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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 100053
Experience:  Attorney
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Issue: A separated husband and wife live together in

Customer Question

Issue: A separated husband and wife live together in government housing. The husband is disabled and is being physically abused by his separated wife. The husband wants the wife evicted. Questions: (1) Is there any recourse under VAWA for this? (2) If
not, how can the separated husband have his wife evicted? The jurisdiction is the District of Columba. Under California law, I'm familiar with the concept of residence exclusion (“kick-out” or “move-out”) orders. These are orders telling the restrained person
to move out from where the protected person lives and to take only clothing and personal belongings until the court hearing. These orders can only be asked for in domestic violence or elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order cases. (3) Does D.C. have
a similar type of remedy?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) please wait to rate until I ask you to do so. It may take a few replies for me to be able to render an complete answer. I will let you know when I do.

Is the husband refusing to file a restraining order or a criminal complaint on his wife? Why? Or, does he think it would do no good since they live under the same roof?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The husband is not refusing to file such an order or complaint. Please confine the answer to civil remedies -- not criminal.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

A civil restraining order is not a criminal complaint, but a civil matter. He can file for such a request - see HERE.

Once he does this, and assuming that the Court approves his request, then this works two ways:

1) He can get out of the lease early without penalty under D.C. Code Ann. §§ 42-3505.07 et seq if he wanted to, as domestic violence is reason enough to break lease in DC without being held to the lease. For this, proof of domestic violence such as the restraining order is required; OR

2) The restraining order will ask her to leave regardless of her tenancy under the lease. In addition, the landlord may evict the abuser in such a case if they wanted to do so if she refuses to leave (which she cannot, as the restraining order would disallow her to be under the same roof anyhow).

So he does have options here, and they rest on the restraining order which is again, a civil remedy.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Where does the law say that a protection order can require the spouse to leave the apartment? Can you point me to a case or statute?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

In DC, a civil protection order applies civil order that protects you from abuse by a current or former intimate partner, relative, housemate, someone you have a child in common with, or someone who is/was in a relationship with someone who you are/were in a relationship with. See HERE. So yes, it applies to spouses as well.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am aware of that. I want to know where the law says the a CPO or TPO can force a housemate or spouse out of an apartment.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

You are not going to find anything more specific. The laws do not always touch on every nuanced scenario. However, I can tell you that the Courts view these terms to include spouses and housemates and often order them out.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I can, and I found it.In D.C., it's called a "vacate order." It's codified here: 16–1005(c)(4)(B). http://dccode.org/simple/sections/16-1005.html
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hmm... you do realize that what you had linked me to is the same thing that I provided in the original link, except that I sent you to an explanation page about the protection order, and you are sending me to the actual code behind it?

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the original link took me to the D.C. courts website. the link I provided you takes you to the D.C. code, which specifically addresses the scenario I'm interested in. I will give you credit though for pushing me in the right direction.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Well, I am sorry for not being too specific. Many individuals would rather see the step by step instructions than the dry code. My apologies for assuming that you wanted more of a guide than the statutory code. At least you have the information you needed - I am glad. Please let me know if you need anything else. Thanks!

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you think of any way this would be different for public housing or voucher housing in D.C.?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

No. Being in public housing, federal voucher, Section 8, or other programs does not modify the rights as outlined above.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think public housing or Section 8 housing has any obligation to bifurcate a lease when there is an issue of domestic violence?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One more stupid question: can the husband file an eviction case against the wife? (I'm assuming absolutely not -- unless when want to turn housing law on its head.)
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

No, one tenant cannot evict the other.

HUD may split housing assistance to terminate assistance to a tenant or lawful occupant who engages in criminal acts of physical violence against family members or others. If HUD splits the assistance, the victim of the violence who is also a tenant or lawful occupant and other lawful occupants would continue to receive assistance and HUD may not otherwise punish them. The bifurcation is at their discretion.

The landlord also has a choice to evict the tenant causing harm and engages in physical violence against family members or others. This is at the landlord's discretion as well.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
May HUD bifurcate a lease?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Per my prior answer:

HUD may split housing assistance to terminate assistance to a tenant or lawful occupant who engages in criminal acts of physical violence against family members or others. If HUD splits the assistance, the victim of the violence who is also a tenant or lawful occupant and other lawful occupants would continue to receive assistance and HUD may not otherwise punish them. The bifurcation is at their discretion.

So yes, they can.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Check out these D.C.M.R. regs: 5317.6 & 5716.(c): http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/FinalAdoptionHome.aspx?RuleVersionID=3997387Reg 5317.6 provides: "If a Family receiving assistance breaks up into two (2) otherwise eligible families as a result of divorce, separation, or intrafamily offenses, then DCHA shall use the following procedures to determine which Family shall continue to be assisted:" Reg. 5317.6(c) addresses domestic violence. It seems to me that these regs only terminate assistance to the abuser if there has been a "break up" in the Family. In other words, DCHA is not splitting assistance prior to the break up.Thoughts?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I promise these questions will end soon.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

A restraining order is presumed follow/occur at the same time as a break up.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Let me be more clear -- would it be fair to say that these regs do not address bifurcating the lease or removing one tenant from the residence because of physical abuse?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

No. False. "Intrafamily offenses" include physical/emotional abuse. The term "intrafamily offenses" is meant to be generic so as to give as a wide interpretation to the Court as the Court feels is necessary.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
you believe that these reg address removing one tenant from the residence because of physical abuse? Does reg 5317.6 not mean that DHCA will determine which family "shall continue to be assisted" *after* the break up? In other words, the statute doesn't authorize DHCA to break up the residence.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Moreover, the reg says, "If a Family receiving assistance 'breaks up' into two (2) otherwise eligible families..." It doesn't say, "If a Family receiving assistance 'is broken up by DHCA' into two (2) otherwise eligible families...."

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