Victims of Domestic Violence

Victims of Domestic Violence

It is illegal to discriminate against someone due to a history of experiencing domestic violence. Refusing to rent to someone because they have been a victim of domestic violence or stalking violates the Fair Housing Act.

A zero tolerance policy for crime that is applied to victims of domestic violence violates the Fair Housing Act. As a landlord, you can establish a zero tolerance policy for crime committed on the property and you can evict tenants who commit crimes on your property. However, you cannot apply this policy to the victims of domestic violence.

Q&A Victims of Domestic Violence Eviction

One of your tenants is a victim of domestic violence and calls the police when her abuser shows up at her apartment in violation of a protection from abuse order. Can I evict the tenant for police activity?

No. It would violate the Fair Housing Act for you to evict the tenant who is the victim. Even if you have a zero tolerance policy against crime, you cannot apply this policy to the victim of a crime. Even in cases where the abuse takes place on your property, you may not evict a tenant because they have been a victim of domestic violence. You do, of course, have every right to call the police immediately if violence is occurring on your property. You also are permitted to evict a perpetrator of domestic violence if you have verifiable information that the resident is engaging in violent behavior.

Please note that landlords who accept Housing Choice Vouchers, must comply with the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For more information, refer to Enforcement of Local Nuisance and Crime-Free Ordinances Against Victims of Domestic Violence and Other Crime Victims


Violence Against Women Act Resources:
National Domestic Violence Hotline

For more information, visit

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Among the services provided to domestic violence victims are: crisis intervention; counseling; accompaniment to police, medical, and court facilities; and temporary emergency shelter for victims and their dependent children. Prevention and educational programs are provided to lessen the risk of domestic violence in the community at large. For more information, visit


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