Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Section 8 Admin Plan Ch 11: Continued Participation

Section 8 Admin Plan

Chapter 11:Continued Participation

11.1 Interim Recertification

11.1.1  Circumstances Requiring an Interim Recertification 

 (a)       Change in Family Composition 

(1)        A Family is required to inform and supply any necessary verification to the BHA within thirty (30) days of a birth, adoption, or court awarded custody.  

(i)         The BHA must approve the eligibility for any addition to the Family that does not result from a birth, court-awarded custody, or adoption in accordance with section 10.1.3. 

(2)        A Family must notify the BHA in writing within 30 days of any departure of a Family member due to death, permanent institutionalization, or other reason, and provide the BHA with reasonable verification of this fact (including, where applicable, the verification of the new address of the departed Family member – see also section10.1.4). 

(b)        If a Family has an increase in income $200.00 dollars per month or more,the family must report the increase in writing  to the BHA within thirty (30) days of receiving the increase in income.  An increase in income is any increase  or new source of income which was not being received at the last annual or interim recertification of the Family.

(1)        If the family fails to report an increase in  income, resulting in an increase in the tenant share, the tenant will be required to repay any overpayment in subsidy made on his/her behalf in accordance with Section 13.3.5. 

(c)        If a Family has a decrease in income.
(d)        If a Family’s income is too unstable to project for 12 months or if a Family temporarily has no income (a “zero-income Family”) or if a Family has a temporary decrease in income, the BHA may schedule special Recertification with the Family’s Leasing Officer every month, or at least quarterly, until the income stabilizes and/or an Annual Income can be determined.
(e)        The BHA will recertify as an incoming portable Family. The relocation Recertification will become the Family’s annual Recertification date.  

11.1.2  Family Request for Interim Recertification 

A Family may request in writing an interim determination of Family Share at any time because of a change in the Family's income, Adjusted Income, size, or composition. However, the BHA will continue to use the existing Payment Standard and Voucher size for the Family and will not alter these based on changes in Family Composition until the annual Recertification or when the Family relocates to a new Unit, unless otherwise permitted by regulation or HUD, or this policy.
11.1.3    Full Verification Required for Interim Certification
BHA must verify complete Family Composition and Income information upon a Family request for an interim recertification due to a change in Family Composition or Income information.   

11.2     Termination of HAP Contract 

11.2.1  Grounds for Termination 

If the BHA finds that the Owner or Family has failed to meet the program or contractual obligations, the BHA may suspend the subsidy payments, terminate the HAP Contract, or terminate the subsidy accordingly. 

11.2.2  Owner breach of obligations 

If the BHA terminates the HAP Contract because the Owner has breached the terms of the HAP contract or Owner responsibilities as provided in 24 C.F.R. § 982.404, the Leasing Officer will issue the Family a new Voucher. However, the Family does not have to wait for the BHA to terminate the HAP Contract if a serious breach or serious violations occur. If there is a serious breach and the Inspection Services Department of the City of Boston has determined that the Unit is uninhabitable, the BHA may direct the Family to relocate at an earlier point or the Family may vacate the Unit within a reasonable time consistent with State law.

 11.2.3 . Owner Debts to the BHA 

An owner may become indebted to the BHA when he/she receives HAP payments to which he/she is not entitled due to termination of the HAP contract for reasons, including but not limited to the following: the owner has violated any obligation under the HAP contract including keeping the unit in compliance with HQS; the owner has violated any other obligation under any other HAP contract under Section 8; the owner has committed fraud, bribery or any other corrupt criminal act in connection with any Federal Housing Assistance Program; the owner has engaged in drug related or violent criminal activity; the BHA learns that the participant no longer resides in the unit or is deceased. 
(a)        Any amount due to the BHA by an owner must be repaid within thirty (30) days of the BHA determination of the debt.
(b)        If the owner fails to repay the debt within the required time frame and is entitled to future HAP payments, the BHA will reduce any future HAP payments until the debt is satisfied in full.
(c)        If the owner is not entitled to future HAP payments the BHA may enter into a repayment agreement with the owner for the debt owed, or seek to collect the monies via third party debt collector or legal action.
(d)        If the owner refuses to repay the debt, enter into a repayment agreement or breaches a repayment agreement, the owner maybe banned from future participation in the program, and the BHA may seek to collect the monies via third party debt collector or legal action.
(e)        The BHA will not enter into a repayment agreement if there is already a repayment agreement in place with the owner, or if the amount of debt owed  exceeds the Federal or State threshold for criminal prosecution. 

