA and Low Income Housing Tax Credit Housing as well as the range of HUD programs previously covered by the Act (referred to as “covered housing.”)

What are the basic housing protections for victims of domestic violence?

  • Prohibits an applicant from being denied admission to covered housing or a tenant from being terminated from housing on the basis that the applicant or tenant is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Defines an incident of actual or threatened domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking as NOT CONSTITUTING as a serious or repeated violation of the lease by the victim and will not be good cause for terminating the assistance or tenancy of the victim.
  • Prohibits any person from being denied assistance, tenancy or occupancy rights to housing solely on the basis of criminal activity, if that activity is directly related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking engaged in by a household member, guest or any person under the tenant’s control, if the tenant or affiliated individual of the tenant is the victim.
  • Permits emergency transfers of households if the tenant reasonably believes that she/he is threatened with imminent harm from further violence if she/he remains within the same assisted dwelling unit, or if a sexual assault occurred on the premises within 90 days before the transfer request.
  • PHAs, owners and managers of the covered housing programs may terminate assistance to any tenant or lawful occupant who engages in criminal acts of violence against an affiliated individual or others without penalizing the survivor who is also a tenant or lawful occupant.

What are the covered properties?
  • Public housing;
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program;
  • Section 8 project-based housing;
  • Section 202 housing for the elderly;
  • Section 811 housing for people with disabilities;
  • Section 236 multifamily rental housing;
  • Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) housing;
  • HOME funded properties
  • Housing Opportunities for People with Aids (HOPWA);
  • McKinney-Vento Act programs (homeless programs)
  • Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) multifamily housing programs.
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

How Important is VAWA Protection?
Enterprise Foundation notes: “Domestic violence rates have fallen by 67 percent between 1993 and 2010, and we believe that VAWA was a key contributor to that reduction. There is still much more work that needs to be done, particularly given that the decline has since leveled off and significant reductions in federal funding have ensued.”

For more information on VAWA protections see the documents appended at the bottom of this page.
Spencer Wells,
Oct 13, 2013, 1:00 PM