Learn How to Move and Maintain Housing Assistance

Under Section 8 moving rules, beneficiaries are able to relocate to new residences while still receiving their benefits. Through the Section 8 moving process, applicants can find options available across the U.S. and throughout various jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction sets its own eligibility requirements for the program regarding income and housing options. However, as long as the new residence meets program requirements, applicants can choose the best area for their family. 

When moving with Section 8, you can choose to move within the jurisdiction of your current public housing agency (PHA), or transfer into a new one. The process for either option is simple, as long as you meet all of the necessary requirements. This generally depends on how and when you initially became a beneficiary of the program. In some cases, you may transfer immediately, while other circumstances may require you to wait a certain period of time. 

Find Out How to Move with Your Section 8 Benefits

The Section 8 housing program is designed in serve low-income families as effectively as possible. With this in mind, the program allows beneficiaries to maintain their housing assistance while moving to a new address. If the applicant continues to qualify, the PHA will transfer the housing voucher to an eligible residence. To initiate this process, applicants must follow these simple steps:

  1. Notify the PHA ahead of time of any plans to move. Failure to do so can result in the loss of benefits.The PHA also offers helpful resources for moving, including suggestions for local low income house rentals. 
  2. Terminate the current lease as outlined in the lease agreement or wait until the lease ends. If the lease is still in place, Section 8 recipients must make sure to notify the landlord and complete any requirements for termination. 
  3. Decide whether to stay in the area or move to a new jurisdiction. Moving to a new area outside of the current PHA jurisdiction also involves additional requirements. 
  4. Choose an approved residence. In order to use a voucher, the new residence must meet all of the inspection requirements outlined by the program. 

It is important to consider your Section 8 eligibility status when making the decision to move. There are a variety of reasons that you may need to relocate, including to be closer to your job or because of a change in family size. In the event that a change in your income or household size occurs, it is important to complete the process to report changes with the PHA. Otherwise, you may face removal from the program and lose your benefits. 

Section 8 moving assistance does not cover relocation expenses unless your family is forced out of the Section 8 unit related to demolition or housing conditions. When eligible for assistance under these conditions, you may be eligible for compensation for transportation of your belongings, rent deposits and other payments. Otherwise, remember to factor these moving expenses into your plans, especially if you need to move out of the current jurisdiction.

Transferring to a New Housing Authority 

According to Section 8 moving rules, applicants are not always limited to the jurisdiction in which their vouchers were issued. Beneficiaries are permitted to transfer their vouchers to other jurisdictions if they meet certain requirements. This ability is known as “voucher portability,” which allows applicants to move without losing their housing benefits. 

When discussing portability, the Section 8 program divides PHAs into two categories. The initial (current) PHA is responsible for the jurisdiction you currently live in. In contrast, the PHA responsible for the jurisdiction you want to transfer to, is referred to as the receiving PHA. This distinction is important, because even after you move to a receiving PHA, your initial PHA may continue to issue your benefits. 

Who can qualify for Section 8 voucher portability? 

According to Section 8 housing requirements, the rules for portability depend on how the applicant enters the program initially. Families who apply before moving into a PHA’s jurisdiction must live in that jurisdiction for at least 12 months. After that 12-month period, these beneficiaries are permitted to move anywhere in the U.S. Conversely, applicants who already resided in the initial PHA’s jurisdiction can immediately transfer their vouchers to receiving PHAs. In order to transfer a voucher, the applicant must inform the initial PHA and meet the qualifications of the receiving PHA.

What are the requirements for Section 8 portability?

In order to transfer your voucher, you may need to fulfill Section 8 eligibility requirements for the receiving PHA. If you immediately move to a different PHA than the one you applied to, the receiving PHA determines your eligibility. Each jurisdiction bases its requirements off the local area, so they may differ from the initial PHA’s requirements. For example, income qualifications vary from program to program, based on the cost of living for the area. However, if you are already receiving benefits from your initial PHA, your eligibility is not re-determined. 

Learn How to Apply for Section 8 Housing with a Receiving PHA

Your initial PHA can provide information on how to transfer your voucher to a specific receiving PHA. In fact, your initial PHA is responsible for contacting the receiving PHA in order to begin the transfer process. Once you decide where you want to move, the steps to transfer your Section 8 voucher are as follows:

  1. Notify your initial PHA that you want to move out of the jurisdiction.
  2. Your initial PHA must contact the receiving PHA on your behalf.
  3. The Receiving PHA must decide whether to “absorb” or “bill” your benefits. 
  4. You must select an approved residence in the new jurisdiction. 

Depending on the Section 8 jurisdiction you choose, the receiving PHA will choose to absorb or bill your benefits. Absorption means that the new PHA agrees to take over your voucher entirely and issue benefits. Alternately, billing means that the receiving PHA bills the cost of your benefits to your initial PHA.

Discover Section 8 Moving Rules for New Residences

Whether you move within your jurisdiction or to a receiving PHA, your new home must meet all program requirements. The PHA may offer a list of approved residences to choose from, or you can look up available properties and learn more about available housing options. You can choose from the low-income house rentals available, or find a suitable apartment for you and your family. 

If a property is not already approved as a low-income housing property, you must wait for a PHA inspection. If you plan to lease from a private landlord, you must also verify that he or she accepts housing vouchers. In addition, make sure the landlord is aware of his or her obligations according to the program requirements.