11.3     Restriction on Number of Relocates           

For the tenant-based programs, whether the Participant is residing in the Jurisdiction of the BHA or has exercised Portability, the following limitation applies: 

11.3.1  Initial Lease Term     

The BHA prohibits a Family from moving during the initial Lease term.  If the Family vacates the Apartment in violation of the Lease, their Section 8 assistance may be terminated in accordance with Chapter 13 of this Administrative Plan.  

11.3.2  Pending Adverse Action 

The BHA may deny relocation with continued assistance where there are grounds for denial or termination of assistance. .  See also Chapter 6: Denial of Voucher and Applicant Appeals and Chapter 13: Termination of Assistance.  

11.3.3  Exceptions to the Restriction 

(a)        The Unit has been on Stop Payment for more than 30 days.
(b)        An HQS breach not caused by the Family is determined to be life-threatening.
(c)        The move is required as a Reasonable Accommodation for a Disabled Person.
(d)        There is mutual consent between the Owner and the Participant.
(e)        The Family will not be prohibited from moving during the initial lease term so long as the tenant has complied with all other requirements of the Section 8 program and has moved from the Unit in order to protect the health or safety of an individual member of the household who is or has been the victim of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking and who reasonably believes that the tenant or other household member will be imminently threatened by harm from further violence if the individual remains in the present dwelling Unit.  
(f)         Other exceptions which the BHA deems it necessary for the Family to relocate, including but not limited to, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking. 

11.3.4  Issuance of a Voucher           

The BHA will issue a Voucher anytime that a Participant requests one, regardless of whether or not they gave proper notice to their current landlord. 

11.4     Change of Ownership

Upon notification in writing that Ownership of an assisted Unit has changed, the BHA will Stop Payment to the former Owner. In order for the BHA to begin payment to the new Owner, the former Owner must assign the HAP Contract and Lease to the new Owner, the new Owner must complete and sign an Owner/Agent Data Form and a W-9 form to verify tax reporting.  The new Owner must also provide the BHA with a certified copy of the deed or attorney's letter documenting Ownership. 

11.5     Eviction

The Owner must notify the Family's Leasing Officer in writing when commencing eviction procedures against the Family. A copy of the eviction notice served on the Family to the Leasing Officer is sufficient notice. If the Family contests the Owner's decision to evict and refuses to leave the Apartment, the Owner must commence an eviction proceeding in a court of law.   

11.6     Family Absence from a Unit 

Absence means that no member of the Family is residing in the Unit. 

11.6.1  Absence of up to Thirty (30) Days

 A Family may be absent from the Unit for any reason for up to 30 consecutive days. 

11.6.2  Absence Greater Than Thirty (30) Days 

The Family may not be absent from the dwelling Unit for more than thirty (30) days without BHA written approval.  If the Family plans to be absent from the Unit for more than thirty (30) days, the Family must request approval from the BHA in writing and provide documentation indicating the reason for the extended absence from the Unit. An absence for greater than thirty (30) days may be approved by the BHA for reasons of health, rehabilitation, convalescence, incarceration or the personal needs of the Family.  Each case will be evaluated based on the individual circumstances.  Failure to request and receive approval to be absent from the Unit for more than thirty (30) days may result in termination of assistance.  

