“Portability” in the Housing Choice Voucher Program refers to the process through which your family can transfer or “port” your rental subsidy when you move to a location outside of the jurisdiction of the public housing agency (PHA) that first gave you the voucher when you were selected for the program.
The Porting Process
Notify the PHA who administers your voucher that you would like to port and which area you are moving to.
The PHA will determine if you are eligible to move (in accordance with leases and other legal obligations).
If you are found eligible, your PHA will issue your voucher and send all pertinent paperwork to the receiving PHA.
If you are currently being assisted, you must follow all guidelines in your current lease regarding your intent to vacate.
Your case manager will give you the receiving PHA’s contact information to follow up.
Things You Should Know Before Porting
The receiving PHA may have different subsidy standards. In other words, the initial PHA may have issued you a three-bedroom voucher, but the receiving PHA may, if appropriate for your family, issue you a two-bedroom voucher. Note, however, that the PHA’s subsidy standards must comply with fair housing and civil rights laws. The includes processing reasonable accommodation requests that are necessary for qualified individuals with disabilities.
The payment standards of the receiving PHA may be different for each PHA. Payment standards are what determine the amount of the rent that the PHA will pay on your behalf. If a receiving PHA’s payment standards are lower than the initial PHA, then the portion of the rent you pay may be more than what you were paying at the initial PHA.
The receiving PHA may re-screen you using theirown policies, which may be different than the initial PHA’s policies and could result in them denying your request to move. When contacting the receiving PHA, you may want to ask whether they re-screen families moving into their area under portability and what are their policies for termination or denial of HCV assistance. This will assist you in determining if the receiving PHA’s policies might prevent you from moving to their jurisdiction.
You should manage the move so that you have enough time to arrive at the receiving PHA before the initial PHA voucher expires; otherwise, you may lose your assistance.
Once at the Receiving PHA
- The receiving PHA will issue you a voucher to search for a unit in its jurisdiction. Your voucher must be extended by 30 days from the expiration date on the voucher issued by the initial PHA.
- If you decide that you do not want to lease a unit in the area, the receiving PHA will return your voucher to the initial PHA. The initial PHA is not required to, but may, extend the term of your voucher so that you may search for a unit in the initial PHA’s jurisdiction or port to another jurisdiction.
- Any additional instructions will by provided by the receiving PHA. PHAs must comply with all nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements in the portability process, including, but not limited to, the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act.