Domestic Violence Survivors Critical Housing Protections

National Housing Law Project Updates Compilation of Laws Protecting Domestic Violence Survivors

The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) recently updated its annual compendium of state and local laws which protect domestic violence survivors. Most of these laws relate to the housing rights and benefits offered to domestic violence survivors.

The NHLP’s mission is “to advance housing justice for poor people and communities.”

The latest update in this report covers the state and local laws enacted in the United States as of December 2017. These crucial laws provide critical housing protections to an already vulnerable population.

This compendium has been published annually since 2010. Its goal is to serve as a starting point for advocates researching housing protections for domestic abuse survivors provided by state and local laws.

Since 2010, the reports show an increase in state and local jurisdictions enacting a variety of housing protections for survivors. Domestic violence and housing advocates have been helpful in addressing the obstacles that survivors face in acquiring and maintaining housing.

Some of the NHLP’s findings include:

  • 27 states have early lease-termination laws for domestic violence survivors
  • 18 states require abusers to finance or provide housing for domestic violence survivors
  • 24 states and local governments established eviction-defense laws for survivors
  • 40 states permit courts to exclude a domestic abuser from housing and then also grant possession of the property to the abuse survivor
  • 44 states and localities established laws relating to confidentiality of housing records and documentation of survivors
  • 15 states have laws protecting survivors who are tenants and their right to call the police or law enforcement for emergency assistance

Although this report includes information as of December 2017, it is important to keep up to date with state and local laws. Many states are still in the process of adopting and amending domestic violence and housing laws, so advocates should make sure to carefully check legislation to get the most current information.

Housing Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors: A State and Local Compendium

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