11.6.3  Absence may not Exceed 180 Days 

A Family’s absence from a Unit assisted by the Section 8 program may not exceed 180 consecutive calendar days without exception. If a Family is absent from the Unit for more than 180 consecutive calendar days the BHA shall terminate the HAP Contract for the Unit. 

11.7     Family Break-Up Policy 

A Family Break-Up occurs when one or more adult Household Members will no longer reside together and there is a dispute as to who will retain the HCVP assistance. A Family Break-Up may occur in instances including but not limited to: divorce, separation, or protective order. When a Family Break-Up occurs, the HCVP assistance does not always remain with the Head of Household. Any recorded adult Household Member, Emancipated Minor, or adult assuming responsibility for one or more minor Family members could potentially retain the HCVP Assistance.
When the BHA receives notice that there has been a Family Break-up or that a Family Break-up will imminently occur, the BHA will determine which Family member shall retain the HCVP assistance using the criteria and procedure provided below. 

11.7.1  Court Determination 

If a court determines which Family member shall retain the HCVP Assistance, the BHA is bound by the court's decision[1].  A court determination cannot be appealed through any BHA review process. 

11.7.2  BHA Determination 

When there is no court determination, the BHA determines which Household Members will continue to receive HCVP assistance upon a Family Break-up. In making this determination, the BHA shall consider the interests of all assisted Family members. The BHA will use its discretion to decide which Household Members will continue to receive HCVP assistance by taking into account the following:
(a)               The interests of any minor children, with consideration to custody rights;
(b)               The interests of any Elderly, or Disabled Household Member;
(c)               Whether a Household Member fled the Unit because of actual or threatened violence by a spouse or other Household Member. The BHA will take into consideration incidents of actual or threatened violence regardless of whether the Household Member leaving the Unit is the victim or the Perpetrator;
(d)               Whether the assistance should remain with a Household Member remaining in the original assisted Unit or a Household Member who has fled or left the Unit; AND
(e)               The amount of time since the Household Member was added to the Family Composition. The BHA will take this factor into consideration based on the individual circumstances surrounding the addition of the Household Member. 

11.7.3  Notice of Proposed Subsidy Allocation

 When the BHA receives notice that there has been a Family Break-up or that a Family Break-up will imminently occur, the BHA will make an initial determination in accordance with section 11.7.2 regarding which person shall retain the HCVP assistance. The BHA will also determine which Household Member will become new Head of Household or Co-Head of Household.   All adult Household Members and other adults as, identified in section 11.7.8, shall be notified of these determinations.  Notice shall be sent to any and all addresses identified by such adults and not solely to the last address for the Head of Household.  The notice shall describe what factors BHA utilized in making its determinations.  The notice shall also state that any adult Household Member or other adult, as identified in section 11.7.8, has twenty (20) days to request a review of the decision. 

11.7.4  Right to Appeal BHA’s Proposed Subsidy Allocation 

If a Household Member or another adult, as identified in section 11.7.8, disagrees with the BHA’s determination regarding which person shall retain the HCVP assistance, that person may appeal the decision. The request for a hearing must be in writing and received by the BHA Leased Housing Division within twenty (20) days of the date of the BHA’s notice of Proposed Allocation. 

11.7.5  Procedure for Informal Hearings Regarding Family Break–Up 

If any Household Member or other adult, as identified in section 11.7.8, requests a hearing to dispute the BHA’s proposed subsidy allocation, the BHA Leased Housing Division shall conduct a hearing to review that decision. All Household Members and other adults, as identified by section 11.7.8, shall be given notice of the hearing date. The hearing will be conducted by a person who did not make or is not the subordinate of the person who made the initial determination. The person requesting the hearing shall have the right to review those portions of the file relied upon in the BHA’s determination except that the BHA will redact any information, including addresses where applicable, which could compromise the safety of any person. The BHA may alter its usual hearing procedure and rules, consistent with applicable law, to assure the safety of all individuals who may be participating in the proceeding.
The person conducting the hearing shall issue a written decision within thirty (30) days from the close of the hearing record.  The decision shall be sent to each adult Household Member who is claiming a right to the subsidy or any other adult as identified by section 11.7.8.  

