Boston Housing Authority

Policies > Section 8 Admin Plan Ch 12: Portability

Section 8 Admin Plan

Chapter 12:Portability

A Housing Choice Voucher Holder or a Participant has the right to receive tenant-based assistance outside the BHA Jurisdiction.  The Voucher Holder or Participant may lease a Unit anywhere in the United States, in the jurisdiction of a Public Housing Authority.  The BHA will brief Participant Families on Portability in an oral presentation when they receive their Voucher.  The briefing packet provided to Families will also contain information about Portability. 

12.1     Portability Requirements for Applicant Families 

12.1.1  Applicant Families Residing Outside of Massachusetts 

The BHA Jurisdiction is anywhere within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Families on the BHA waiting list in which neither the Head of Household nor the spouse has a Domicile within the BHA Jurisdiction at the time of initial application have no right to Portability within the first twelve (12) months of HCVP participation.
When such Families reach the top of the waiting list they will be offered the opportunity to use a Voucher to locate an assisted Unit within the BHA Jurisdiction. The Family will be withdrawn from the wait list if, after appropriate counseling, the Family decides not to exercise this option and is unwilling to reside in the BHA Jurisdiction for the initial twelve (12) months of assistance. See also section 3.2.3 – Withdrawal from the Waiting List.
The BHA requires that such Families, who initially reside outside of BHA Jurisdiction, complete twelve (12) months residency in an assisted Unit within BHA Jurisdiction in order to exercise their option for Portability.  However, BHA may allow portability to a Unit located in another jurisdiction (notwithstanding the term of the tenant’s existing lease has not expired, or the family has not occupied the Unit for 12 months) 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. 

12.1.2  Applicant Families within BHA Jurisdiction 

A Family that has not yet leased a Unit under the HCVP is eligible for Portability if the Head of Household or spouse has a Domicile within BHA Jurisdiction at the time the application was submitted.
Verification of Domicile. A Lease, school records, or voter registration are acceptable forms of documentation to verify Domicile. 

12.2     When an Assisted Family Moves Into the BHA Jurisdiction 

12.2.1  BHA Procedure for Receiving Families           

When a Family with HCVP assistance from another Jurisdiction arrives at the BHA, the BHA will issue the Family a Housing Choice Voucher to enable the Family to conduct a housing search within the BHA Jurisdiction. The Voucher issued by the BHA may not expire before the expiration date established by the Initial Housing Authority.  If the Voucher has already expired when the BHA receives the paperwork from the Initial Housing Authority, the BHA will refer the incoming portable Family back to the Initial Housing Authority, who may decide to extend the Voucher term and the billing deadline. BHA (the Receiving Housing Authority) policies and procedures as the regarding extensions and Voucher term shall apply. In addition, the BHA will use its own Subsidy Standards to determine the appropriate Voucher Size for a Family that will be administered by the BHA.
The BHA will inform the Initial Housing Authority immediately whether it will absorb or administer the Family’s Housing Choice Voucher assistance, and if it approves an extension to the Voucher term or changes the Family’s Voucher Size.
The BHA’s Payment Standards are used when the portable Family Leases a Unit. The BHA will inform the incoming Family of the BHA’s policies and Payment Standards before the Family begins its housing search.
The BHA may delay approval of the Unit or issuance of the Voucher if the Family refuses to comply with BHA procedures (such as completing disclosure forms or certifications). The BHA may not delay issuing a voucher unless recertification is necessary to determine income eligibility. If the BHA is refusing to process or provide assistance under the Portability procedures, the Family will be given the opportunity for an informal review or hearing in accordance with Chapters 5 and 13 of this Administrative Plan. 

12.2.2  Absorb or Administer 

The BHA has the option to administer the subsidy on behalf of the Initial Housing Authority or to absorb the portable Family into its own Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Receiving Housing Authority must promptly inform the Initial Housing Authority whether it will bill the Initial Housing Authority for assistance on behalf of the portable Family or will absorb the portable Family into its own program.
(a)        Administer the Voucher
If the BHA decides to administer the Initial Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher assistance, the housing assistance for the portable Family comes from the Initial Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher allocation.
When the BHA administers the subsidy, the Initial Housing Authority will retain twenty percent (20%) of the ongoing Administrative Fee for that Housing Choice Voucher unless both the Initial Housing Authority and the BHA (Receiving Housing Authority) reach a different agreement. The Initial Housing Authority may also be eligible for a preliminary fee if the portable Voucher is part of a funding increment awarded during the first twelve (12) months of the PHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.
The BHA will bill the Initial Housing Authority for the full amount of the Housing Assistance Payment and eighty percent (or other amount agreed to by both PHAs) of the ongoing Administrative Fee earned by the Initial Housing Authority.
The BHA may change its decision to administer a Voucher and decide to absorb at any time in the future.
(b)        Absorb the Voucher
The BHA may absorb the portable Family into its own program once the HAP Contract is executed on behalf of the incoming Participant Family by the BHA. The HAP Contract must be executed within the BHA Jurisdiction for the Absorption to take place. If the BHA decides to absorb the portable Family, funds from the BHA’s consolidated ACC will pay for the Family’s housing assistance. The BHA will specify the effective date of the Absorption to the Initial Housing Authority. 

12.2.3  Extensions and Suspensions of a Portable Voucher 

The BHA will grant extensions and suspensions to a holder of a portable Voucher in accordance with the same standards it uses to grant extensions for Participants or Applicants within the BHA Jurisdiction who are not exercising Portability.  See section 7.2.     
(a)        Extension that Extends After Initial Housing Authority Expiration Date
If the BHA is the Receiving Housing Authority and provides an incoming portable Family with search time beyond the expiration date of the Initial Housing Authority’s Voucher, it must inform the Initial Housing Authority of the extension and should bear in mind the billing deadline provided by the Initial Housing Authority.[1]
Unless willing and able to absorb the Family, BHA will ensure that any Voucher expiration date will leave sufficient time to process a RTA, execute a HAP Contract, and cover the anticipated delivery time (if the PHA is not submitting the billing information by fax or email) so that it will be received by the Initial Housing Authority by the deadline date (See section 12.6 on billing). 

