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VAWA Forms and Termination Notices – Does New Court Decision Pose Hidden Trap for Unwary Covered Housing Providers?

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Recently, the Court of Appeals issued an unpublished decision in Rosewood Estates I, LP v. Wendy Drummond that could have important consequences for those who own and operate rental properties subject to the protections of Violence Against Women’s Act (“VAWA”). No. COAA23-118, 2023 WL 5688807 (N.C. Ct. App. Sept. 5, 2023). In that decision, the court opined that the termination notice issued by the landlord was “fatally deficient under VAWA” because the landlord did not enclose the VAWA Notice of Occupancy Rights and HUD Certification Form with the termination notice. Id. at *4. Accordingly, the landlord in Rosewood could not evict the tenant because the termination notice was insufficient. Id.

Notably, the Rosewood holding appears to be at odds with the purpose of the VAWA housing statute and the regulation implementing it. The VAWA housing statute’s primary purpose is to prevent a covered housing provider from denying admission and assistance to, terminating the tenancy of, and/or evicting a tenant or applicant on the basis that the tenant or applicant has been or is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 34 U.S.C. § 12491(b)(1). Put simply, VAWA and the housing statute are designed to protect the victims of domestic violence.

To be sure, the VAWA statute directs each public housing agency or owner and manager of a covered housing program to provide a copy of the VAWA Notice of Occupancy Rights (HUD 5380) and VAWA Certification Form (HUD 5382; together with the HUD 5380, the “VAWA Forms”) to an applicant or tenant of the covered housing program at various times, including, without limitation, at the outset of a tenant’s tenancy and with any notification of eviction or notification of termination of assistance. 34 U.S.C. § 12491(d)(2). The regulation implementing and interpreting the VAWA statute repeats that requirement and adds the following: “Nothing in this section limits any available authority of a covered housing provider to evict or terminate assistance to a tenant for any violation not premised on an act of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking that is in question against the tenant or an affiliated individual of the tenant.” 24 C.F.R. § 5.2005(d).

The Court in Rosewood did not account for the purpose of the VAWA housing statute or the implementing regulation’s language when rendering its decision. Again, the purpose of VAWA is to provide victims of domestic violence with protections, and the VAWA housing statute imposes those protections in the housing sphere. If an eviction is not based on the status of the tenant as present or past victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, then the VAWA statute provides no protection, which is a point the implementing statute makes abundantly clear. By contrast, the VAWA housing statute and implementing regulation do not say a tenant will have a defense to any eviction for any reason—for example, a simple failure to pay rent—if the covered housing provider fails to provide the VAWA Forms at the specified times.

Nevertheless, the Court in Rosewood purports to extend the umbrella of VAWA’s protections to any tenant whom a covered housing provider is evicting for any reason when that tenant does not receive a termination notice with the VAWA Forms enclosed, irrespective of whether the tenant is a victim of domestic violence or already had notice of his or her rights under VAWA. For those reasons, the Court in Rosewood appears to conflict with VAWA’s animating purpose. Regardless, in Rosewood’s wake, the question is this: what does Rosewood mean for covered housing providers in North Carolina?

First, it must be emphasized that the Rosewood opinion is an unpublished opinion and that, to date, there is no published opinion in North Carolina on this point. In North Carolina, the Court of Appeals issues published and unpublished opinions. Published opinions are binding decisions of the Court that constitute precedent for the lower courts. That means a trial court would be obliged to follow a published Court of Appeals opinion. On the other hand, unpublished opinions are not binding and do not constitute controlling legal authority. Rule 30 of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure thus states that the use of unpublished opinions in legal argument is disfavored.

Second, the holding regarding the VAWA housing statute in Rosewood is not essential to the ruling issued by the Court. The Court first ruled that the notice in the Rosewood case was defective because it omitted the grounds for termination as required by the parties’ lease agreement. The Court then added that the notice was also defective because it did not include the VAWA forms. The latter statement was not necessary for the court to find that the notice was defective, and thus the Court’s statement regarding VAWA is arguably dicta, i.e., non-binding authority.

That said, it is strongly recommended that covered housing providers who are not enclosing the VAWA Forms with their termination notices start doing so immediately and continue for the time being, unless and until a contrary precedential decision is issued on the topic. While the Court in Rosewood seemingly gave only cursory consideration to this issue, the Rosewood opinion could be invoked to exert persuasive authority over trial court judges in North Carolina. Until greater clarity is achieved through issuance of a published decision, it is simply safest for covered housing providers to include the VAWA Forms with all termination notices. Covered housing providers may also wish to include an enclosure line in their termination letters about the VAWA Forms (e.g., “Enclosure: HUD 5380 and HUD 5382”). Further, covered housing providers should retain complete copies or scans of the termination notices with the VAWA Forms to be able to prove compliance later.