11.7.6  Assistance Pending the Exhaustion of Right of Review 

The BHA will continue to pay assistance under the existing HAP Contract and will not issue a voucher for relocation based on a determination under section 11.7.2 until either the time period to appeal the determination has lapsed or a hearing decision has been issued.  Any housing assistance thereafter shall be in accordance with the BHA’s Family Break-Up determination or hearing decision.  

11.7.7  Recertification of Family’s Income and Change in Rent Share 

Where there has been a Family Break-Up and the right of appeal has been exhausted the BHA will recalculate the Family’s rent share to reflect the current Family Composition in accordance with the provisions of section 7.1.3 of this Administrative Plan.  Any change in the Family’s Share of rent will be effective retroactive to the first of the month following the date the Family Break-Up occurred. 

11.7.8  Non-Household Members Who Advance a Claim on Behalf of Minor or Incapacitated Household Members 

(a)        Where there has been a Family Break-Up with one or more remaining Minor Household Members; AND one or more adults who are not currently Household Members advance a claim that they wish to become the Head of Household on behalf of one or more remaining Minor or incapacitated Household Members; AND there is a dispute about who should become the Head of Household or Co-Head of Household, the BHA shall determine which such claimant shall take over the Voucher as Head of Household using the criteria under section 11.7.2 above.
(b)        In the event a remaining Household Member is an incapacitated Adult who is unable to fulfill the Family obligations, the person asserting a right to the subsidy on behalf of the incapacitated Household Member must be an adult who has been appointed either a temporary or permanent guardian and is willing to assume the obligations of the HCVP as Head of Household.
(c)        Any adult who the BHA determines is appropriate to become the Head of Household is subject to fulfilling all preliminary and final eligibility requirements in accordance with this Administrative Plan or its successor.

11.8     Residual Family Policy 

A remaining Household Member may apply to become the Head of Household, in the event of the death, departure or incapacity of the Head of Household. This person is referred to as a Residual Family Applicant for the purposes of this Administrative Plan. Application approval is contingent on the Residual Family Applicant and all Household Members meeting the criteria set forth below. 

11.8.1  Qualifications for Residual Family 

In order to assume the status of Head of Household and continue as a Participant under this policy, the Residual Family Applicant must be:
(a)        An Adult who was a Household Member at the last annual Recertification and whose income was recorded and considered in the rent computations during the period of his/her participation, unless he/she was without income or was a Full-Time Student;  OR
(b)        In the event the remaining Household Member(s) consists only of Minor children, the Residual Family Applicant must be an adult, or a court granted Emancipated Minor or an adult, who has been appointed either a temporary or permanent guardian, or is the natural parent of one or more Household Members, and is willing to assume responsibility for the Apartment and the remaining Family members, and is willing to become a Participant and Head of Household in the Section 8 program; OR
(c)        In the event the remaining Household Member(s) is an incapacitated adult who is unable to fulfill the Family obligations, the Residual Family Applicant must be an adult who has been appointed either a temporary or permanent guardian, and is willing to assume the obligations and become a Participant in the Section 8 Program and assume the responsibilities as Head of Household; AND
(d)        The Residual Family Applicant and Family, if any, for Residual Family status must meet the eligibility requirements for Applicants as set forth in this Administrative Plan. 

11.8.2  Calculation of Rent Once Residual Applicant Approved 

The BHA will calculate the Family Share and adjust the Voucher Size appropriately once the Residual Family Applicant has been approved. The rent will be retroactive to the date that the original Head of Household/Co-Head of Household left the Unit. 

