(a) Request for documentation.
(1) Under a covered housing program, if an applicant or tenant represents to the covered housing provider that the individual is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking entitled to the protections under § 5.2005, or remedies under § 5.2009, the covered housing provider may request, in writing, that the applicant or tenant submit to the covered housing provider the documentation specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(i) If an applicant or tenant does not provide the documentation requested under paragraph (a)(1) of this section within 14 business days after the date that the tenant receives a request in writing for such documentation from the covered housing provider, nothing in § 5.2005 or § 5.2009, which addresses the protections of VAWA, may be construed to limit the authority of the covered housing provider to:
(A) Deny admission by the applicant or tenant to the covered housing program;
(B) Deny assistance under the covered housing program to the applicant or tenant;
(C) Terminate the participation of the tenant in the covered housing program; or
(D) Evict the tenant, or a lawful occupant that commits a violation of a lease.
(ii) A covered housing provider may, at its discretion, extend the 14-business-day deadline under paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.
(b) Permissible documentation and submission requirements.
(1) In response to a written request to the applicant or tenant from the covered housing provider, as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, the applicant or tenant may submit, as documentation of the occurrence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, any one of the following forms of documentation, where it is at the discretion of the tenant or applicant which one of the following forms of documentation to submit:
(i) The certification form described in § 5.2005(a)(1)(ii); or
(ii) A document:
(A) Signed by an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim service provider, an attorney, or medical professional, or a mental health professional (collectively, “professional”) from whom the victim has sought assistance relating to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or the effects of abuse;
(B) Signed by the applicant or tenant; and
(C) That specifies, under penalty of perjury, that the professional believes in the occurrence of the incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking that is the ground for protection and remedies under this subpart, and that the incident meets the applicable definition of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking under § 5.2003; or
(iii) A record of a Federal, State, tribal, territorial or local law enforcement agency, court, or administrative agency; or
(iv) At the discretion of a covered housing provider, a statement or other evidence provided by the applicant or tenant.
(2) If a covered housing provider receives documentation under paragraph (b)(1) of this section that contains conflicting information (including certification forms from two or more members of a household each claiming to be a victim and naming one or more of the other petitioning household members as the perpetrator), the covered housing provider may require an applicant or tenant to submit third-party documentation, as described in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii), (b)(1)(iii), or (b)(1)(iv) of this section, within 30 calendar days of the date of the request for the third-party documentation.
(3) Nothing in this paragraph (b) shall be construed to require a covered housing provider to request that an individual submit documentation of the status of the individual as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(c) Confidentiality. Any information submitted to a covered housing provider under this section, including the fact that an individual is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking (confidential information), shall be maintained in strict confidence by the covered housing provider.
(1) The covered housing provider shall not allow any individual administering assistance on behalf of the covered housing provider or any persons within their employ (e.g., contractors) or in the employ of the covered housing provider to have access to confidential information unless explicitly authorized by the covered housing provider for reasons that specifically call for these individuals to have access to this information under applicable Federal, State, or local law.
(2) The covered housing provider shall not enter confidential information described in paragraph (c) of this section into any shared database or disclose such information to any other entity or individual, except to the extent that the disclosure is:
(i) Requested or consented to in writing by the individual in a time-limited release
(ii) Required for use in an eviction proceeding or hearing regarding termination of assistance from the covered program; or
(iii) Otherwise required by applicable law.
(d) A covered housing provider's compliance with the protections of §§ 5.2005 and 5.2009, based on documentation received under this section shall not be sufficient to constitute evidence of an unreasonable act or omission by the covered housing provider. However, nothing in this paragraph (d) of this section shall be construed to limit the liability of a covered housing provider for failure to comply with §§ 5.2005 and 5.2009.