Pennsylvania just became the first state to adopt a policy designed to protect victims of domestic violence who are also residents of certain subsidized multifamily properties from eviction. The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), adopted a new Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) on September 12, 2012, which provides for the first time that being a victim of domestic violence does not constitute “good cause” for an eviction in Pennsylvania projects funded by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs).
The 2013 QAP provides: “Experience as of victim of domestic violence alone may not constitute good cause for eviction under the terms of the lease.” LIHTC owners are now required to certify annually, under penalty of perjury, that they comply with this provision. This change provides critical projections to domestic violence victims. Before this change, the 80,000 LIHTC units in Pennsylvania could have leases containing provisions allowing an owner to evict a tenant if the police was called to the unit. In the case of domestic violence, the victim could be “double victimized” if they or a neighbor chose to call the police to report the abuse.
RHLS, along with attorneys from Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, researched the issue and advocated for this change for more than three years.