11.8.3  Limitations of Policy 

The remaining Household Members will not become Residual Family, if the departing or incapacitated Head or Co-Head of Household: is relocating to another subsidized or non-subsidized Apartment, is purchasing a home, has an outstanding balance due to the BHA, or termination of the subsidy by the BHA is pending.
Remaining Household Members will not become a Residual Family, if the deceased Participant has an outstanding balance due to the BHA. 

11.8.4  Residual Family – Right of Appeal 

A Residual Family Applicant who disagrees with a decision made by the BHA may request an informal hearing pursuant to 24 C.F.R. § 982.555 and Chapter 13 of this Administrative Plan. 

11.9     Ineligible for Continued Assistance 

11.9.1  Income Ineligible 

If thirty percent (30%) of the Family’s Monthly Adjusted Income equals or exceeds the lower of the Gross Rent or the Payment Standard, the BHA will suspend subsidy for six (6) months. The BHA will inform the Family in writing of the suspension and its right to appeal the suspension through an informal hearing. 

11.9.2  Resumption of the Subsidy 

If within six (6) months after notifying the Family of the suspension: (i) the Family's income share falls below the lower of the Gross Rent or the Payment Standard, (ii) the Contract Rent increases, or (iii) the Family moves to a new Apartment, the BHA will reexamine the Family’s eligibility for participation in the HCVP upon the Family’s request. If thirty percent (30%) of the Family’s Monthly Adjusted Income is then less than the lower of the Gross Rent or the applicable Payment Standard, then the BHA will resume making assistance payments on behalf of the Family. 

11.9.3  Termination of subsidy 

If the Family’s income share does not fall below the lower of the Gross Rent or the applicable Payment Standard in six (6) months, the BHA will terminate the Family’s assistance.  

11.10      Family Moves within BHA Jurisdiction 

HUD permits participants to move to another unit while maintaining housing assistance. This section discusses the conditions that permit the family to move with continued assistance 

11.10.1            Voucher Issuance Upon Request for Relocation 

Families who intend to move with continued assistance are issued a Relocation Voucher with a term of 120 days. See 24 CFR § 982.302(a).  If a Family does not locate a new unit within the term of the voucher and any extensions, the Family may remain in its current unit with continued assistance if both the owner and the BHA approves.  Otherwise, the Family will lose its assistance. 

11.10.2            Denial of Relocation and / or Voucher Issuance 

The BHA may deny a move with continued assistance if there are grounds for denial or termination of assistance in accordance with Chapters 6 and 13 of this Administrative Plan. 
The Family will be required to complete any annual reexamination process due within 120 days before the request to move is approved.  

11.10.3                  Notice Requirements to Relocate

 In order to move with continued assistance one or more of the following scenarios must occur with respect to the Family’s tenancy: 
(a)        The assisted lease for the current unit has terminated, including termination because the BHA has terminated the HAP contract due to owner’s breach, or the lease has terminated by mutual agreement of the owner and tenant.  A copy of any notice of termination must be provided to the BHA. 
(b)        The owner has given the Family a notice to vacate, commenced an action to evict the tenant, or obtained a court judgment or other process allowing owner to evict the tenant.  The Owner and the Tenant must  provide copies of all notices to BHA.  In this scenario BHA may deny a move with continued assistance if the Family’s violation of the tenancy is also grounds for termination of assistance. 
(c)        The Family has given proper notice of lease termination (if tenant has the right to terminate lease on notice to owner). 
(d)        The BHA determines that the Family’s unit does not meet the HQS space standards (due to increase in family size or change in family composition).
(e)        None of the scenarios above are true, however, the Family or member of the Family is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, and the move is needed to protect the health or safety of the family or family member. 

11.10.4            Owner HAP When the Family Moves

 If the family moves out of the unit, the PHA may not make any HAP to the owner for any month after the month the family moves out. The owner may keep, however, any housing assistance payment for the month during which the family moves out.

[1] The BHA may challenge the court’s order on the grounds that any portion of the decision is contrary to State or Federal housing law.