12.2.4  On-going Responsibilities of the Receiving PHA 

After a portable Family Leases up in the BHA Jurisdiction, the BHA is responsible for conducting all interim and annual reexaminations for the Family and all HQS inspections of the Family’s Unit.  The BHA will send the Initial Housing Authority a copy of the updated Form HUD-50058 at each annual Recertification for the duration of the time the BHA is billing the Initial Housing Authority, regardless of whether there is a change in the billing amount.
Under a billing arrangement, the Initial Housing Authority must be informed of all changes affecting the Family’s subsidy. After each interim and annual reexamination, the Receiving Housing Authority must send the Initial Housing Authority a completed form HUD-52665 showing the new HAP amount with a copy of the form HUD-50058 if the billing amount changes.
If the receiving PHA has absorbed the Family, the Family is no longer considered a portable Family. The Initial Housing Authority is no longer involved with the Family’s subsidy. There is no billing and no communication on other details of the Family’s occupancy.  

12.3     When an Assisted Family Moves out of the BHA Jurisdiction 

12.3.1  Family Interest in Portability 

After a Family announces its interest in Portability, the BHA will provide the Family with information to help it contact the PHA in the Jurisdiction where the Family wishes to live. If this will be the Family’s first Lease under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, the BHA will compare the Family’s income to the applicable-income limit (typically the very low-income limit) for the community where the Family wants to move and determine if the Family will be able to Lease an Apartment with continued assistance in the Jurisdiction of their choice.
Addresses and telephone numbers for PHAs around the country are available on HUD’s web site: Income limits are available at 

12.3.2  Decision to Move Outside BHA Jurisdiction 

When the Family decides to move outside the BHA Jurisdiction the BHA will:
(a)        Contact the Receiving Housing Authority by phone, fax, or email to alert that agency to expect the Family; and
(b)        Send the Receiving Housing Authority, by mail or facsimile, a completed form HUD-52665, Family Portability Information form. 

12.3.3  Selecting the Receiving PHA 

When there is more than one PHA administering a Housing Choice Voucher Program within the Jurisdiction where the portable families wants to move, the Initial Housing Authority has the authority to select the receiving PHA. 

12.3.4  Limitations on Moving

 (a)        Participants who have utilized Portability to move outside the BHA jurisdiction are bound by the same limitations on moving as Participants not exercising Portability. See section 11.3.1 and 11.3.2. Thereafter, a move at the Family's request may not occur more than once in any twelve (12) month period. See section 11.3.3 for exceptions to this limitation.  
Exception: A Receiving Housing Authority must absorb the Family to alleviate this limitation.
(b)        The BHA will not provide portable assistance for a Participant Family if the Family has moved out of its assisted Unit in violation of the Lease.  See 24 C.F.R. § 982.355 (b).  

12.4     Portability Terminations 

The BHA may terminate a Family's assistance when it is acting as the Initial Housing Authority or the Receiving Housing Authority.
In cases where the BHA is the Initial Housing Authority and is terminating assistance, the Participant shall be advised of the reason for the termination as provided by the BHA and of the Participant's right to request a hearing of the terminating BHA. The result of decision rendered by the BHA (the Initial Housing Authority) is binding upon the Receiving Housing Authority. The Family's participation shall be terminated on the date specified in the hearing notice or at the end of the month following the month in which the BHA has notified the tenant and the Owner of the termination, whichever is later. 

12.5     Claims by Another PHA 

Any amounts owed by a Participant to an Initial Housing Authority, to any prior PHA, or to a Receiving Housing Authority which are the result of the Family's participation in a housing program while in the Jurisdiction of that PHA must be collected by that PHA.  The BHA will not collect amounts owed to another PHA on behalf of that PHA.
Either PHA may contact the HUD state or area office for assistance in resolving Portability disputes between PHAs, although efforts to reach mutual agreements without HUD’s involvement are encouraged. Frequently, involvement of management or executive staff at both agencies and agreement to use logs and other monitoring tools internally is all that is required. 

12.6     Portability Billing Requirements 

12.6.1  Summary of Portability Billing Deadlines           

Failure to meet the following deadlines may result in a reduction of administrative fees or a transfer of the amount of baseline units from one Housing Authority to another in accordance with HUD regulations and guidelines. 
(a)        Submission of Initial Billing Amount (Part II of the Form HUD- 52665) -- Receiving PHA must submit initial billing notice (1) no later than ten (10) working days following the date the HAP Contract was executed and (2) in time that it will be received no later than sixty (60) days following the expiration date of the Family’s Voucher issued by the Initial Housing Authority.
(b)        Payment of First Billing Amount - Initial Housing Authority makes payment within thirty (30) days of receipt of Part II of the Form HUD 52665 indicating billing amount.
(c)        Payment of Subsequent Billing Amounts – The Initial Housing Authority is responsible for ensuring that subsequent billing amounts are received no later than the fifth working day of each month for which the monthly billing amount is due.
(d)        Notification of Change in Billing Amount or Other Action – The receiving PHA notifies the Initial Housing Authority of any change in the billing amount as soon as possible (preferably before the effective date to avoid retroactive adjustments) but in no circumstance any later than ten (10) working days following the effective date of the change.


[1] The initial billing submission must be received no later than 60 days following the expiration of the voucher issued by the initial PHA.