As a final note, you may be wondering if you are a covered housing provider under VAWA. VAWA applies to most, if not all, affordable rental properties and programs, including public housing, properties operated pursuant to the IRS’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, properties operated by a public housing authority, properties operated in connection with a voucher program, Section 202 properties, Section 811 housing, Housing Trust Fund properties, and HOME fund properties.

Covered landlords (and landlords who are unsure whether they qualify as such!) should consult with experienced counsel to ensure that they don’t run afoul of the law.  The experienced attorneys at Blanco Tackabery stand ready to provide such counsel.

Henry Hilston employs his experience in state and federal litigation as an asset in his representation of affordable and conventional multifamily property owners and managers. In that practice, he advises property management companies on a wide range of issues, including evictions and other landlord-tenant disputes, VAWA, the Fair Housing Act, and compliance issues under federal and state affordable housing programs, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and HUD and USDA-Rural Development rental subsidy programs. He also assists those clients with the preparation, review, and revision of management documents, including tenant selection plans, management agreements, and leases.



New Attorney Joins Firm’s Affordable Housing and Community Development and Commercial Real Estate Practice Groups

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Blanco Tackabery is pleased to announce that attorney Lance Johnson has joined the firm. Lance will concentrate his practice on affordable housing and community development and commercial real estate, representing for-profit and non-profit clients in the development of affordable multifamily housing projects, including projects financed through low-income housing tax credits.

Lance earned his J.D. from The University of Depaul College of Law and passed the North Carolina Bar exam in 2020. Lance is also licensed to practice law in Illinois and Georgia.

To learn more about Lance, visit:

New Attorney Joins Firm’s Civil Litigation and Municipal Practice Groups

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Blanco Tackabery is pleased to announce that attorney Ryan Dovel has joined the firm. Ryan will concentrate his practice on civil litigation and municipal law.

Ryan graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Law and passed the North Carolina Bar Exam in 2021. He graduated cum laude with his J.D. degree and summa cum laude with his B.S. degree at Appalachian State University. Prior to joining the firm, Ryan clerked at the North Carolina Business Court.

To learn more about Ryan, visit:

New Attorney Joins Firm’s Business Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights and Golf and Private Club Practice Groups

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Blanco Tackabery is pleased to announce that attorney Andrew Kilpinen has joined the firm. Andrew will focus his practice on launching a new Golf and Private Club Practice Group, as well as contributing to the firm’s Business Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights Practice Group.

Andrew comes to Blanco Tackabery with a vision and a passion for providing industry-informed counsel to clients in the golf and private club industry. Before attending law school, Andrew managed multiple golf courses for American Golf Corporation and others. After graduating from Wake Forest University School of Law, Andrew clerked on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and practiced corporate restructuring and creditor’s rights law at nationally recognized law firms. The sum of these experiences makes him an unprecedent asset to anyone with an interest in the golf and private club industry.

Welcome to the firm, Andrew!

To learn more about Andrew, visit:

Congratulations to Neal E. Tackabery On His Retirement

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We would like to extend our congratulations and sincere thank you to Neal Tackabery on his retirement. Neal has been with Blanco Tackabery since 1976. His practice concentrated in the areas of estate planning and administration.

Neal was one of the early additions to the firm. He has been a cornerstone of the firm over the years and has helped to grow Blanco Tackabery into the strong firm it is today. We are grateful for the multiple contributions he has made, the many clients he has served and the multiple friendships he has built over the years.

Neal, we wish you well on this next chapter and are very appreciative for everything you brought to Blanco Tackabery and this community.

Mountain Housing Opportunities 35th Anniversary Celebration

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Blanco Tackabery attorneys Susan Campbell and Michael Beck from our Affordable Housing and Community Development Practice Group had a wonderful time at the 35th Anniversary Celebration of Mountain Housing Opportunities on Thursday, July 27.

Mountain Housing Opportunities (MOH) was founded in 1988 by volunteers who wanted to ensure that everyone had a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. MOH works to create, preserve, and revitalize affordable homes in thriving communities in Buncombe County, NC and beyond. Blanco Tackabery was proud to sponsor this important celebration, supporting their effort to generate critical revenue to expand high-quality housing for all in the region.

To read more about Mountain Housing Opportunities visit:

Blanco Tackabery Sponsors 28th Annual Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop

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Blanco Tackabery’s Business Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Practice Group attended the 28th Annual Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop, hosted by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

We are a proud sponsor of this event and excited for one of Blanco Tackabery attorneys Ashley Rusher to Co-Chair this workshop that helps keep attorneys updated on the dynamic realm of bankruptcy and creditor’s rights.

