If you have a section 8 voucher, you choose where you live. You can live anywhere your family finds a landlord willing to rent to you.
If you want to move from your current unit, you must ask the housing authority to move. The request should be in writing.
Will my moving request be approved?
Usually, requests are approved. But the housing authority will usually not approve the move if you are still in your first lease term, or if you have already moved in the last 12 months. Even in those cases, they will still approve it if you are moving to:
- Protect a victim of domestic violence
- Protect the health and safety of a family member
- Accommodate a change in family circumstances
- Fix an emergency situation you have no control over
- Get a reasonable accommodation
What happens after I put in my request?
After the housing authority receives the request to move, it will look at your household income and size. This includes doing a criminal background check on all household members 18 years or older. If they find any unreported income or criminal activity, your move may be denied. The housing authority may also try to take away your voucher.
What if the request is approved?
If the housing authority approves the move, it may ask you to attend a briefing. The briefing will be similar to the one you went to when you first got your voucher. You will get 2 chances to attend a briefing. If you do not attend either of the 2 briefings, the request to move will be denied.
The voucher to move (also known as “moving papers”) will indicate the size of unit you qualify for. It will also include the date the voucher will expire. This will be either 60 or 90 days from when you got it.
If you do not lease a new unit before the voucher expires, you can ask for an extension. The extension request must be made before the voucher expires. The housing authority does not have to grant an extension. If you do not lease a new unit after any extension expires, you may stay in your current unit.
What do I do once I find a new unit?
After you find a new unit, you must submit a Request for Tenancy Approval. The housing authority will then contact the new landlord. They will inspect the unit, decide on rent, and sign a contract. Once the contract is signed, you may move into the new unit.
If the housing authority does not sign a contract with the new landlord, you may submit a Request for Tenancy Approval for a different unit. Keep in mind that the date the voucher will expire stays the same. But if there is not enough time for you to find a new unit, you may request an extension.
What if I have to move right away?
If necessary, you can move without the housing authority helping you pay rent. If you choose to do that, you must notify the housing authority right away. You must also have them start helping you pay rent again within 180 days. If this doesn't happen within 180 days, the housing authority may take away your voucher.
Where can I move?
You may move anywhere in the United States where there is a housing authority that has a voucher program. This is called "porting." The steps for porting are the same as above. You just need to tell the housing authority where you would like to go.
Porting can be tricky. The new housing authority and the old housing authority have to work together. Also, you will have to search for a new unit over a long distance. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to move a long distance.
Updated: April 2017