Portability refers to the process in which your family can transfer your HCV assistance to another area (outside of your current housing authority’s jurisdiction). Your current PHA is the initial PHA. The new agency that will administer your housing choice voucher is the receiving PHA.
Under the voucher program, new voucher-holders may choose a unit anywhere in the United States if the family lived in the jurisdiction of the PHA issuing the voucher when the family applied for assistance. Those new voucher-holders not living in the jurisdiction of the PHA at the time the family applied for housing assistance must initially lease a unit within that jurisdiction for the first twelve months of assistance. A family that wishes to move to another PHA’s jurisdiction must consult with the PHA that currently administers its housing assistance to verify the procedures for moving.
Things to Consider
Timing is key! Keep the following in mind to ensure a smooth transition.
- You will want to meet with your receiving PHA with enough time to find a new unit before your voucher expires. If your voucher expires, you could lose your Housing Assistance.
- Will you have to vacate your unit with the initial PHA before your new unit will be available for inspection? If so, where will you live during the process?
- What happens if the new unit does not pass inspection? Will your old landlord allow you to extend your notice to vacate? If not, what will you do?
The receiving PHA may have different rules for how many bedrooms they allow for a voucher than your initial PHA. For example, one PHA may have a rule that states 2 people can share a bedroom no matter the age, sex, or any other factors. Will this work for your family?
The payment standards of the two PHA’s may be different. If the receiving PHA’s payment standard is less than the initial PHA, the portion of rent your family must pay, could be higher than what you were paying. Can you afford this?
Will the receiving PHA re-screen you using policies that were different from when you received your voucher? Will you pass the new screening? What if you don’t? Be sure to ask the receiving PHA what their policies are on each item.
Communication is important! Be sure to ask questions of both PHA’s. We want you to be successful in your move to a new PHA.
Communicate with all parties at each step of the moving process. This includes your current landlord, initial PHA, receiving PHA, and new landlord.
Leaving the Initial PHA
You must notify the initial PHA that you would like to port and the area to which you are moving. They will likely have you complete a form.
Determination of Eligibility
The initial PHA will determine if you are eligible to move. For example, the PHA will determine if you owe them any money for failure to report income and whether you have moved out of your unit in accordance with your lease.
If you are eligible to move, the initial PHA will issue you a voucher and send the paperwork to the receiving PHA.
If you are currently assisted, you must give your landlord notice of your intent to vacate in accordance with your lease.
Arriving At The Receiving PHA
The receiving PHA will issue you a voucher to search for a unit in their jurisdiction. They may conduct a new briefing with you.
Ask your receiving PHA how long it takes for them to inspect a new unit, once they have received the Request for Tenancy Approval Packet.
Decide not to move?
If you decide not to move to that area after completing the processes, contact both PHA’s immediately!