To learn more about our Business Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights Practice Group, visit:


July 20-23, 2023

Amelia Island, FL

Blanco Tackabery Attorneys Achieve Landmark Settlement Between Firefighter and NC Office of Emergency Management (OEMS)

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Blanco Tackabery attorneys Chad Archer and Henry Hilston joined with Disability Rights NC (DRNC) as co-counsel in a landmark settlement between a firefighter and the NC Office of Emergency Management (OEMS). This case marks the first time a firefighter in NC has received accommodations for an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) exam after he was denied the disability related accommodations he needed to take the exam.


The lawsuit was filed in Davie Count Superior Court in September 2021 and sought to vindicate the firefighter’s rights to accommodations under the NC Persons with Disabilities Protection Act.


Blanco Tackabery attorney Chad Archer stated “I could not be more pleased with the outstanding victory that was secured on Mr. Freidt’s behalf. From my earliest involvement with this matter, I was mystified by the State’s refusal to grant Mr. Freidt the commonsense accommodations to which he is clearly entitled under the law…Without the assistance and invaluable expertise offered by Disability Rights NC, I don’t know that the State ever would have made its 180-degree about-face and voluntarily agreed to grant 100% of the relief demanded in Mr. Freidt’s lawsuit.”


To read more about the case, visit:

Blanco Tackabery Sponsors the Opening of Booker Park South Neighborhood Brunch

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Blanco Tackabery was pleased to have sponsored the opening of Booker Park South in Raleigh with a “Booker Park South Neighborhood Brunch” for residents of both Booker Park North and South, along with NeighborWorks Week. This brunch allowed residents an opportunity to get to know their neighbors, property management team, Resources for Seniors’ staff and other members of the community.

DHIC is a non-profit 501[c][3] organization dedicated to the development of high-quality housing communities in the Triangle region of North Carolina. DHIC provides homebuyer support and develops rental communities for families and individuals with limited incomes. Since 1974, DHIC has built or renovated more than 2,700+ rental apartment homes that remain remarkably affordable for seniors, families and individuals. It has also built more than 400 residential homes for sale, while serving thousands of individuals and families with housing support services. As the law firm representing DHIC, Blanco Tackabery played a crucial role in the development of Booker Park South in providing the new residents with a high quality, safe, affordable place to live.


Blanco Tackabery Sponsors Imprints Cares’ 2023 Trivia Night

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Blanco Tackabery is pleased to help sponsor Imprints Cares “Let’s Get Quizzical 2023” trivia competition. This annual table vs. table competition is also an exciting opportunity to enjoy live auction items, drinks, food and more. Proceeds from the event will fund the organization’s work with children and families in Forsyth County.

Imprints Cares is a nonprofit in Winston-Salem and is the only education nonprofit in Forsyth County serving families and children from prenatal stages into middle school. Its commitment to addressing structural barriers that prevent children and their families from reaching their full potential is supported by its efforts to embrace cultural diversity and continuously seek to create safe and inclusive environments where children can learn, grow and thrive.


To learn more about this annual event or to make a donation, visit:


Imprints Cares

Let’s Get Quizzical 2023

June 2, 2023 | Millennium Center

Blanco Tackabery Participates in 2023 Project Birthday

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The Trusts and Estates Practice Group of Blanco Tackabery is pleased to participate in Project Birthday this year for the month of June 2023. Each year, law firms, solo practitioners and judges volunteer to split the months of the year and take responsibility for purchasing a small gift for each child with a birthday that month.

The initiative was started by Lily Alexander, of the EACH Foundation, as well as the Forsyth County Women Attorney’s Association in 2014, and is a wonderful opportunity to impact the lives of children who are currently living in foster care in Forsyth County.

To learn more about Project Birthday’s community partners, visit:

Forsyth County Women Attorneys Association – FCWAA | Facebook

EACH Foundation | Facebook

Susan Campbell Speaks at SAHMA NC CONFERENCE

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Blanco Tackabery attorney, Susan Campbell, participated as a panelist at the Southeastern Affordable Housing Management Association (SAHMA) North Carolina Affordable Housing Conference. The event took place in Greensboro, NC from May 10th – May 11th.

Susan provides counsel and assistance with housing, community development, and regulatory matters, focusing on HUD/FHA-insured loans and asset management issues.

This event is held annually and is a great opportunity for up-to-date information and new regulations in the multifamily affordable housing industry.

To learn more about Blanco Tackabery’s Affordable Housing and Community Development Practice Group, visit:

SAHMA NC Affordable Housing Conference

Sheraton Greensboro | Joseph S. Koury Convention Center

May 10-11, 2023